What apps to expect from Apple’s iPad announcement today

Mar 7, 2012
Tech

We’re just hours from Apple’s announcement event in San Francisco that’s expected to bring out the latest version of its iconic iPad tablet, as well as maybe a few surprises. And while there have been all kinds of reports and rumors about what products Apple might be rolling out today, we’re all more or less […]

We’re just hours from Apple’s announcement event in San Francisco that’s expected to bring out the latest version of its iconic iPad tablet, as well as maybe a few surprises. And while there have been all kinds of reports and rumors about what products Apple might be rolling out today, we’re all more or less in the dark over what to really expect CEO Tim Cook to bring out on stage with him.

But there are a few things we definitely can look forward to, especially given that the most wide-spread of rumors about the next iPad focus on its screen capabilities. If Apple brings out an iPad HD or iPad 3 sporting a Retina display, and even if it decides to roll out a new version of Apple TV, there’s something you can expect to see: spiffy, upgraded, brand new apps. Apple always brings its new products out with plenty of cool things to use them for, and we shouldn’t expect anything less today.

A video focus

The most popular and seemingly reliable rumors about today’s announcement center around an upgrade to the iPad to bring it a high-definition Retina display, similar to the powerful screens that Apple has been putting into its iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. While other features, like possible 4G LTE connectivity, seem a little shakier, the improved screen seems to be what everyone is expecting to see today.

That’ll mean that Apple has apps waiting in the wings to show off the new capabilities of its iPad screens. We’ve heard that Apple intends to call the new tablet the “iPad HD,” and that suggests video content. Already, the iPad is a great vehicle for watching movies and TV shows with the help of iTunes and other features apps, so it’s not very far at all out of the realm of possibility to expect Apple to come to the even with a new pass at a streaming video services. It’ll probably also have a bolstered third-party partner to show off cool things as well.

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In fact, if Apple is intending on launching a new version of Apple TV, as we’ve been hearing, then it’s much more likely that the announcement event today will feature some kind of partnership between content providers such as cable TV networks or movie studios. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the new iPad and its video-watching prowess, Apple will have some big guns to bring out on the device’s heels.

Imaging prowess

The iPad is a great device for content consumption, but when people turn to use it for content creation, it starts to fall a little flat. However, Apple has been steadily rolling out more and more features to change that. Last year with the iPad 2, it brought refreshed versions of its GarageBand and iMovie apps that leveraged touchscreens pretty effectively.

With a pumped-up display on the new iPad, the focus will be on visual arts, including photography. The iPad has never really been an effective mobile camera – unlike the iPhone – but it can make a pretty interesting and useful image editing tool. Adobe just released a new version of its Photoshop software for the device, which is pretty powerful considering it’s on a tablet and not on a desktop computer.

Apple will probably have new apps on deck that show off what can be accomplished with a Retina display and how great images look on it. Expect some software that can allow graphic designers and photographers to make some incredible-looking products with their touchscreens, without having to be shackled to a larger computer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple bring out new apps of its own in this department.

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Don’t forget games

Finally, Apple will probably put a decent emphasis on the gaming capabilities of the new iPad. Last year, with the iPad 2, we saw an emphasis on the power of the new tablet and how it could run games faster than ever before. Something like that will likely happen again this year, given that games remain the most popular apps and that Apple is in a really strong position to continue to lead in that section of the app sphere.

If last year’s emphasis was on speed and processing power for games, this year’s will be on graphical fidelity. Apple isn’t expected to roll out a new processor like it did with the iPad 2, and if it does, it likely won’t be quite as big a leap forward as the A5 chip was over its predecessor. That said, the A5 does a pretty great job with games already, so Apple will probably just highlight what developers can attain given the high resolution of the screen and the already fairly impressive power of the A5 processor. Last year we saw the popular Epic Games title Infinity Blade touted as showing off the iPad 2’s power; this year, I bet Apple has something even prettier waiting.

Of course, we still don’t know what today’s announcement will be like (although the wait is just about over), but Apple always has a slew of software to show off with its new hardware. Often, that software is more impressive than the devices themselves (think Siri and the iPhone 4S). No matter what, there will definitely be new apps to get excited about today.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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