Tuesday, February 22, 2011

iPad 2 and Apple NGP Details Revealed

Details on the upcoming iPad 2 got revealed a couple of weeks ago, when a source described it as a thinner and lighter device than the original iPad. It was for instance said to offer a similar display as the original. Apple Insider today reports that an analyst, who proved to be accurate when it came to iPhone 4 information last year, has given them some details on the display.

Given the iPad's heavy focus on being a more advanced alternative to the typical eReader, its display offers obvious room for improvement. And it looks like Apple is aiming to improve readability outdoors with the iPad 2. Upcoming iPad 2 models are said to be using a thinner panel with "anti-reflection" to deliver a better experience in bright sunlight.

The analyst also offered some insight on a couple of other devices that are also in the pipeline, namely the iPad 3 and a new iPod touch. It's already known that Apple is currently testing an iPad with a QXGA display, and the analyst says that this model will become the iPad 3.

Several leaks have suggested that Apple is making heavy investments related to display technology and plants, investments that'll gradually pay off over the next couple of years. It's viable to believe that the iPad 3 could be released in mid-2012 with a QXGA display. As far as hardware to drive it all, NVIDIA is already giving us some pretty good clues about what it takes to pull it off.

Moreover, the analyst told Apple Insider that a new iOS device is currently undergoing evaluation for a potential release during the second half of 2011, with a screen size between that of the current iPad and the iPhone. This is in line with a recent posting by Czech site SuperApple.

CNet recently posted research data by IHS, revealing that the Apple App Store saw a market share decline from 92.8% in 2009 to 82.7% in 2010. The data only covers the Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World, Nokia Ovi Store and Google Android Market. Other app stores were booming last year too.

In other words, the Apple App Store isn't immune to the competition, and one can only imagine how things will look like by the end of 2011. We predict that it'll soon just be one of many. As Apple is currently enforcing ecosystem policies more actively, revenue levels could naturally somehow be maintained.

Samsung is introducing an iPod touch competitor called Samsung Galaxy Player this spring, however, while Sony will release its new NGP by the end of 2011. The iPod touch has been an important contributor to the App Store success, and the fact that Samsung and Sony will soon do whatever it takes to attract iPod touch users isn't good news for Apple.

Apple Insider believes that the new iOS device mentioned above could be a new, larger iPod touch. It sounds like an Apple NGP to us. The next iPod touch as well as the Sony NGP will be powered by a multi-core PowerVR SXG543 GPU (same GPU type as the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 are rumored to get courtesy of an Apple A5 chip). The NGP will also feature a 5-inch OLED screen with a 960 by 544 pixels resolution. Could Apple simply be working on a direct competitor to the Sony NGP?

Sony describes their 3G-capable NGP, which clearly is a first step towards the LTE era, as being focused on five concepts, including Revolutionary User Interface, Social Connectivity, Location-based Entertainment, Augmented Reality, and PlayStation Suite Compatibility. If you ask us, this is basically a move Apple can't ignore. Regardless, only time will tell what the fall will bring, but we'll bet on a 3G-capable Apple NGP.

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