It's iPad 2 Day! Here's What You Need To Know

ipad jump joy

Photo: AP

Apple is almost certainly going to unveil a new iPad today at an event in San Francisco.We will provide live coverage: Click here for the latest news and analysis from SAI.

What should you expect? What’s on tap for today’s presentation?

Apple will almost certainly unveil a new, moderately updated version of its iPad tablet today.

The event itself takes place in San Francisco at 10 a.m. PT, or 1 p.m. ET

One big question is whether Steve Jobs is going to show up. Reports suggest he is considering it.

That says to us that he probably won't be leading the presentation -- that will likely be Apple's marketing boss Phil Schiller.

Steve may show up for a cameo -- perhaps via FaceTime? -- or he may sit this one out. It doesn't seem like the kind of major product that he would 'need' to personally introduce.

The new iPad will likely be thinner and lighter, with a few new features, such as front- and rear-facing cameras

The front-facing camera is so people can use FaceTime and other communication apps.

The rear-facing camera is partially to take photos and video, but also for 'augmented reality' apps, where you 'look through' the iPad, with data drawn on top.

Apple will also likely show off iOS 5 today, the latest version of its operating system for iPads and iPhones

We are expecting some moderate updates, including new support for near field communication (NFC). And we sincerely hope that Apple has made some changes to some key iOS features, such as alerts/notifications, the camera app, iTunes syncing, and more.

But enough about us: We asked a dozen iOS developers what they wanted from iOS 5. Click here to see their responses. (Will open in a new window.)

We'll also probably see some new apps today from Apple and other companies

One of the most likely apps we could see launched today is a version of Apple's iMovie app for the iPad. And, of course, FaceTime. And possibly an updated iBooks app.

If Apple does introduce iOS 5 today, we also expect a handful of third-party developers to show off some new apps.

This could just be a minor update to MobileMe or Ping, or it could be an entirely new initiative. But we are basically hearing that winning at social is important to Apple, especially as it finds itself increasingly competing with Facebook.

So look for Apple to possibly announce some sort of media- and app-sharing-based social network, with photo and location sharing, etc.

As we've said, this is only a rumour -- nothing really substantive yet -- but we'll be looking for it.

Might Apple also announce an App Store for the Apple TV?

No one is expecting anything truly amazing or huge from Apple today, so there is the opportunity to surprise.

One sort of 'one more thing' that we could possibly see Apple announcing today is the beginning of app support for the Apple TV set-top box. We don't know if it would be some sort of limited software update with a few new apps that Apple hand picked, or a full-on App Store.

But it makes sense that the Apple TV should be able to support gaming and at least other video apps, in addition to whatever else people want to throw at it.

Specifically, as baseball season is about to begin, we'd love to see Apple and its partner Major League Baseball introduce MLB.TV support for Apple TV this season. (At very least, though, that should be available through the AirPlay feature on iPhones and iPads, we'd think.)

Good news, Verizon and AT&T customers

The consensus is that the iPad 2 will include a dual-mode chip that could work on GSM-based networks like AT&T and CDMA-based networks like Verizon Wireless. This would keep Apple's production and inventory simpler, and means you should be able to pick which carrier you want to power your 3G connection, if you want one.

We do NOT expect Apple to announce a 4G LTE iPad today. It seems that's an iPad 3 thing.

We are NOT expecting the iPad to ship in any new sizes today, especially not a smaller, 7-inch version

Anything's possible for the future, but for now, we think Apple will keep the same, roughly 10-inch display size for the iPad.

It may feel smaller because of a smaller bezel (border) and lighter-weight materials. But 7-inch tablets don't seem all that useful, so we expect Apple to continue to avoid them. Especially because the market hasn't shown much interest in them so far.

If anything, we might be more interested in a bigger iPad someday.

This will be a disappointment for some, but there seem to be some hurdles -- perhaps technical, perhaps cost-wise -- to making this happen so quickly.

We would love to have an iPad with a retina display, but it's going to require waiting some more.

When's it going on sale? How much will it cost?

We expect the wi-fi version to go on sale rather quickly, possibly even as soon as this Friday or next week. Apple may even start taking pre-orders today. The 3G version may take a little longer as Apple needs to get it approved by the FCC and carriers.

We don't expect any significant changes in pricing. Perhaps a price drop, perhaps on the old iPad. But Apple still has a pricing lead over its competitors, so there is no real reason to drop prices unnecessarily. Even at its current prices, the iPad is a very good deal.

What's the name going to be?

People seem to be comfortable calling it the iPad 2. But we honestly have no idea what Apple will call it.

It might just be called 'iPad' still. Apple never really gave the iMac numbers or other designations, even after major updates.

Let us know if you have other theories on the naming.

I'll personally be watching very closely, but I probably won't buy an iPad 2

Why not? Because after 300 days with the iPad, I'm barely using it.

Click here for The Truth About The iPad, Day 300 →

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