Rumors are swirling online about the new iPad 3.
Not since the the introduction of DSLR cameras with video functionality that changed the game for indie filmmakers, has a new device potentially offered so much for microbudget content-creators.
The recent (February 2012) speculation about a filmmaker-friendly iPad 3 started to kick-up because Apple had previously introduced a new iPad in March. According to some websites, Apple is now set to introduce the iPad 3 in early March 2012.
According to these reports, the new device will apparently be similar in size to the iPad 2 (maybe a bit thicker to hold a longer-lasting battery?). But what has microbudget filmmakers really paying attention is that Apple fansites are predicting that the iPad 3 will have a much faster chip than any previous tablet, an improved graphics processing unit, higher resolution on the screen and (fingers crossed) a much better camera.
If the rumors about the new iPad 3 prove true, then microbudget filmmakers must begin looking at the iPad as a platform for recording, editing and uploading content to the web.
Unlike many of its competitors, the iPad already has software (like Apple’s iWork applications) and the computing power to simplify the creation of user-generated-content ("UGC"). If, as rumored, the new iPad 3 launches in March 2012 with an improved camera, a faster video chip and new apps that encourage creativity and storage via the cloud, how long will it be until films created with an iPad (that can be accessed from any authorized user device) become the next big thing online?
In the midst of all the film-friendly Apple rumors, on February 8th, 2012, VentureOutsource published an overview of the tablet market, based in large part on an early 2012 Deutsche Bank report.
The Deutsche Bank report cited by VentureOutsource starts where all reports on tablets must start - Apple dominates the field: "iPad has allowed Apple to command the lion’s share of the [notebook and tablet] market with approximately a 25% unit share in 4Q11 vs. sub 5% share prior to the iPad introduction."
Perhaps the next biggest question (after "Are the rumors about the new iPad 3 are true?") for filmmakers thinking about investing under $1000 in a new mobile tool for creating microbudget content is whether Apple will continue to grow market share or will competitors - apparently shifting from Android to Windows 8 - be able to capture a growing part of the tablet market in a way that makes other versions of microbudget mobile filmmaking easier.
"The Kindle Fire has had some degree of success because it is relatively inexpensive and is a good e-reader but lacks a high quality, multi-functional capacity, as stated in the [Deutsche Bank] report. Of the remaining devices available in the market, Deutsche Bank views the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and ASUSTeK’s recently introduced quad-core processor powered Transformer Prime as more relevant. But, the bank believes these Android-based “iPad-killers” will fall short... Meanwhile, Windows 8 based hardware is unlikely to ramp in earnest until 2013. This leaves the window wide open for Apple to extend its lead in the market."
To sum up, for microbudget filmmakers, the iPad 3 could bring tablets into play as a content-generating device capable of recording, editing, uploading and viewing films in revolutionary new interconnected ways.