Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 3 sometime in Q1 of 2012. There’s no concrete launch date in place as yet – there never is with Apple until the eleventh hour – but this little nuance, as per usual, hasn’t stopped the inevitable tirade of rumour, conjecture and speculation about the next iPad reaching fever pitch online.
Allegedly the iPad 3 will feature an up-scaled version of Apple’s famous Retina display, along with a quad core – A6 – processor and an upgraded graphics processor, which will apparently be twenty times more powerful than the iPad 2’s.
It’ll also support LTE 4G network connectivity – not that it’s any use in the UK – and a slightly thicker chassis as well as a significantly improved battery life. These are the chief reoccurring rumours about the iPad 3 – although none of these wonderful additions have been officially confirmed.
So what else can Apple bring to the tablet table? What has the company, until now, been neglecting from its iconic device?
The most obvious improvement for Apple’s tablet we can think of would be high-end camera setups, both the primary and the front-facer for video calls. The sensors Apple used on the iPad 2 are sub-par and have already been out-classed by Asus and Samsung with their respective efforts.
Fortunately, we’ve heard reports that the new iPad 3 will feature an 8-megapixel primary similar to the iPhone 4S. The thing is I think this should be a bare minimum. For me, the argument that tablets don’t need decent cameras just doesn’t hold water and, despite advances in digital camera technology the mobile world seems remarkably slow to progress in step. It’s seemingly not a high priority and that doesn’t make much sense to me.
Companies like Nokia, which put a lot of time and effort into mobile camera setups, have the right idea but as Apple is truly a trend-setter for mobile tech it should be doing something bold to distinguish itself from the pack.
I also think the way in which people use tablets now, particularly the iPad, means higher spec cameras would be well received. For things like video calling between family members, and even from an enterprise perspective for things like conference calls, the upgraded camera hardware would no doubt get plenty of use.
The increased real estate of an iPad means that it’s far more suitable for things like shooting, recording and editing than, say, a smartphone. Have you ever tried editing a picture or video on the iPhone? It’s not fun, trust us.
Granted there are many users that would never dream of taking their slate out of the house for fear of losing it, or because it doesn’t have 3G connectivity. But for everyone of these types of users there’s about three who take their tablet everywhere with them – this means lighter tablets are always something manufacturers should be striving towards.
And while we know it’d be difficult to get the iPad 3 much lighter than the last iteration of Apple’s iPad, we would like to see some weight savings – even if it is only a gram or two.
I’d be very impressed if Apple did something that no one is expecting, like included an 8-megapixel camera on the front and a 12-megapixel, or even 16-megapixel, primary on the back. Of course it’s not just about the megapixels, but Apple has demonstrated it can handle cameras holistically as it did with the iPhone 4S’s increased aperture size and additional lens. More of this sort of thing would be great.
What I’d really like to see in the next iPad is more support for either current standards or a nod to future ones. We saw plenty of wireless HD streaming at CES this year (WDMI) and I have a feeling this is going to become popular in a big way, just as HDMI output ports did.
Streaming capability generally appears to be gaining traction and it would be prudent for Apple to get onboard the stream train. Now we know that Apple already has AirPlay, which is all well and good (providing you’re a fully fledged member of the Apple cult and have an iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and MacBook Air). But what about people that don’t have or want Apple TV?
Simple: they’re screwed. In Apple’s world you’re either 100 per cent in or 100 per cent out – it doesn’t have time for tourists.
So, to reiterate the point further: we’d like to see some additional streaming options on the iPad 3, like DLNA or WDMI. It’d be an excellent feature and one that would help Apple maintain its competitive edge in a market that’s about to be flooded with lots of cool, open-source, streaming technology, such as Android Beam and the aforementioned WDMI – but, of course, we’re not holding our breath.
And wouldn’t it be great if Apple considered a re-design of its iOS interface. Obviously this would need rolling out across the board but iOS’s face is really showing its age now. I’m really bored of looking at it.
Functionality doesn’t need to change, but overall things are looking a bit too bubbly and cartoony in my view. Something slicker and more interesting, a complete makeover, would be well worth it.
But sadly, I know it’s wasted words to say these things. If there’s one thing which characterises Apple as a company it’s the determination to ignore criticism and suggestion for its products and instead to simply forge on ahead with its own decisive actions. Not only that but, if rumours are to believed, Apple is probably too far along in the development process to change the iPad 3 spec now.
We’re expecting an iPhone 4S-like launch and nothing more.