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Tuesday March 1, 2011 1:41 pm
10 features we’d love to see in the next iPad
It's been a year since Apple took the wraps off its first tablet. In those past 12 months, the iPad hasn't had too much serious competition, and has easily dominated the tablet market. But with the recent introduction of Google's tablet-specific Honeycomb Android OS on devices like the Motorola Xoom, the tablet space is finally starting to get interesting.
And while other companies like HP, Motorola, and RIM are releasing first-generation tablets, Apple is set to unveil its second-gen iPad tomorrow. The invites have been sent, and the blogosphere is bursting with all sorts of ideas about what the 'iPad 2' might look like. But as anyone who follows Apple knows, nothing is certain until it's unveiled on stage in San Francisco. Here are 11 ways Apple could knock it out of the park with its next iPad:
Add a Verizon 3G iPad
The fact that Verizon started selling the Wi-Fi-Only iPad with a Mi-Fi bundle back in October, and since the iPhone 4 landed at Verizon last month, we can't see a reason why the next iPad wouldn't be available on both AT&T and Verizon. There could be an existing exclusivity agreement where AT&T would get the iPad 2 first, and then Verizon would follow sometime later, but my fingers are crossed that this won't happen.
Even Better, Make it a 4G Verizon iPad
Verizon's 4G network has been up and running since December, and the first LTE phones are expected any day now. Also, if you buy a Motorola Xoom, it comes with the promise of a free future 4G upgrade. Why not the iPad 2? Hopefully, the accompanying data plan wouldn't be prohibitively expensive.
Offer Special Data Package Pricing for iPhone Users
Admittedly, this is less likely than me getting struck by lightning in the middle of New York City, but it doesn't hurt to dream. I have an iPhone, and I pay for a data plan. If I get a cell-enabled iPad, I would pay for a data plan. Apple, I'm a loyal customer, how about a break on data pricing? I'm happy to stick to a single carrier for both devices to make it happen.
Reduce Prices, Lower the Entry Price Point, and Add More Storage
As it stands, you have to pay at least $500 to get into the iPad game and that's for a Wi-Fi-only 16GB tablet. At $829, the top-of-the-line 64GB 3G model plants you firmly in the full-blown, fully loaded laptop price range. Ouch. Knock that entry-level model down to $350, and double the storage on that $829 model and iPads will surely sell like hotcakes. Well, like, even-hotter hotcakes.
Add a 7-Inch Model
Sure, Steve Jobs has said that seven inches isn't an ideal tablet screen size, but Jobs has made some claims that have run counter to the products Apple eventually releases.
An iPad you could slip into a coat pocket? One with a smaller screen and a lower price? Yes, please. Plus, a smaller iPad would compete directly with RIM's forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook, and kill the single benefit the Samsung Galaxy Tab has, for some, over the iPad.
Make it Faster and More Powerful, but Don't Kill Battery Life
The latest Android tablets including the Dell Streak 7, Motorola Xoom, and HP TouchPad are built around dual-core processors. To stay competitive, the iPad 2 needs a next-gen, dual-core chip. While a more-powerful CPU could push more pixels, Apple, please don't put a Retina display on the iPad if it will push the price out of reach. And whatever you do, don't mess with the iPad's excellent battery life.
Add a Front-Facing Camera and FaceTime
The biggest complaint about the original iPad was its lack of camera(s). The next iPad should have a front-facing webcam. It doesn't even have to be an ultra-sharp 720p HD webcam like the one that was just added to Apple's latest MacBook Pros. A lot of people also want a second back-mounted camera, but it's not a must-have for me, I just want to be able to use FaceTime or Skype for video calls. PhotoBooth would be nice too. But I don't really see myself using a 7- or 10-inch device to take snapshots at a party or in the park. That's what cell phones are for.
Add a Second Side-Mounted Dock Connector
One of the best features of the iPad is its clean lines and minimalist design. But a second, side-mounted dock connector, so you could sit the iPad in accessories like the Apple iPad Keyboard Dock, in landscape mode, would be a welcome addition. And if it were designed right, with, say, a swing out cover, it wouldn't wouldn't compromise the iPad's clean look.
Better, Add a USB Port
While we're adding connectors, how about a USB port open the iPad to a huge universe of peripherals to make the tablet more useful. Again, that lightning strike seems more likely.
Even Better, Add Wireless PC Syncing
I've been wishing for this feature since I got my first-gen iPhone. Why can't iOS devices sync with PCs and Macs over the air? Even the Microsoft Zune can do it. You can buy apps and media over the air. We've got Wi-Fi. We've got Bluetooth. Please, Apple, let's make this happen already.
This article, written by Wendy Donnell, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc..
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