Few events cause such widespread speculation and exuberance as an Apple product announcement, and the company has scheduled one for tomorrow, March 2. Apple is expected to announce the iPad 2, the first upgrade to its massively popular tablet.
Many of the rumors circulating about the iPad 2 involve the upgrades to the tablet's hardware, which according to a number of reports is expected to be thinner than the current model and therefore lighter as well. It seems a given that the iPad 2 will have at least one camera, something lacking in the first version, and there are several reports that it will have two - a front-facing camera for video, perhaps, and a rear-facing camera for photos. There's also talk that the new iPad will have more memory and a better graphics processor. ReadWriteWeb's live coverage will begin right here at 9 AM PST - we hope you'll join us.
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And what would rumors of a new Apple device be if there wasn't speculation that you'll be able to get this latest iPad in white.
An Apple event always showcases the device itself, of course, as well as the iOS. But it's also an opportunity for the company to highlight its partnerships with various developers and publishers and to show off the range of the Apple ecosystem. With that in mind, here are some other things to look for tomorrow.
Any Fallout from Apple's New Subscription Policy
Since announcing its controversial (and confusing) subscription policy last month, Apple will likely want to assuage the fears of developers and customers that the books, movies, and music they've purchased will continue to to be accessible and that the apps they love - whether it's the Amazon Kindle app, Pandora, or Netflix, or the like - will continue to work. The new subscription service was first rolled out to coincide with the launch of New Corp's The Daily. As that's been widely panned, it will be interesting to see which magazine or newspaper - if any - takes the stage tomorrow.
A Better Bookstore? A Better E-Reader Experience?
reports that a less reflective screen is in the works for the iPad 2.Although not tablet devices, e-readers are often lumped together in the same category as the iPad. And while the iPad is, for many people, their e-reader of choice, there are lots of things about the iPad that make it inferior to other devices that are specifically designed for e-books. The screen, for example, on the original iPad is absolutely horrible if you're trying to read outside, and there are
But it isn't just the hardware that's inferior; it's the Apple iBookstore. Random House, one of the world's largest publishers, has agreed to the agency pricing model for e-books, the last of the big six publishers to do so. As agreeing to this model has been a stipulation for joining the iBookstore, we may the publisher announce it's availability there tomorrow. But it may take more than a better book selection to make people start embracing the iBookstore the way they have Apple's rival e-bookstores Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Apple in the Cloud?
retail box copies of MobileMe, its Internet calendar, mail, and contacts syncing service. Some took this as a sign that Apple would be making a move to a cloud-based storage service, where users can upload their media - movies, music, TV shows, and so on - online. I'll use this as the opportunity to lament, once again, Apple's acquisition of my once favorite music streaming service Lala.Apple announced recently that it would no longer be selling
Apple has long been expected to make an announcement about the cloud, whether it's storage or streaming. I hope Apple's new data center in North Carolina is ready. And if nothing else, I hope there's announcement about cloud syncing that means I can get rid of the pile of white cords I have lying around the house that are necessary to sync my iPhone and iPad with iTunes.
Apple Gets Social?
NPR called Ping, Apple's music-oriented social network, one of the worst ideas of 2010. And Apple's Game Center, promising a more social bent to mobile gaming, has fared no better. Will Apple try again with a new social effort? Will social be a feature or a footnote to a new iOS?
The invitation to tomorrow's event says "come see what 2011 will be the year of," a clear reference to 2010 as the year of the iPad. But as the the tablet market heats up, there are a number of competitors hoping to steal a bit of the iPad's thunder. Will 2011 be the year of the iPad again?
Tune in tomorrow here as we'll be liveblogging the event, scheduled to begin at 10am PST. And tune in to the tech blogosphere shortly thereafter, when the rumors for the iPad 3 will begin in earnest.