Consider this: While the iPhone 4S is a very good phone (and one that I sorely miss, sniff!), there were a lot of folks who criticized it for not being a big enough upgrade from the previous device. I won’t banter about the validity of that because this isn’t an iPhone post, but it comes up now for one important reason: There has been some sentiment about how long it has been since Apple had anything really mind-blowing to show off.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the first iPad was a major debut that basically birthed the modern tablet market. The iPhone 4 shortly followed, offering a radically different form factor than the previous generations and a bevy of upgrades, both external and internal. Even the iPod Touch made news for finally offering a sorely missed built-in microphone, not to mention dual cameras. When the iPad 2 sauntered in, it took a cue from its tech cousin and offered FaceTime-friendly dual cameras as well, plus beefier key specs in a slimmer chassis (and in white, to boot!). And then…
… well, it seems the 4th-gen iPod Touch and the iPhone 4S didn’t generate quite as much excitement (although it’s worth noting that their sales have been nothing to sneeze at).
Now it’s March, and another Apple iPad event is on the horizon, with an announcement scheduled for the 7th. The big question is, will there be enough to appease the iFanatics and silence the naysayers? If it has all or most of the following, I definitely think it could.
The following features are the ones I most want to see in the iPad 3. Follow along and let me know if you have any others to add to the list:
1. Retina Display
Will it or won’t it? That seems to be one of the biggest questions surrounding Cupertino’s new tablet. Thanks to the leaks, we’ve gotten an indication that the new iPad is likely rocking a Retina Display, and a lot of Apple watchers are convinced of it as well. I hope they’re right. From the get-go, tablets have been billed as media consumption devices, so a glorious screen that can double the pixel density is pretty much a must.
2. Faster Processor
Will the device come with the next evolution of the dual-core A5 (or A5X, if you will), or a full-blown upgrade to a quad-core A6? The masses have been clamoring for quad-core, if only to remain competitive, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them. Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve said that specs don’t matter as much as performance, and a snazzy new version of the A5 has the potential to deliver great speed, blah blah blah. Whatevs. My only response (er, to myself, I guess) can only be summed up in three words: QUAD-CORE. PLEASE.
3. 4G LTE
A lot of pundits are looking closely at this specific spec, if only because 4G LTE support in the next iPad would give a lot of credence to the notion of a 4G iPhone as well. Might Apple cave in to peer pressure, given that 4G Android tablets have been out for a while now? Could it do this despite the fact that LTE is still a rising technology without widespread market penetration? I genuinely think it’s possible… except for one pesky issue: Unless the company has some amazing innovation that cracks this power dilemma, this tablet would still take a nasty hit in battery life. And that’s something the company has never been willing to live with. Sadly I think this could mean that hopefuls have to wait even longer for LTE. (But I could be wrong — no, scratch that. Good golly, I really hope I’m wrong.)
4. Better Battery
Speaking of batteries, if the iPad 3 has a Retina Display, it will need more oomph in that battery compartment. (And if it has LTE support, it is absolutely, positively required.) Sure, big gains have been made in stuff like energy-efficient processor chips, but we’re talking about a potentially huge uptick in power usage.
Even if none of those things pan out, it’s very likely we’ll at least see improved battery life in the 3. It could be from some software optimizations and enhanced power management, coupled with a slightly bigger battery with more capacity. The iPad 3 is rumored to be a bit thicker than the 2, and while a near-1mm difference isn’t a huge margin, it does yield a bit more space for a slightly fatter batt.
5. More RAM
iPad 1 had 256MB of memory. The 2 doubled that with 512MB. Could the iPad 3 possibly not go up in RAM, when even smartphones are hitting the scene with 1GB built-in? If you ask me, it would be a massive fail if the iPad 3 didn’t at least match that. Things look hopeful here, with the new breed of systems-on-a-chip that come packing actual system RAM on board. Fingers crossed.
Sure, there’s no holographic gameplay, but if the iPad 3 has these upgrades alone, it would nail down a successful launch. But how many of these might actually come to pass? My guess is four out of these five. But I’m not done yet. I promised you my top 10 wants, and yes, there are more things I’d love to see Apple include here to really wow the iOS-using public.
For the rest of the list, stay tuned for Part 2, following shortly. See you there!
UPDATE: Part 2 is up! Click here to go to #6–10 of this list.