iPad 3: 5 Changes I Want

As chatter about Apple's third tablet heats up, my wish list takes shape. What do you want to see in iPad 3?
The brain power behind predictions that Apple will probably introduce a new iPad between February and April of next year is staggering. How were these extravagant conclusions reached? Where did the information used to formulate these hypotheses come from? Supply-side checks with anonymous Asian sources, obviously.

DigiTimes on Monday reported that Apple will continue to manufacturer the iPad 2 for the time being, but at a slower rate starting in January. It is currently making iPads at the rate of 14 million to 15 million units per quarter (on target for 40 million for the year!). In January, production will be dropped to the rate of 4 million to 5 million units per quarter as it begins pre-prodution on the iPad 3.

Production of the iPad 3--or whatever it is that Apple ends up calling the device--will reach 9.5 million to 9.8 million units per quarter, says DigiTimes' source. Great. Too bad we know nothing about the iPad 3--including if it even exists.

Since we don't know much, lets have some fun and discuss the features that we'd like to see added to the third-generation tablet computer from Apple. I'll get the ball rolling.

1. Retina Display: One of the biggest disappointments about the iPad 2 is that Apple didn't boost the resolution. Instead, it carried over the same display from the iPad 1. It measures 9.7-inches and includes 1024 x 768 pixels. It's a fine display, but not the HD display for which tablet fans had hoped. A long string of reports that have surfaced in the last three or four months strongly suggest that the next version of the iPad will really step up the quality of the display and go Retina. Let's hope so, because that's the number one improvement I'd like to see added to the device.

2. Some Version of 4G: If there's one thing that Apple's entire line of iOS devices sorely lacks, it is any sort of support for 4G mobile broadband. Whether it's Long Term Evolution, WiMax, or the fastest variant of HSPA+, Apple needs to get on board with the fastest wireless networks available. Faster broadband means a better chance of accomplishing work-related tasks with fewer network-based hiccups.

3. Better Cameras: Both cameras on the iPad 2 are horrible. Sure, they work for FaceTime and such, but the results are pitiful. While tablets are still unwieldy for taking pictures, most of the competition is fielding tablets with 3- and 5-megapixel cameras. I don't imagine I'll be using a tablet for most photo-taking needs, but having a decent one on board wouldn't hurt. This is something that could benefit the enterprise, as field workers have to take pictures from time to time. I mean, as it is, the iPhone 4S has a killer camera, as does the iPhone 4. The higher-quality camera sensors can't impact the cost that much when you consider the 10s of millions that Apple has ordered for the iPhones.

4. Better Port Support: All of Apple's iOS devices rely on a single, proprietary port for connecting to other devices, such as computers. I'd like to see support for USB 2.0, ThunderBolt, or some other such port in addition to the 30-in connector Apple is so fond of. Of course, adding either would make the device heavier and more costly. Better peripheral support could make the iPad 3 an enterprise star.

5. Thinner and Lighter: Yeah, I know the iPad 2 is one of the thinnest and lightest tablets out there, but I also know Apple can do better. Apple made significant weight and thickness improvements between iPad 1 and iPad 2. I'd like to see similar improvements between iPad 2 and iPad 3. Why? Usability. The iPad 2 is by no means heavy, but holding one for hours at a time still becomes tiring.

What would you like to see in the third-generation iPad?

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