Mobile // Mobile Devices
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2/28/2011
11:52 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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iPad 2: 5 Features Apple's Tablet Won't Have

Apple is prepared to introduce its second-generation iPad on Wednesday. Here are five features this columnist doesn't expect to see.

Last week, I offered up my list of what Apple should add to the next-generation iPad, but what Apple should do doesn’t' necessarily portend what will happen.

Apple only takes yearly refreshes so far. Here are five features InformationWeek doesn't expect Apple to add to the next-generation iPad.

Flash

Apple will not enable the iPad 2 to play Flash content. Apple has made its position on this topic extremely clear. There's no way it would suddenly change its stance. Of course, RIM is championing its PlayBook as the best Flash player device ever. A significant portion of the PlayBook's OS is based on Adobe's AIR and Flash technologies. Adobe has said that it will debut Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet devices in the near future, which will enable hardware such as the Motorola Xoom to play Flash.

The question remains: Does a lack of Flash on the iPad matter?

An Increase In Storage

The iPad debuted with three different levels of storage: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. I don't expect to see a jump in the storage offering from Apple. The most it might go would be up to 128GB, but that would likely add too much cost to the iPad. As it stands, the 64GB version costs $699 ($829 with 3G). Apple could more easily solve any storage complaints by adding an SD card slot to the iPad 2. That would give users the flexibility to add what they want. Support for high-speed, high-capacity SD cards would be the best bet for Apple to make.

Retina Display

The blogospshere has been debating the likelihood of Apple doubling the resolution of the iPad's display from 1024 x 768 to a whopping 2048 x 1536. That's not going to happen. Most of Apple's laptops and desktops don't even have resolutions in that range. Producing a display of that resolution would also be expensive, and could price the iPad well above the current pricing scheme. (We won't even get into how this would affect developers and apps for the iPad.) Most expect the display of the iPad 2 to match that of the original. With a pixel density of just 132ppi, however, it looks terrible next to the 326ppi Retina Display of the iPhone 4. Will Apple do anything to improve the display? We certainly hope so.

Advanced Ports

The first generation iPad has only Apple's proprietary 30-pin connector port for joining to other devices. As much as the general public might like to see support for regular USB ports, DVI, or HDMI, the likelihood that Apple will use them is low. Apple has banked on its 30-pin connector port for years. The port is used by iPhones, iPods, and the iPad. Apple won't abandon this strategy, which has worked well for it in the past. Additionally, Apple will point to iOS 4.2 features such as AirPlay (which makes use of Wi-Fi) for sending content from the iPad to other media devices.

Touch-Sensitive Bezel

Apple has applied for some patents that suggest that it will bring touch gesture controls and support to the iPad's bezel. Despite these patents, it is unlikely that Apple will add such controls to the iPad now. The bezel may not be attractive to look at (it's a thick black band that frames in the iPad's display), but it serves a purpose: it lets you hold the iPad without touching the screen. Some reports have suggested, however, that the iPad 2's bevel will be somewhat thinner than that of the original.

Apple's press conference kicks off at 1PM EST/10AM PST on Wednesday, March 2.

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