What to Expect from the iPad 2 Announcement Next Wednesday

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And although rumors of an insanely high-resolution screen for the iPad 2 surfaced back in January, they were short-lived. The technology’s just not there yet, but Apple’s rumored to be pumping billions of dollars into display technology. So crazy, next-generation screens will probably show up earlier than we expect, but everything about Wednesday’s announcement has indicated the new iPad will have the same 1024×768 screen.

However, it would strike me as odd if Apple didn’t at least do something to enhance the screen in some way. When the iPhone 3GS was rolled out, its screen was largely the same as the one on the iPhone 3G except that the 3GS’ screen featured an “oleophobic” coating to leave fewer fingerprints. The next iPad might get something like that or perhaps a bump in brightness or contrast—but signs seem to point to the same 1024×768 resolution.


We’re very likely looking at a Wi-Fi version, a 3G version that works on AT&T and a 3G version that works on Verizon. A 4G version would be cool but Apple’s almost certainly going to wait until that technology gets all the kinks worked out and doesn’t use up as much battery life as it does now.

Smaller iPad?

Doubt it. Steve Jobs made it clear that he thinks 7-inch tablets are dumb. I have a sneaking suspicion that stance may someday turn into “Other 7-inch tablets are dumb, but we here at Apple made one that’s not dumb and we’re the only company capable of pulling that off.” Maybe we’ll see a smaller iPad around the holidays. Or never. But not on Wednesday.

Pricing? Availability?

I think it’ll probably be almost exactly the same as current pricing, but maybe the base-level model will feature more storage—32 gigabytes instead of 16 gigabytes, for instance. Then perhaps the other models will have 64 and 128 gigabytes. You know what would be fun to watch, though? If Apple put out, say, an 8-gigabyte Wi-Fi version priced at $399.

None of these new tablets coming out have been able to compete with Apple on price (sounds weird to say that, huh?) and a $399 entry-level version would widen the gap even more. The current $499 iPad costs Apple $230 to build, so there’s plenty of wiggle room there.

And despite recent murmurs about production delays, I have my fingers crossed that Apple will pull out the old “they’re available starting today” line at the end of the announcement. Why wait? If the company adheres to its annual product cycle, though, early April would be the timeframe.

More on TIME.com:

Apple’s Going to Announce What?!: Roundup of the Latest Rumors

Oh Here We Go: iPad 2 Expected Next Wednesday, Not June

Latest iPhone Nano Scuttlebutt: Cheaper? Yes. Smaller? No.

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