At TUAW, we love predictions, especially when we have few solid facts to rely on and rumors galore to work with. Here's what we're predicting for today's announcement. As always, we'll revisit our guesses after the fact and score our team for accuracy.
Dana Franklin: I expect to see the iPad sequel of my dreams. A drool-worthy device that's sleeker, thinner, and lighter than the original and offers dual cameras with support for FaceTime. With GDC this week, today's announcement will definitely highlight the entertainment value of the iPad: perhaps offering bigger speakers and new peripheral support. The event will almost definitely showcase a parade of developers expressing their love for the platform or announcing new or upcoming software titles for the iPad. We may even see a sneak peek of iOS 5, featuring a more robust suite of could computing technologies integrated with MobileMe.
Dave Caolo: Thinner, camera, more RAM, faster processor.
Rich Gaywood: I predict for today: 1) a relatively modest iPad 2 upgrade 2) millions of blogs about how Apple disappoints 3) huge sales 4) profit!. Thinner, bigger speaker. Modest changes. More RAM would be the most visible user change, I think. more CPU and GPU don't matter much because developers won't target it aggressively as they'd leave too many sales on the table. Plus apart from games, I don't think I've used anything that feels like it's pushing the CPU. However, I am not going to drop £300+ upgrading just to increase the RAM.
TJ Luoma: MobileMe Calendar and Address sync free for any iOS user... you heard it here first. And people will be disappointed. And Apple will sell a metric fsckton of them. Of course.
Victor Agreda: New form factor in that it'll be thinner and have a "better" speaker. More RAM, more processor speed. Two cameras. Gyroscope. The Xoom, even with better "specs" still doesn't feel right compared to the iPad. Half of the magic is the software, and more RAM means better performance for apps. I don't think we'll see more onboard storage, however.
Erica Sadun: My iPad 2 specs include dual cameras (and FaceTime of course), a streamlined form factor, slight boost in CPU speed, more RAM (512MB at least, although Apple generally doesn't specify this -- we have to wait for the Mac Vivisectionists to weigh in), for a modest overall refresh. I think dual carrier support (separate hardware) is a given for AT&T and Verizon in the US. I'm hoping for an iOS 5 announcement but not holding my breath on it, and some kind of increased cloud integration. I don't expect to see any major port changes or screen improvements. And it will sell like hotcakes. Of course.
Chris Ward: Thinner, lighter, faster, more cameras and memory; same pixel count and price points. It will be like upgrade from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS. Victor already told me I can't have a carry handle like the old iBook. Bummer.
Mike Rose: Certainly a front camera with a 40% chance of a back camera. 16/32/64 moving to 32/64/128 models. An A5 chip powering the new device. I predict that the single 16 GB iPad 1 will stay on the price list until May. The new unit will be lighter with at least a 12 hour battery life with identical screen resolution and better speakers. I'm putting the odds for a Thunderbolt port at a modest 10% -- not impossible but not likely. No SD slot, no micro USB but maybe HDMI.
Mel Martin: Sadly, nothing dramatic. Faster, lighter, maybe some new materials. At the very least a front facing camera. Some new features in the next iteration of the OS, i.e. better multitasking, etc.
Dave Winograd: I think it's going to be a yawner. Lighter, thinner, faster processor front facing camera, better but not retina screen. No USB or Thunderbolt port. Maybe an announcement about the next iteration of iOS that will make Airprint work. Possibly an update on Lion.
Kelly Hodgkins: I predict the iPad 2 will have a faster processor (hopefully dual-core), more RAM, front-facing camera for FaceTime and possibly a dual-mode cellular radio for EVDO and HSDPA connectivity. Look for a WiFi model to debut with allow $500 price point and the first generation model to see a price drop, similar to what Apple does with the iPhone.
Mike Schramm: iPad 2 will have a camera, of course, and be thinner and less curved on the back. But I think the biggest thing we'll see today will be Apple stepping into the cloud, with a revamp of MobileMe, and an option for free backup and storage of apps and/or iTunes music and photos.