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iPad3?? What Will it Look Like?
My Personal Thoughts on the iPad3
So what do you think about the next version of Apple's iPad? In the title, I call it the iPad3 but I should have learned from the last iPhone announcement that there is nothing predictable from Apple!! The world was waiting for the iPhone5 when Apple announced the iPhone4S. So because of the unknown, I will call this the iPad3 only because it make sense to me. I wouldn't put it past Apple to possibly come up with a similar strategy and release something called the iPad4L.
Now that we have the naming discussion over, I also want to stay clear of any dates or timing for an official announcement or an official launch date. The rumor mill has Apple announcing their next version of the iPad in early 2012. That's probably just as good as any date. considering Apple's MacWorld/iWorld Conference takes place in San Francisco on Jan. 26 - 28, 2012. It's usually at this conference each year that Apple makes alot of new product announcements. Of course, this years conference will be the first without the former CEO and leader of Apple Steve Jobs.
So what do we think will be part of the next generation iPad? Not that I have any news or information that the rest of the world doesn't have, but I'd like to give you my ideas of some possible additions/enhancements to the next generation iPad.
3G or 4G
The first big question is whether or not the next generation iPad will come with built-in 4G LTE technology. Today, the iPad2 only supports 3G cellular technology so they are able to run on either Verizon Wireless' 3G CDMA EVDO network, or AT&T's 3G HSDPA network. Both 3G technologies are very adequate for running applications and surfing the internet on the current iPad devices. Of course, regardless of which cellular technology the new iPad will support, it will most likely also come in a WiFi-only version as well. For more discussion on whether or not you need a tablet with Wifi-only or Wifi+Cellular, see my other hub titled Tablets, Cellular or Wifi?
I personally believe we will see LTE capability built into this next generation iPad. LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is, the 4G wireless technology being deployed by almost all mobile operators. Some are commercial today (VZW, AT&T, and MetroPCS) while others have plans to deploy in the near future (Sprint, Cricket, & Cell South). Eventually everyone will get to LTE. The LTE technology is ideal for a tablet computer. The high speed wireless access is exactly what a device like the iPad needs as it's main purpose is to consume data!!
As these operators are spending billions of dollars to deploy their LTE networks, they want to get their users moved over to these new networks as soon as possible. VZW is a great example of this. The have several promotions in place to incent their existing CDMA customers to upgrade to LTE-capable devices, getting them to move their current CDMA traffic over to the LTE networks. You can be sure that VZW is pushing Apple to deliver an LTE-capable tablet with their next generation iPad. If you recall, when Apple announced the iPhone4S, everyone was disappointed that the phone did not support LTE. I think we'll have to wait until the next iPhone for LTE!!! All that being said, Apple doesn't push too easily, so it's all just conjecture in terms of what will really happen. Again, my personal opinion is that this next generation iPad will came with a flavor capable of running on LTE.
This is a rather easy prediction as most devices deliver upgraded cameras with successive generations of their products. The current iPad2 has two cameras. The back camera can do video recording in HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio. The still camera supports 5x digital zoom. Again, this is nothing all that special.
The front camera leaves alot more to be desired. It can only do VGA video recording up to 30 frames per second with audio. It also has a VGA-quality still camera in the front.
Based on that, at a minimum, look for Apple to upgrade that front camera and why not pull in the great camera technology they delivered in the iPhone4S. In the iPhone4s, they delivered a high end 8 mega pixel camera with all-new, advanced optics. With the two of these capabilities working together, regardless of the light you have, this camera gives you the best image possible. So based on how big a hit the new camera on the iPhone4S was, why wouldn't Apple put that same technology into the iPad3. Look for it!!
My guess is that Apple will deliver retina display capability in the new iPad, similar to what they use in the iPhone4 and 4s. Rumors have it they've been looking at this but that they have also been struggling with this technology in the tablet. For now, I think I will put this on the "wish list" but it would be a great addition to the iPad family.
The iPad2 is built on the specialized Apple A5 dual core processor running at 1Ghz. That same processor was put into the iPhone4S and man does that device fly. For the next generation iPad, will Apple evolve to their next generation, A6 processor. Will they be ready for such an upgrade? I'd assume the A6 will be a quad-core ARM-based processor which just wreaks of pure speed!! The big question is whether or not this new processor will be part of this next iPad or will it have to wait for the following release? My guess is that we'll see the A6 sooner rather than later. Apple already has two devices with the A5. It's time to move on!
Siri was such a big hit with its introduction on the iPhone4S, that i can't imagine Apple would not put this same capability into the iPad3. Apple has revolutionized voice recogition with the Siri agent. I truly believe this will become table stakes in all future products from Apple, and most likely from other OEM's as well.
Two Additional Things I'd Like to See But Doubt Apple will Address
The two key things I'd like Apple to add to their tablet are two additional I/O ports. The first one should be an SDIO Card slot. Let's face it, we spend alot of time uploading pictures from digital cameras to our computers so why not make that alittle easier for folks. Today, I am required to buy a special Apple Adapter in order to read an SDIO card of photos onto my iPad.
The second addition I'd like to see to the iPad3 would be a USB port. This would make life easier even if its for the simple capability of using a memory stick to transer files. Of course as we know, there are several things we can do with a USB port. I was just giving one example.
Even though I'd like to see these two capabilities delivered by Apple, I really doubt we'll see them anytime soon. Apple is known for not supporting such capabilities and I don't see them changing course anytime soon. If it was that big a deal for them, they probably would have put these into the iPad2. Oh well, a person can dream!!
So as I stated in the beginning, I have no crystal ball nor inside track into Apple that lets me know what to expect next. I don't think anyone does for that matter. The items I mention here are simply my predictions of what we might see in an upcoming iPad3 device. I'm sure if you surf the net, you'll find hunreds of gossip columns and rumors mills talking about all kinds of possible new features.
Check back in with me in a month (if anouncement predictions are correct) and see how close I truly was to what Apple actually will deliver.
Similarly, I'd like to hear your thoughts on what you think should and shouldn't be incuded in the next iPad. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!!!
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