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iPad 3: Predictions and challenges

Tom Kaneshige | Feb. 7, 2012
iFixit's Kyle Wiens has a darn good track record when it comes to Apple predictions. Here, he opines about the next iPad, foresees broken iPads everywhere, and even hints where post-Steve Jobs innovation might be headed next.

Sounds like the next iPad will be a very incremental upgrade.

Wiens: I wouldn't be surprised if Apple calls it the iPad 2 HD, instead of the iPad 3. I think Apple needs to be more aggressive on price than on features. This means maintaining the $500 price point.

iFixit is on the frontlines of iPad repair. Should Apple make the iPad more durable?

Wiens: The big trend this year is that we know iBooks has come out and Apple will sell millions to K-12 education. You're replacing very durable, heavy textbooks with things made of glass. I'm very concerned about students with glass textbooks. This is going to be a problem, and I don't know that schools are anticipating it.

Some schools have rolled out the Macbook, a really rugged, reliable computer. But it's still a laptop, and students break them all the time. Schools have learned to fix them. They've become pretty good at it. Now schools will need to figure out a way to be good at fixing iPads. Or they'll be shelling out a lot of money for service.

Do you think Apple will come out with a ruggedized iPad for students?

Wiens: The first iPhone was not repairable at all. We figured out a way inside. People are still replacing batteries in them. Original iPhones are still functional because you can replace the battery. When Apple went to the iPhone 3G, they went with a much more repairable design.

I hope Apple sees the issues with the iPad 2 and finds a way to make it easier for schools to get in and work on it, at the very least to replace the glass and battery.

( iFixit's teardown of the iPad 2 revealed that the front glass panel was glued in place, unlike the original iPad whose glass panel was held by tabs. "It's nearly impossible to open the iPad 2 without shattering the glass," says Miroslav Djuric, director of technical communication at iFixit.)

Aside from the iPad, what moves do you expect to see from Apple this year?

Wiens: I wouldn't be surprised if Apple released Siri for the iPhone 4. As far as I know, everyone who has hacked the iPhone 4 and enabled Siri hasn't had any issues with it.

My gut tells me the real reason Apple didn't release Siri for the iPhone 4 is because they were afraid their data centers wouldn't be able to keep up. Siri is down a lot. I think Apple knew they were going to sell a lot of iPhone 4S units and have scaling issues.

Apple doesn't have a good track record with cloud-based computing. They're learning and getting a lot better at it. They built that big data center in North Carolina. They're building another data center right next to it. And rumor has it they're going to build a big data center in Oregon.


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