Another Apple keynote speech has come and gone, and the iPad Air is now a reality. After months of analyst speculation, supply chain leaks, and mysterious parts floating around, the time has come again to take stock of the rumors. Right off the bat, Apple is sticking with the current screen sizes found on the iPad and iPad mini, while packing redesigned hardware inside.
As the world now knows, the iPad Air is not surprisingly thinner, lighter and more powerful than its predecessor. The updated tablet includes the same 64-bit A7 processor and independent M7 chips found in the flagship iPhone 5s. Not only this, but the iPad Air has a smaller bezel and comes in space gray and silver. So what does Apple have in store for next generation iPads that didn't make the cut this time?
It looks like another win for the Apple rumor mill, especially the DigiTimes who predicted that adding a Retina display to the iPad mini would raise its retail price. Apple announced today that the second-generation iPad mini would start at $399, instead of $329 like the original.
The new iPad mini features a 7.9-inch Retina display (2,048 x 1,536, 326 ppi), Apple's new 64-bit A7 chip and a superficial release date of "later in November." This adds credence to the numerous reports that Apple does not have enough iPad mini 2 units ready for the upcoming holiday shopping season, and it may be the reason why they decided to keep the original iPad mini around.
iOS fans will be able to watch a live stream of Apple's press event being held today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, CA. The event will be broadcast via the Apple Events channel on Apple TV, or on iOS devices and Macs through Apple's online Events Page.
You will need Safari on iOS 4.2 or later, or Safari 4 on OS X v10.6 to stream the event on your iOS device or computer. Apple TV users will need a second or third-generation box with 5.0.2 or later to watch the event live. You can also read many of the live blogs during the event if your device does not meet the requirements.
Here's one last next-generation iPad rumor to mull over before Apple's official announcement tomorrow. Ex-Apple developer Jamie Ryan published a blog post (via Gizmodo UK) claiming Apple is working on an iPad 5 case that "mimics Microsoft's touch cover." The new cover would be an improvement over Apple's current Bluetooth keyboard, and allow the company to "differentiate the larger iPad" from the iPad mini, according to Ryan.
"Apple already sells a Bluetooth keyboard that functions perfectly with the iPad but it’s not quite as integrated as Microsofts offering, requiring a lot more bag space. This is the primary motivation behind the development, as all of the current solutions are fairly inelegant. Apple realises the market for the large iPad is mainly professionals looking to work on it whereas the iPad mini is mainly content consumption.
The latest iPad mini 2 shortage rumor comes from Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek who believes the second-generation tablet will have a Retina display. However, it is the Retina display which makes Misek worry that stock of the new Apple slate will be limited at launch.
"We expect a Retina Display iPad mini to be introduced at $329. Yields for Retina film based display for mini remain terrible, which is why there was speculation (i.e., Reuters) that the launch could be pushed out to CQ1. We think initial launch supplies could be constrained to as few units as 2-5M."
Back in August, T-Mobile CEO John Legere told AllThingsD that the carrier was looking forward to carrying a "whole array of Apple products" in the future. At the time most people thought Legere was just referring to the unreleased iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, but some speculated that the CEO was also talking about the iPad, and it looks like those people were right.
Legere recently tweeted a link to an article about Apple's upcoming iPad event being held on October 22. Apple is expected to announce the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco on Tuesday, and Legere's tweet seems to suggest that T-Mobile will carry the next-generation tablets.
Oyster has finally brought its huge collection of e-books to the iPad. The paid subscription services gives iPhone and iPad users unlimited access to more than 100,000 titles for just $10 a month. Oyster has recently added 2,000 new books in the past two weeks, and promises to add many more in the future. Titles include international bestsellers, celebrated classics, cult / sci-fi, seminal biographies plus more.
The app features the ability to sync on multiple devices so you can start reading a book on your iPad and pick up where you left off on your iPhone. Members can also share what they're reading with friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, explore the libraries of other members, and get recommendations based on their reading history.
NetherRealm Studios, the team behind Imjustice: Gods Among Us and Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, is developing a free-to-play version of Batman: Arkham Origins for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The game, to be released during the “console game launch window,” is a touch and swipe brawler where players will control the Dark Knight as he faces “a number of DC Comics’ most deadly assassins.”
Players will have the opportunity to earn unique Batsuits and in-game currency and rewards. For those who play and register both the iOS and console versions with a Warner Bros. ID, there will be exclusive bonus content “not available elsewhere.”
Apple has sent out invites for an upcoming press event being held on Tuesday, October 22. The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT. The invitation reads, "We still have a lot to cover," underneath a colorful iOS 7 inspired graphic.
Apple is expected to announce the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 at the press conference. Previous leaks and rumors have suggested that the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad will be available in space grey and feature Apple's new Touch ID system, like the recently released iPhone 5s. The iPad 5 should also be thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and include an improved 64-bit A7X chip.
Does feeling the surface friction of a virtual object rendered on an iPad screen sound like science fiction? Disney Research has already made the technology a reality, with a project dubbed "Tactile Rendering of 3D Features on Touch Surfaces." It's safe to say that tablet manufacturers, including Apple, should be watching the developments closely.
In a nutshell, the algorithm is able to simulate friction in real time by calculating how interaction with a physical object affects the skin. Applying voltage to the display as a hand moves across the tablet surface actually stretches the skin to create the sensation of bumps, valleys and even different textures. The project, detailed at Disney Research, has already successfully rendered the perception of 3D surfaces on a display screen that's completely smooth.