As an editor, I’m pretty much contractually obliged to be cautious. So many rumors are constantly swirling around the next hot Apple gadget that one has to keep an open mind about all of them — every last one could be wrong. The company could teach the NSA a thing or two about secrecy, so there’s never any official denial or confirmation.
But sometimes, just sometimes, you get a hot tip from a good source with an unblemished track record. It confirms something you’ve been feeling in your gut for days, and you start scribbling down all the reasons why it would make sense.
That’s what happened Monday, and that’s why I’m prepared to cast caution aside and call it: the device we’ll be watching Apple unveil on Wednesday is called the iPad HD, not the iPad 3.
The first clues on this trail came last week, when a Gizmodo tipster uncovered evidence that Griffin and Belkin — longtime Apple peripheral makers trusted by the company — had ‘iPad HD’ cases buried in acres of dry accessory listings like the ark of the covenant in a warehouse of boxes. The site added another, less appealing rumor from an app developer on a Romanian forum that claimed to see an iPad HD show up in the apparently un-spoofable usage stats for his app Tapatalk.
This matches the pattern of activity around the iPhone 4S launch — a couple of days beforehand, we saw a sudden flurry of rumors to the effect that everyone expecting an iPhone 5 had got the wrong name. Unfortunately, they were all but drowned in a sea of iPhone 5 rumors. This time, we’re paying closer attention to alternate names.
Why It Makes Sense
Practically the only new feature that seems certain to arrive in the iPad HD is the retina display. Indeed, it was surprising that Apple didn’t include it last year in the iPad 2. (Retina technology had arrived the previous summer in the iPhone 4).
But when was the last time you heard your friends or family — the non-geeky customers Apple is targeting — use the word “retina”? How many of us, outside the tech bubbles of Silicon Valley and Alley, gets what that means? It sounds cool, but it isn’t going to shift units. And if there’s one thing we understand about Apple CEO Tim Cook, it’s that he’s all about shifting units.
HD is a different matter. We all understand the meaning of those two letters, thanks to your cable company and the inexorable rise of HDTV. We may not all get the difference between 720p and 1080i, but practically everyone on the planet understands that when something goes high-def, they’re in for a better visual experience.
It’s not out of character for Apple to diverge from a numerical naming strategy, either. Remember its second-generation iPhone which touted its new technology — the iPhone 3G?
If 4G connectivity is held over until the iPad after this one — which, given the battery-hogging, still-limited-to-some-cities nature of 4G, seems likely — then you have the perfect name for the fourth-generation iPad: the iPad 4G.
It’s not outside the bounds of reason that Apple could unveil an “iPad 3 HD.” But that seems a little clunky for a company that has almost as many marketing brains as engineers.
What should Apple call their next generation tablet? Would they sell more iPad HDs than iPad 3s? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Via Mashable: http://www.mashable.com