iPad 3: Specs and features wishlist
It wasn't long ago that we were making our predictions for the iPad 2. The second-generation model was seen as being a little disappointing for fans who had been hoping for some big changes, even though the slimmed down profile was a popular touch.
Now that the Apple iPad 2 is a reality, we're gazing into the future once more to come up with a wishlist of what we'd like to see on the iPad 3, which is rumoured to be coming in September 2011. Read on to find out what we want to see from the Cupertino boffins next time round.
There were plenty of rumours that the iPad 2 would have a vastly improved display, so when launch day came, we were slightly disappointed to discover the the screen was exactly the same as on the previous model - same size, same resolution. What we'd love to see on the iPad 3 is the Retina Display, as used on the iPhone 4, with its impressive pixel density of 326ppi compared to the 132ppi on offer at the moment.
According to Apple, this sort of density is the maximum that can be processed by the human retina (when the screen is held at a distance of 12 inches). Whether that's entirely true or not is certainly up for debate, but there's no denying that it's an impressive screen and one that could really up the ante for the iPad 3 and put it ahead of its rivals.
SD card slot
The lack of an expandable memory is something that gadget fans have been banging on about relentlessly since the launch of the very first iPad. Just like the first model, the current version is offered in 16, 32 and 64GB configurations with the latter proving to be more than enough for many users. However, missing expandability is an absolute deal-breaker for many, so until Apple bites the bullet and invests in an SD card slot for its next model, there are plenty of gadgets fans out there who still wouldn't touch the iPad with a bargepole.
While it's true that the iPad 2 can support HDMI playback, this is only possible using the Apple Digital AV Adapter, for which you'll have to shell out an extra $39. A bit of a liberty if you've just spent several hundred of your hard-earned pounds on a supposedly HDMI-ready tablet. We'd like to see a proper HDMI port on the next version so that we can hook up our iPad to our HD TV without the need for anything besides an HDMI cable. Speaking of which, it might be nice if there was one of those in the box as well, although we can't see that happening.
iPad 2 users have the option of buying the Apple Camera Conneciton Kit which will let you transfer files from an SD card or directly from a camera using a USB cable. It seems like a hell of lot of messing about considering that pretty much every laptop and tablet under the sun has a built-in SD card slot and at least one USB port. Apple insisted doggedly for years that its Firewire was the connector of choice, before finally relenting and including USB ports on its computers when it was clear that there was little choice. Lets hope that the same happens for it's mobile devices.
This might not be a must for everyone yet as it's only any use if you've got yourself some other DLNA pieces of kit to stream your content to. The iPad 2 currently limits streaming to Apple TV and AirPlay-enabled speakers, whereas it would be nice to have the choice of which products you can stream to, rather than being tethered to Apple-sepcific devices. We've got our fingers crossed, but we reckon this might be one area where Apple won't budge - at least not for a while yet.
From the very second the the first iPad was launched we could hear cries of "what, no camera?" ringing out across the globe. A front-facing camera seemed like rather a daft omission for a product that was otherwise perfectly suited for FaceTime calling, so Apple did the right thing and introduced one on the iPad 2. Also new to the second-gen model was a rear-facing camera which, in reality, will be ignored by many iPad 2 owners although it might have looked a bit silly without one, compared to its rival brands and their camera-heavy tablets. Whether it's really needed or not, we'd be very surprised if a camera flash didn't materialise on the iPad 3, if only to sake the thirst of the spec-hungry techosphere.
While the iPad 2 was introduced in with the updated version of iOS (4.3), what we really want to see is a more dynamic operating system, preferably in the form of iOS 5 and all the goodies that should come with it. It's likely to bring more multitasking options to add to the limited scope offered by the current software, although we know that what everyone is crying our for a Flash-friendly browser. It's debatable just how much the lack of Flash support affects the everyday experience of browsing on the iPad, but it's still a major flaw and one that means that the iPad is a no-no for many. It would also be nice to see wireless syncing thrown into the iOS 5 mix. It's only once all of these things are in place that we're likely to get the "post-PC" experience that Steve Jobs repeatedly referred to at the launch of the iPad 2.
What would you like to see on the iPad 3? Post your thoughts in those boxes below.