iPad3: 19 Wishes, Wants and Predictions
2/29/2012 2:23 PM
by John Sciacca
We’re about to come into March, and that means that CES is long finished and thoroughly digested and that the tech world is now turning its collective attention deficit gaze to the next big thing. And a good chunk of the tech world is hoping that that NEXT big thing is will be a new version of the iPad.
While Apple keeps all announcements extremely close to the vest, they do have a bit of predictability in their product launch cycles; March seems the time for Mac and iPad news and Summer seems the time for iPhone/Pod news. And since we saw the original iPad launched in March 2010, the iPad2 in March 2011, it is safe to say that many – MANY – people are now expecting news of an iPad3 very shortly. (Will we also hear about the long whispered Apple TV? We shall see. However, I already don’t think it is going to be that “one more thing” Steve always delivered, and here’s 10 reasons why...)
While I have an iPad2 and love it – here’s a blog on some reasons why I love and don’t love it, along with how it makes an outstanding, ultra-portable word processor – there are some things that would get my to pry open the rusty hinges of my wallet and part with some long green.
Here are my predictions for some things that we might see on the new iPad3 (doubt we'll see a 2s) and how relevant I think they are to actually adding more billions to Apple’s growing cash pile. I’ve assigned each feature with a “Wantability” – how badly I personally want it – and “Predicted likelihood” – the odds on whether I think Apple will include it or not – rating.
There are SO many reasons that a USB port would be great on an iPad. To quickly swap music, photo, doc files with other users, to quickly plug in and off-load something, to view images at basically an press event where the USB has become the kit delivery means of choice. Further, a USB port could be added rather discreetly without affecting the form factor. However, as much sense as it makes, Apple seems unwilling to open up any of the i-Devices to a connector beyond its proprietary 30-pin jack.Wantability: 85%Predicted likelihood: 20%SD Memory Card Slot
When you purchase an iPad, there are two major questions you need to answer: Do you want it to be 3G or WiFi only and how much memory do you want. And going from16 to 32 to 64 Gigs chunks on a hefty bit to the price tag. As you start filming videos, taking pictures, adding apps – and more apps – and movies and TV shows and…. You memory quickly runs out. And when it’s gone, it’s delete time. I opted for the 32 Gig and am already nearly at 100 percent capacity. (Granted, I put quite a bit of music on my iPad, but I wanted a replacement for my packed out 80 Gig iPod, so what are you gonna do?) But if there was an SD card slot, you could easily pop in a card adding another 32 or 64 Gigs of memory, installing doubling your Pad’s capacity. This would be brilliant! And like the USB, wouldn’t impact the form factor at all. However, it would definitely keep people from “buying up” in the memory department, and seems like one of those things where Apple won’t do just because Apple won’t do.Wantability: 100%Predicted likelihood: 30%HD Camera
Let’s not sugarcoat it; the camera on the iPad2 sucks. Like suck-diddiliy-ucks. It takes incredibly grainy and blurry photos and is really all but unusable for taking a picture of anything that you want to save and share. It also had a difficult time in low light, making anything that isn’t *perfectly* lit appear super grainy and blocky and basically like you shot it with a 640 x 480 gen 1 camera phone. I used my iPad2 extensively at CES for filming booth demos, and while it says 720p, the quality is FAR from HD. (You can see examples on my YouTube channel here
.) Even though they tout the HD FaceTime capability, in a lot of ways, the camera just seems kind of a last minute tack-on to the iPad2. With all the praise being heaped on the iPhone4S 8 MP camera and the amazing HDR photos that it shoots, I fully expect to see a WAY updated version of the cam on iPad3. Likely with the improved lens, faster picture taking, image stabilization and 1080p video as the iPhone4S.Wantability: 90%Predicted likelihood: 95%Flash
No, I’m not talking about running Adobe Flash, I’m talking about the camera HAVING a flash. Along with the improved camera and lens, I’m sure that a relatively powerful LED light, would greatly enhance the quality of low-light pictures and video would. This would also make for a super handy “flashlight” app for those times when you need a little extra light to look for something. With the precedent of a flash already being set in the iPhone4S, this seems like a fairly certain feature.Wantability: 70%Predicted likelihood: 90%Bigger Display
I’m not talking about making the size of the Pad itself larger; I’m talking about just increasing the size of the screen. Say pushing the screen real-estate all the way to the border of the panel. In this image, I have scaled up the size of the display by 20 percent. Seriously. Wouldn’t you love to have *that* iPad? Bigger screen means more apps on the screen, larger video, bigger keyboard space, bigger everything. Many TVs now feature “bezel-less” design, and this could totally fit the Apple “Yeah, we know we’re the coolest” aesthetic. I think we will definitely see this upgrade eventually…just probably not for iPad3.Wantability: 100%Predicted likelihood: For iPad3: 25%; For iPadX: 95%Retina Display
I don’t really have any issue with the screen resolution of the current iPad2. It is never distracting when reading or watching movies or videos or playing games. However, this was another highly touted feature of the iPhone4 that was expected to make its way to iPad2 but didn’t. Now after another year, it is very likely that the iPad3 will get this update. More pixels is never a bad thing, and tech is often a numbers game where bigger is considered better, so this seems like an obvious candidate and the rumor is the new screen will be rocking 2048 ×1536, or more than a million extra pixels than your fancy 1080p resoution HDTV!Wantability: 50%Predicted likelihood: 90%Faster Processor/More Memory
Computer processing speed keeps clipping along, and a year of advances almost insures that a new, faster, more powerful and probably even more energy efficient chip will be on board. Faster processing and memory drives things like increased resolution displays, ability to run multiple programs at one, and allows for the development of better and better apps. The rumor is that we’ll see the Quad Core A6 chip in the new iPad3… Wantability: 65%Predicted likelihood: 85%HDMI Output
Sure, a fast an easy way to connect your iPad to a bigger display would be great. Just jack in an HDMI cable and you’ve got picture and sound! Except Apple loves selling add-on widgets. And they have an add-on iPad 30-pin-to-HDMI widget. So, if you want HDMI on your iPad3, be sure to pick one of these up…Wantability: 40%Predicted likelihood: 15%Longer Life Battery
It’s not like the iPad2 is a slouch when it comes to battery life. It seems to easily last 8 hours or more when surfing the Web, playing games, and generally doing what people do on their iPads. However, when taking photos, and shooting HD video and tweeting, and uploading to YouTube, and constantly on WiFi and whatnot, I had my battery die on my on the floor at CES. Not cool. Also, when you start talking about more processing power that often means more battery vampire suction. An iPad with more endurance, stamina and staying power is pretty much an all-around good thing.Wantability: 90%Predicted likelihood: 60%Thinner/Lighter Case
We got a significantly thinner case with the launch of the iPad2, but I think that Apple is pretty settled on the form factor. Plus with the addition of a new camera, higher resolution display, new chipset, etc. I just don’t see this happening. In fact, if they need to add a larger batter to accommodate these new things, you might see the case getting slightly thicker. Of course, it *would* be awesome if it was both thinner and lighter, but all things being equal, I’d rather have all the other goodies packed into the current case.Wantability: 70%Predicted likelihood: 33%Gorilla Glass2
Launched at CES this year, Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 is a stronger, more scratch resistant glass for touchscreens. It would really be awesome on an iPad as is constantly being groped and fondled and passed around. Besides being stronger and more scratch resistant, it would be nice if there were a glass that was more resistant to fingerprints and smudges and maybe some built-in anti-microbial protection. Hey, you know where your hands have been! Wantability: 85%Predicted likelihood: 30%New Colors
This just seems ridiculous to me. Seriously, who cares what color their iPad is? Apparently quite a few people do, as the launch of an iPad2 in white was a big throbbing deal. But with new cases and smart covers and what not available in all manner of colors, if you want to personalize your Pad, knock yourself out! But I don’t think that we need to have the trim of the Pad itself offered in tons of designer colors. Also, from a video standpoint, having any color other than black just messes with the image quality/perceived contrast. Seriously. Its like Henry Ford said: You can have any color that you want; as long as it's black. Or white. But, really, just buy the black one.Wantability: 0%Predicted likelihood: 15%Better Sound
To paraphrase The World’s Most Interesting Man, “I don’t often listen to the audio on my iPad2, but when I do, I wish it wouldn’t suck.” The iPad’s internal speaker is pretty weak. And, hey, what do you expect? When you cram all those guts inside AND make the case thinner, something has got to give. And – just like in modern TVs – when you make the case thinner and have no room on the front of the screen area for a speaker, you get thin, tinny sound that fires to the rear. It would be nice to at least have a stereo pair of them, or perhaps some kind of transducer that utilizes the entire screen area for better sound.Wantability: 50%Predicted likelihood: 20%4G
For iPad use on the go, 4G is the new 3G and when it comes to network roaming, faster is better. With many cellular providers touting their 4G networks, this seems like the kind of thing a forward looking iPad user would want, plus it would be the natural paid step-up evolution to the 3G model. Will Apple finally take a network agnostic approach and embrace all solutions – ATT, Verizon, ??? – in one model, or will they continue to offer ATT OR Verirzon models…?Wantability: 30%Predicted likelihood: 75%Smaller Screen
If you want a smaller screen iPad, buy an iTouch/iPhone. There. Done. However with the success of the far less expensive Kindle Fire, there is lots of speculation that Apple will go after that section of the market with an iPad-lite; a smaller version of the Pad that would sell for less money. Perhaps with a 7-inch screen. Or something. I don’t know. Or care. I think the iPad is the perfect size and form factor, and don’t need or want it to be any smaller. Really, a lower cost is the ONLY reason why I can see this being something that Apple would be interested in, but with them selling iPads by the *millions* I don’t see this being a real concernWantability: 0%Predicted likelihood: For iPad3: 5%; For iPadX: 80%Eliminate Home Button
Steve Jobs notoriously hated buttons. And apparently even that single Home button on the iPad/Phone haunted his soul. With multi-swipe gestures, you can now get back to the home page without pressing the button. (And, the button seems to be working a lot less reliably on my own iPad lately...) The top button could easily be used to wake up the screen when it goes to sleep. Also, if they increased the screen size out to the borders, this would be a natural reason to eliminate the home button.Wantability: 20%Predicted likelihood: For iPad3: 25%; For iPadX: 90%Siri
By far the most hyped feature of the iPhone4S. And there doesn’t seem to be any technologic limitation explaining why a current gen iPad2 couldn’t run Siri. (In fact, when it was available as a free app prior to Apple purchasing the technology, it DID run on the iPad.) The iPad3 seems to be the perfect time to add Siri to a whole new army of users.Wantability: 90%Predicted likelihood: 90%Multi-user Interface
This could be more of an iOS update, but I would love there to be a way to “share” an iPad more easily. For instance, it marries to one e-mail, one Twitter, one everything. It would be nice if I could grab the iPad and then quickly select which user profile to load, and then when I touch mail, it’s my mail, when I touch Twitter, it’s my Twiiter. But when I hand it to my wife, she can load her preferences and then use it the same as I do. This would also allow for some customized screen layouts, where my apps are arranged as I like and hers the way she likes. I think most households probably only have one iPad and it ends up becoming the HOME iPad; why not allow people to set up personalized access?Wantability: 100%Predicted likelihood: 40%Faceprint Reader
There are some generic code password lock things for your iPad, but why not have something way cooler and more personal. Say, a faceprint reader! Along with the better camera, you could simply look at the screen and unlock it with your face. If this were built into the iOS DNA, you could use your face to be your password for all kinds of things. It would be so much easier to just look at the screen and then, presto! Password entered! And way more secure too! This would also go totally hand-in-hand along with the multi-user interface as you would need a quick way to differentiate who was who…Wantability: 85%Predicted likelihood: 15%
If you've been on the fence about buying an iPad, what feature is going to convince you to make the plunge? And if you have an iPad already, what is going to be the must-have feature that will make an iPad3 a must buy?