After spending about a week with the third-generation iPad which went on sale last Friday after Apple’s grand unveiling in San Francisco earlier this month, here are several features I hope will go into next year’s model.
This one seems trivial, but will go a long way. Every iPad to date only packs a single mono speaker. Considering movies and music are key features, the lack of stereo speakers is rather disappointing. Several Android tablets including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 offer stereo speakers. Even the BlackBerry PlayBook has a speaker on each side.
Apple threw in a vastly improved rear-facing iSight camera, but the FaceTime camera on the front remains the same: it shoots at just 0.3 megapixels. For those wondering, Apple describes it as a VGA resolution which translates to just 640 x 480 pixels. Considering Skype just bumped video quality up to 1080p last month, including a 2 megapixel camera on front seems reasonable at the very least.
Thinner and Lighter
The original iPad weighed 1.5 pounds and the iPad 2 slimmed down to just 1.33 pounds. Unfortunately, the third-generation iPad weights 1.44 pounds. The much larger battery is the obvious culprit, but it was probably the only option to maintain the same 10 hour run-time with the power hungrier hardware. Tablets should continue shedding weight, not adding bulk.
The new iPad’s 0.37 inch thick body is thinner than the original 0.53 inch model, but bulkier than the 0.35 inch thick iPad 2. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 weighs just 1.25 pounds and is only 0.34 inches thick. The Asus Transformer Prime is even thinner at just 0.33 inches and weighs 1.29 pounds.
Micro USB and HDMI
Every iOS device to date uses the same Dock Connector. I do not see a change happening, but I hope Apple will eventually adopt microUSB. While it might be a pain for those who already own accessories with dock connectors, it would help keep things consistent with other products on the market. I would love to charge my iPad with the same cable that also charges my Bluetooth headset, smart phone, Kindle, and many other devices.
Jumping to Micro USB would also open the doors to supporting HDMI thanks to MHL. Apple offers a $40 AV Adapter for HDMI output, but generic cables are usually more affordable.
Some claim the new iPad lacks Siri to because WiFi-only models do not always have a constant data connection and it would be inconsistent to only offer the feature to the mobile broadband enabled ones. I also came across reasons including hardware limitations and Apple possibly holding it back until next year to entice users to upgrade again.
I am not really sure why Siri isn’t available, but the hardware is definitely capable and Apple already has the technology to make it possible. I really do hope an update will introduce the feature soon. It would be nice to check the weather, set an alarm, send a text message, or search the web quickly when my hands are tied up doing multiple things. Voice dictation already works great.
Quad Core Processor
The third-generation iPad has a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU), but still runs on a dual-core processor. While the current configuration makes major strides for graphics intensive tasks, the new hardware does not necessarily speed up every day use. Several of the flagship Android smart phones and tablets are making a leap into quad-core territory this summer and Apple will hopefully do the same for the iPhone this year and for the next iPad in 2013.
WPS Support For iOS
Just about every router now offers WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) for one-click pairing with a wireless home network. Clicking a button to let guests connect to your network makes things a whole lot simpler than having to share a complex network key. Windows 7 has the feature built-in and many Android devices offer the feature too. Though a tiny addition, it is also a huge convenience.
Consumer Reports claims the iPad runs nearly 13 F warmer than the previous model. I probably would have never noticed if it were not for all the buzz that followed. Even if comfort is not an issue, pushing for cooler running temperatures in next year’s iteration does not hurt. Lithium-Ion batteries are prone to loosing capacity when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time.
Links: Apple iPad