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Articles: The new iPad: The prognosticators almost had it!

Ever since the internet became a forum for bloggers, prognosticators and technology seers, its airwaves have been filled with predictions about what Apple's going to do next. For someone who has a small degree of access into the inner workings of Cupertino, it's always been a little bemusing to watch, especially when I already know first-hand what is or isn't going to happen, and I see them getting it all wrong.

So let me just make this very clear for anyone who reads a prediction about anything Apple's going to do: the writer is guessing. In fact, there's a great likelihood that the writer actually has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

Of course, there are those who troll through "electronic garbage" to make sense of patents or shipping notices from parts suppliers or bribe hapless workers into spilling the beans or providing a picture or sample of whatever new gadget they're trying to get the scoop on. Based on assembling those puzzle pieces, they throw out articles with their predictions, some of which come true and some that don't.

But they're still guessing.

A lot of people who have been around Apple products for some time know to take all the internet rumors with a grain of salt. But there are many more new customers to Apple than ever before, and its unfortunate if their buying decisions are impacted by this guesswork. On top of that, there are always those who worry about missing the technology boat. A couple of months ago, we even had someone tell us they were going to wait for the iPad 4. Never mind that no one has any clue what the next iteration of the iPad is going to bring or when that will be. So that person is going to give up a year or more of using technology in the hopes of getting something better? Hmm. Using that logic, I might never have owned a Mac, because there is always going to be a faster and better one available. Buy what you need, when you need it.

In any case, many of the predictions about the new iPad were mostly spot on. Of course, there's only so much you can do with known technology, so unless Apple surprises us with a holographic iPad, technology guesses often won't be too far off the mark. But this 3rd Generation iPad is faster, has a better display, a better camera and up to 4G LTE. The bottom line: it's hard to think about what else Apple could have done to improve the iPad. The beautiful thing about Apple absolutely dominating a category like this is that they're doing it with such high-end quality. It's refreshing to see the public swarm to a product because it's made so well, instead of just swarming to the cheapest.

There is one thing none of the predictors got right: It's just called the new iPad. Those of us who have to hassle with such things can figure to simply call it the 3rd Generation iPad. It's the same thing we've had to do for all generations of the iPod. So all the predictions that said it would be the iPad 3 or iPad HD clearly didn't see the similarities between the iPad and the iPod. Of course, the iPhone has made it to 4 and 4s... which simply illustrates how difficult all these naming schemes have become. After all, Windows has been named 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, NT, 95, 98, 2000, Me, XP, Vista, 7... all of which looks like an intelligence test where you have to name the next in the sequence. Apparently Microsoft decided 8 comes after 7 which came after... Vista, but if you have an IQ over 180 you might have said "GQS" because you have insight into mathematics and alphabets that mere mortals don't possess.

Anyway, the iPad is clearly a winner. Apple will continue to dominate the tablet category for some time. And by simply dropping the price on the iPad 2, they have even addressed some of the lower-priced competition. But despite how close the prognosticators got it, there's one thing that's still true... they're still all guessing. This change was an easy target. There's no doubt Apple will still be able to pull off a surprise or two during the next year. Beyond that, we'll see if Steve's death reduces some of the paranoia inside Apple about keeping new products a secret, and maybe this will be the start of a trend. Personally, I'm content to wait until Apple introduces something and then figure out whether I want it after that. And that's the reason Apple's going to continue to soar: who wouldn't want one of these babies?

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