Mobile Mavens

Apple's iPad reveal: What the industry wanted and what we got

Did reality match up to the hype?

Apple's iPad reveal: What the industry wanted and what we got

This week we split our Mavens into two sections; a before and after, if you will.

With Apple's iPad announcement scheduled for the end of last week, we wanted to get a sweep of our Mavens' view both before the big event, and after the unveiling.

So, initially, we asked a simple question:

What would you like to see in the new iPads?


William D. Volk Chief Futurist Forward Reality

I expect the rumours are correct and we'll see Touch IDs on both the new iPad Air and iPad Mini. Thinner as well.

What I'd like to see is a big leap in performance and something akin to the Microsoft Surface keyboard hookup with an Apple branded device. Apple makes a fine line of laptops (I'm typing on one) and I'm sure Apple values the contribution to their bottom line, but a iPad Air with a keyboard case would suit many people as well as a laptop, given the move to cloud-based apps. I don't think that will happen, but you never know.

As to performance, games are the biggest app market and Apple could pull a surprise in the 3D graphics chip space, perhaps doubling the performance of the iPhone 6 Plus. Maybe add the pressure sensitive sensor tech from the Apple Watch for some new UI capabilities.

Finally in the category of odd ideas, have an option to make the iPad Mini act as a phone. Win the size battle.

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

Thank god Touch ID is coming to iPad. I have been waiting for that for a long time.

This next iteration of iPad is not going to be as big of a story as the iPhone 6. I don’t really think that it needs to be. Touch ID and faster hardware is all we need for this generation and then a bigger splash next year for iPad while iPhone does its 6 and 6+ iterations.

Apple needs to put more attention into controller support.
Dave Castelnuovo

As far as what I would like to see, better controller support. We have MFi but Apple needs to put more attention in that area because none of the third-party manufacturers are going to generate excitement on their own. I would love a really good controller for all models of the iPad. I just can’t see using a standalone controller with the iPad setup like a TV being popular.

I would like more attention brought to low latency AirPlay. Apple snuck peer-to-peer AirPlay into iOS 8 and Apple TV 7.0 but there needs to be more attention brought to it so consumers know it’s there and so that there is more incentive for developers to work with it.

Haptic feedback is always on my list for features I would like to see. It sounds like Apple is doing research with its new taptic feedback system for Apple Watch and there are some interesting demos of it working in a tablet form factor so hopefully someone can figure out the power issue and we can see it in a few years.

Do we need an Apple version of this?

A hover sensor would be awesome. How many times do you find yourself trying to target a very specific piece of screen real estate only to find you were a bit off when you finally tapped the screen?

Would love hardware support for ultra-thin stylus points and real palm rejection. That along with hover support would make drawing on an iPad really great.

Speaking of styli, it’s about time we have official support for styli. Apple purposely avoided supporting styli because it wanted the device to be easy to use and controllable with just a finger. Now that touch is firmly established, it’s time to recognize that there are many legitimate uses for being able to use pens and other types of tools on a drawing surface (or play surface for that matter). 

I would also like to see lower latency and more accurate accelerometer/gyro/compass/GPS/barometer. Eventually we should be able to reach a point where we can accurately track how the device moves in a 3D space rather than just fudging it. This could open the doors for a much better version of what Gear VR is trying to do. It would also be neat if we could get it accurate enough to be used as a measuring device. Where you can literally move it along a wall to measure its length.

And yes, I would love to be able to make calls from my iPad. I never hold a device up to my ear, I always use ear buds and a microphone so having that built into my iPad would be a win for me. I was looking forward to using Handoff for calls on my iPad and desktop but the call quality is really bad.

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

A developer friend of mine said resolution requirements for 6 and 6+ suggested a widescreen iPad may be on its way. What do we think?

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

I think that’s a big leap to make unless someone actually saw a new resolution that is currently not supported by any existing apple device.

With the phone, being thin is a usability feature so you can try and stretch your thumb across the screen while you are holding it that doesn’t really apply to the iPad.

Personally I would hate to have a widescreen iPad. For a device that you hold in two hands, the magazine-like aspect ratio feels balanced in both landscape and portrait modes. It would feel off kilter if the iPad was suddenly taller. The only thing that would be better with widescreen is watching movies and while that is definitely a popular use-case, I feel like there are more considerations that have to be weighed.

Thomas Nielsen Osao Games

I don’t have high expectations for anything groundbreaking on the iPad front. Touch ID would be a practical addition, sure - but you could argue the brand is already so strong that it’s not really necessary to revolutionise too much.

Increased CPU performance makes HTML5 products a more viable offering.
Thomas Nielsen

The one iPad thing I’m mostly interested in is CPU performance, purely because each increase here makes HTML5 products a more viable offering, and we’re closer than ever to see that taking off in a big way.

One other observation is that Mr Cook has promised additional product lines for 2014.

With Google having announced the Nexus Player the other day, is Apple going to flex their big screen TV muscles as well?

That’s certainly a battle I would be looking forward to, and one that could have a huge impact for the game developer community.

Harry Holmwood CEO Marvelous Europe

A games programmer before joining Sony’s early PlayStation team in 1994, he then founded developer Pure Entertainment, which IPO’d and launched a free-to-play online gaming service way back in 1999.

He was also a director of pioneering motion gaming startup In2Games, which was sold to a US group in 2008.

Along the way, he’s been a corporate VP, troubleshooter, and non-exec to a variety of companies and investors in and around the games sector.

Harry was European CEO of Marvelous AQL, a Japanese developer and publisher of social, mobile and console games, known for console games like No More Heroes and Harvest Moon, but now highly successful in the free-to-play mobile and web space in Japan and Asia.

Harry is CEO of Magicave.

From a commercial standpoint, I'm not seeing a lot of evidence so far that putting more and more power into the device is driving high monetizing games - very few of the top grossing titles are even 3D. From a personal standpoint, I'm still entirely happy with my original iPad mini.

From an environmental standpoint, it terrifies me that a device that was cutting edge last year makes its way to landfill next year.
Harry Holmwood

From an environmental standpoint, it terrifies me that a device that was cutting edge last year makes its way to landfill next year.

So, what I'd like to see, but won't, because it doesn't make sense for the device manufacturers, is devices that have longer lives before becoming obsolete, whether through battery failure or OS upgrades/software requirements, and consumers that don't feel they should buy new devices every year.

The performance arms race on mobile devices (admittedly phones more so than tablets) is a bit like it used to be on PC - but more dysfunctional, because of the currently frequency of device replacement, and the fact that most users of the powerful devices don't need/use all the power in there.

In the time it takes to make a game, we can move through one or more generations of phones, and development costs to support these high end devices is pushing ever higher, without a lot of evidence that it's beneficial to software revenues.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

For me the iPad news ravings haven’t been as loud this year. Perhaps I missed it but I am actually looking to change my iPad this time round - its time I went for a mini. I did try to replace my laptop use entirely with my iPad4 but found that I just couldn't do it.

That should mean that for me the rumours of a iPad pro are interesting… but I selfishly hope Apple doesn't so I can enjoy my ongoing bleating about how great the Surface Pro 3 is!

I tend to agree that seeing a 16:9 screen for the iPad is unlikely. As an aside I've kinda fallen out of love with 16:9 for tablets. Despite our normal field of vision being suited for either 16:9 or 4:3, the Surface Pro 3's 3:2 ration seems to work much better for me. Still I haven't seen any iRumours about form factor this time around so I'm not expecting much change.

Did Oscar forget to mention his Surface Pro 3? Of course not!

I'd love to see an updated Apple TV come out at last but I don't see that happening either. But I'm always half expecting something to do with controllers and TV connectivity.

All in all I have low expectations for anything but an iterative improvement, although I do hope to see some cool demos and hopefully games showing off what Metal can achieve too. But there is one thing that I’d really like to see. A decent amount of storage for the base device. At least 64GB. And is it too much to ask for a 500GB option? I know it's not a PC but the reason I don’t use my iPad to watch movies on the go is because the memory footprint is just inadequate in my opinion.

And the premium you are asked to pay for the additional memory is so large (nearly double the price) and the options have barely changed in the lifetime of the iPad.

Just give me the space to use it fully.

John Ozimek Co-founder Big Games Machine

John is co-founder of PR and marketing company Big Ideas Machine. Also an all-round nice guy...

I'd like to see Apple drop the prices considerably on the existing models if they do as normal and continue to launch high cost premium devices.

Data published this week by Gartner shows tablet sales dropping quickly, with the low cost segment showing the strongest ongoing sales. Although Apple will never want to play in the commodity space at the bottom of the price bracket, making the Air 1 and mini 2 an attractive alternative to a Hudl 2 or Nexus would likely help sales, whilst people who can afford them will continue to go for the new and premium.

So, the big reveal has happened - what do we make of it?


William D. Volk Chief Futurist Forward Reality

The announcements were pretty much as expected. Thinner, faster and the finger print stuff. Lower prices on the older models.

But there was a moment at the end, after showing off the 5000+ pixel iMac where this screen appeared, showing the product line:

A gap in the line up?

Maybe it's just me, but Cook paused and talked about the entire line was all liked together or something. It sure felt like there was space for a TV product to the right of the iMac. It was almost a hint.

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

I only had one takeaway from the event.

It’s a road trip.

Kevin Corti Principal Spidershed Media

I found the whole thing dreadfully dull. “Apple made incremental improvements to something people like”.

Will Luton Founder/CPO Village Studio Games Village Studio

It's just faster, sleeker devices. At this point hardware iterations have little impact on games.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

Well I'm kinda not surprised I guess. Still think the memory footprint is too low but I did order my iPad mini 3 as soon as I could the next day. But then I need one for my job.

I thought the whole 'Desktop Class Architecture' was a bit of a poor hit against the Surface… missing the point of a no compromise device. But I'm kinda glad as I think it gives Microsoft a fighting chance.

Not sure it's going to light a fire under relatively slowing sales of tablets.

Thomas Nielsen Osao Games

Seems like it was pretty much as everyone expected, so hard to get very excited about.

Some seem to be quite excited about that new monitor with all them pixels. I don't know - Like Oscar, I prefer the smaller one that's on the Surface.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.