Saddle up! Here we go!
Hot on the heals of my oh-so-informative, insightful, and decisive iPad 3 speculation (Ha!), Apple has decided to send out press invites to an iPad related event to be held next Wednesday, March 7. I guess all the traffic this blog generates forced their hand (tongue firmly in cheek)!
For those of you wondering “How can I become a tech news über geek?”, today’s entry will tell you just how obsessed you need to be about a simple invite.
A BRIEF HISTORY
With their meteoric rise in popularity – beginning with the iPod, accelerating with the iPhone, and entering ludicrous speed with the iPad – Apple’s announcements of new products have become media spectacles. Well respected journalists (professionals) camp out just to get the best seat in the auditorium. Blogs are filled with posts about whatever it is Apple announces. Fanboys and haters alike take to their tough-guy stances behind the anonymity of their keyboards to wage war on the opposing side of what is ultimately a completely worthless debate.
These same people have begun parsing over every detail of an Apple invitation. For those new to all of this, Apple and other technology companies send out limited invites to people in the media (newspaper columnists, bloggers, talk show hosts, etc) usually accompanied by some sort of graphic and tag line aimed to peak your interest. Once the invites arrive, it proliferates throughout the internet for every 30-minute-cryptology-course-graduate-wannabe to analyze and pontificate about.
Before you go being all judgmental, there is some good reason for it. Apple’s past announcements have been purposefully cryptic and, in retrospect, have provided some clever clues about the announcement’s focus.
Let’s start with the most recent announcements and work backwards.
Obviously, this product announcement would focus on the iPhone. Rumors had been spinning for months about the iPhone 5: an entirely new design, mega storage, blazingly fast, etc, etc. As the image made its rounds through the various tech blogs, many took to analyzing every detail: Calendar App icon showing Tuesday the 4th (October 4th, the date of the event), the Clock App icon showing 10:00 (10 Am is the time it was scheduled), the Maps App icon (which always shows Apple’s headquarters), and the Phone App icon (for, well, the phone). But wait! That 1 in the corner must mean something! The ideas were endless: Will Apple release only one model of phone? Maybe it alludes to Apple’s famous “One More Thing” that gets tagged onto many big announcements.
It turns out the important line for Apple was “Let’s talk iPhone.” By adding one little comma to that phrase, you get “Let’s talk, iPhone.” an obvious hint at what would be the iPhone 4S main feature, Siri, the virtual assistant you can talk to.
The year previous, Apple sent out this invite:
Again, the focus was obvious: the announcement would be about the Mac platform. The iPhone and iPad had already become Apple’s most popular devices and the Cupertino based company wanted to make sure you knew they were still serious about their computer line.
This invite foretold the introduction of OS X Lion, Apple’s latest desktop and laptop operating system. To most, the way they did it seemed heavy-handed in the days leading up to the event. However, when the dust settled, it became quite clear that the “Back to the Mac” tag line was actually referring to bringing some of the most popular iPhone and iPad features to the Mac platform.
So where does that leave us with this newest image? Let’s start with the simplest of explanations.
Like the iPhone 4S announcement, the placement of these three icons in the dock of the iPad could be echoing the details of the announcement: In San Francisco (Maps icon), on Wednesday the 7th (Calendar icon), there will be a presentation (Keynote icon). And because it’s shown on an iPad, it must have something to do with it. Even the tag line could be interpreted in a similarly simple way: We are going to show you something and it’s a product that uses touch as the main (only) interface.
But there has to be more, right? Probably.
Like you, I have a real job so we won’t be taking any adventures down the rabbit hole. Let’s just take a quick peek down there.
CRAZY IDEA #1
Siri was the main focus of the iPhone 4S announcement in October. Siri is a software capability and has little to do with the hardware. So maybe those two icons on either side of the Calendar are eluding to enhancements to software on the iPad. Is this plausible?
For several years now, Apple has been purchasing different mapping companies in order to build their own mapping service and free themselves from having to rely on Google (Android) for that service. We could see that come to fruition next week. Similarly, Apple may want to counter Microsoft who is getting closer to releasing a Windows 8 tablet meant to enable business people to be more productive with built in Word and Excel Apps. By making improvements to the iWork suite of apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) found on the iPad, Apple may attempt to head them off before the Windows tablet hits the market.
CRAZY IDEA #2
This isn’t necessarily so crazy. As I mentioned in our iPad 3 (2S?) post, the evidence is out there for the inclusion of a high definition screen on the new iPad. Within an hour of the invite being released, bloggers had side by side shots of current iPad 2’s and the image in the invite to point out the higher resolution of the screen pictured above. In the age of Photoshop it’s hard to know if the image Apple used is legitimate or if those unsightly pixels were airbrushed out.
The real mystery out of this photo is the lack of Home button on the iPad in the invite. Go ahead. Take another look at the original invite. Certainly looks like an iPad with no Home button. In fact, Apple has patents for devices that have no Home button. Currently on the iPad 2, you can navigate seamlessly 90% of the time using only gestures. Could the iPad in the invite be a high-resolution-display-packing iPad with no Home button?
CRAZIEST IDEA YET
This one has everything to do with the tag line on the invite. The “We have something you really have to see” line is pretty straight forward. This iPad is rumored to have an amazing screen. But the “And touch” has some people in a tizzy. Every one knows you touch an iPad. That’s how it works. So why did Apple feel the need to include it in the tag line. Here’s where it gets interesting:
Apple has patents for what is called “Haptic Feedback“. Haptic literally means the sensation of touch. A touch device with haptic feedback would be able to give you the sensation of touching something else. The best use case for this on a tablet is typing. Theoretically, a device could send impulses to your fingers that make it feel as though you are actually depressing keys on a keyboard. The technology is out there. Is this Apple’s hidden message? We’ll find out next week.
It’s very possible. AppleTV’s have been in short supply at retailers and new product codes for them have shown up in some online retailer databases. Apple could be set to update their AppleTV. But why is that significant? You see, everything Apple does is deliberate. If they do intend to announce a new AppleTV at this event with the iPad it will be because they have some new or improved feature to show off related to both (AirPlay).
CAN’T GET ENOUGH?
If you’re just dying to do more analysis of this latest Apple invitation, save yourself some time. The guys at www.cultofmac.com already did it for you.