As expected, Apple unveiled its new iPad in San Francisco on Tuesday. While the release of a new iPad was predictable, some of its features—and missing features—were surprising. Here’s a look at three eyebrow raisers.
1. The iPad’s minimalist name. Apple went simple this time around, choosing not to call its latest iPad the iPad 3 or iPad HD, as had been rumored. Given that Apple plans to continue selling the iPad 2, this no-name strategy seems a bit odd. And how will we effectively do Google searches for the new iPad, without having to see results for previous iPads too? For now, typing new iPad into Google weeds out earlier models. But what happens when the new iPad is no longer new?
2. The improved but still-not-great cameras. The new iPad sports a significantly improved rear-facing camera, capable of 5 megapixels, compared to the iPad 2’s similar camera, capable of just 0.7 megapixels. Apple says its rear-facing camera is also capable of capturing 1080p video, while the previous iPad could only record 720p. Even so, Apple has left the VGA-quality FaceTime front-facing camera unchanged with the new iPad. And the new iPad’s rear-facing camera still lags behind the iPhone 4S’s 8 megapixels. Why not bring the iPad’s cameras up to par with the iPhone? Admittedly, far more people are likely to use an iPhone as a camera than an iPad, due to the sizes of the two devices. Apple could truly disrupt the filmmaking industry by adding truly awesome video and audio recording capabilities to the iPad—which, with its new 9.7-inch Retina display, would make one hell of a viewfinder.
3. No Siri. Since Steve Jobs’ bio hit stores, rumors have swirled that Apple is working on a smart TV that will be controlled by Siri, the virtual assistant technology Apple acquired and added to the iPhone 4S. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense for Apple to get more people accustomed to Siri before the smart Apple TV is introduced? And if so, wouldn’t the new iPad have been an ideal opportunity to acquaint more users with Siri? On the other hand, Apple is fighting a formidable competitor in the smartphone market—Google and its Android platform. Siri is a strong competitive differentiator for Apple’s smartphone, so maybe that’s why the folks in Cupertino decided to keep Siri exclusive to the iPhone 4S. After all, if Siri were also available on the iPad, could that diminish demand for the 4S in some way? It’s possible.