iPad 2 launch: rumours vs reality

The Internet was made for the easy spread of rumours, and seems particularly good for rumours about Apple products.

So it’s no surprise that in the months and weeks leading up to the iPad 2’s unveiling, many speculated about what new features would be included. Rumours ranged from the ridiculous to the obvious, and in the end some were right – and some were dead wrong. With the cover pulled back off of the iPad 2 and the truth, let’s take a look at what rumours panned out.

Related Slideshow: Apple iPad 2’s top new features

Front and rear-facing cameras

One of the more obvious features you’d expect the iPad 2 to have are front and rear-facing cameras suitable for videoconferencing. The first iPad had no cameras, and to keep up with competition from the likes of Research In Motion’s Playbook and Motorola’s Xoom, Apple had to make this upgrade.

Related Video: First hands-on look at Apple’s iPad 2

So when a rumour emerged via Reuters that an iPad 2 prototype was spotted at the launch event for News Corp.’s iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, it was no surprise that a front-facing camera was spotted at the top-edge of the glass screen. This rumour was also backed by the inclusion of camera holes in different iPad 2 screen protectors being made by third-party manufacturers.

Verdict: True. iPad 2 will have front and rear-facing cameras for videoconferencing.

Smaller screen size

An earlier rumour that was debunked well before the iPad 2 was launched wondered Apple would reduce the screen size to 7 inches, from its current 9.7 inches. This would match the size of Research In Motion’s Playbook and some other Android Honeycomb-based tablets that are in the works. It would also follow Apple’s past product strategy of releasing smaller versions of their current products (think iPod nano and MacBook Air).

The original image that generated this online hype was later proven to be an Android tablet imitating the iOS style.

Verdict: False. The iPad 2 screen size is still 9.7 inches.

Larger speaker, smaller tablet

Based on many of the third-party iPad 2 cases on display at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, many guessed the new tablet would have a slimmer form factor and a larger speaker. In fact, the original iPad couldn’t even fit into these cases.

Verdict: Half-true. It seems the iPad 2 will not have a larger speaker, but it is 33 per cent thinner than the first iPad.

Retina display

Another early rumour postulated that Apple would upgrade the iPad 2’s screen to a retina display – 326 pixels per inch. This would match the iPhone 4’s pixel density, which makes it the sharpest screen on the smartphone market.

In the end, although Apple’s new dual-core A5 1 Ghz processor could handle such a resolution, the battery life wouldn’t last long.

Verdict: False. The iPad 2 screen remains the same resolution and the same 76 pixels per inch density.

Kickstand

A patent application filed by Apple and published Feb. 3 shows a design for a kickstand built into the iPad. This feature makes sense to many iPad users who want an easier way to prop up their tablet while typing or watching a movie. But the extra bulk required for a kickstand obviously doesn’t appeal to Apple, who opted for Smart Covers instead. These foldable screen covers double as a stand for the new device.

Verdict: False. There’s no kickstand, instead Apple is selling Smart Covers.

USB Connection

Reported by DigiTimes back in November, this rumour said the iPad 2 would include a USB connection. Although many would appreciate such a feature for more easily connecting with peripherals such as a digital camera or external hard drive, Apple makes a good business by selling proprietary connectors for their devices. So it was no surprise when this didn’t pan out.

Verdict: False. Apple just included the same i-Device connector.

Brian Jackson is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.

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