As with many in the tech and gadget industry, we depend on trade shows like the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to provide us a hint of what we will be spending our money on over the next few months or even years.
While most vendors are happy to show their vaporware and even some things that are close to being reality, we are frequently more interested in what’s not there. For the 2011 CES, that absence is provided by Apple.
Apple historically does things their own way. Instead of using large trade shows to announce new things, they prefer to have their own show. Instead of releasing things for the Christmas shopping season, they release them on their own schedule and actually now has a schedule that fills out their year rather nicely.
Which of course gets us to the crux of the matter.
Today’s twitterverse has been filled with people hunting for any hint of what Apple has up its very closely guarded sleeve. Will there be an iPad 2. What will it be like? What about the CDMA “Verizon” iPhone? Is that new frame an iPhone 4/CDMA or an iPhone 5?
Well I’m here to tell you exactly what all that means. And how do I know? Because Apple is predictable.
Apple stunned the smart phone market with the release of the iPhone. Now almost 5 years and 5 iPhones later, we should by now fully know what the next iPhone will be. Perhaps we won’t know processor and memory specifications or even the form factor, but this is what you can plan on.
In May, Apple will hold one of its developer conferences in Silicon Valley. They will announce the iPhone 4G. Not a 5 but a 4G. They will at the same time announce not only an AT&T phone, but most likely a Verizon and Sprint versions and even possibly a T-Mobile version. The phones will be available at the end of June for $199 with a 2 year contract for the entry level phone and $299 for the higher end one.
Why? Well lets look at history. The iPhone 2 and 3 was an EDGE (2G phone). Once AT&T had their 3G network rolled out, then we got a 3G phone for a 3G network. The next revision was a 3GS then a 4. So clearly, the next higher phone with just a number indicates that its getting ready for the next big network. Then when the network is ready, we get a phone named for the network. Guess what? AT&T and Verizon’s LTE “4G” networks are launching or will be launched by the end of June (convenient eh?) Apple will be out of their 5 year exclusive deal with AT&T and instead of having a CDMA and a GSM phone on different schedules, it only makes sense for them to come out at the same time.
Then next year in May, they will announce the 4GS, and in 2013, the 5, 2014 the 5G etc. It’s a predictable repeatable pattern.
What will this new phone likely have for us? Who knows, but a 4G network will handle video better and with the phones divided over multiple carriers, the WiFi limits on FaceTime will likely go away. Higher quality video and streaming (things we are seeing in all these CES tablets) will likely be there. Count on it.
Now for all the iPad 2 rumors. The iPad was announced on Jan 27, 2010 and went on sale in April 2010. Now since we know Apple to run on a schedule these rumors about an iPad 2 coming in January or February are not rumors. You can expect Steve Jobs and Company to put on a show in the San Francisco Bay area that will herald in the iPad 2 and guess what…. It will go on sell in April. It might even be called the iPad 4/4G since Apple would be silly to not prepare it to run on the LTE networks once they become available, though they may not want to tip their hand on the iPhone 4G yet.
Yea, we are getting cameras and a smaller form factor and longer battery life and better connectivity. It will be faster with more memory and have some other cool features that we haven’t thought about. Clearly all the other tablet makers have upped the ante on what hardware and features are going into their iPad killers (that amazingly won’t ship until the next gen iPad does). Apple won’t lower the price, but you can bet the next iPad’s guts are going to be a bit better than all these vaporware tablets that are being announced at CES. Will it be greatly better? No. Will ASUS or Toshiba build an iPad killer? No, but they will get their share of sales. Apple won by getting it out a year ahead of everyone else.
So there. No more rumors. No more needing to look for any hint of a piece of hardware. No more speculating on when we will see these. Oh and towards the fall, we will get new MacBooks and iMac’s as well.