Speculation abounds over what Apple’s next iPad, known as the iPad 2, will offer when CEO Steve Jobs finally unveils the new tablet. Some say the device will feature both front- and rear-facing cameras. There is also speculation that the tablet will have a better display and video conferencing to take advantage of those cameras. Simply put, the iPad 2 could be a meaningful update over the existing device.
But that doesn’t mean that Apple is signaling there is a grain of truth in any of this speculation. Quite the contrary, taking its cue from security-obsessed Jobs, Apple has remained tight-lipped about what it plans to offer in the next version of its tablet. That might not be a surprise to most people given Apple’s history. But there are very good reasons why the company doesn’t want to divulge any information about its next tablet just yet.
Read on to find out some of the features-both rumored and not-that should make their way to the iPad 2.
1. Verizon 3G connectivity
Currently, Apple offers built-in 3G connectivity with AT&T’s network. For those who want to use that service, that’s a good thing. But for those who want to use Verizon’s 3G network, it isn’t. The only way to access that carrier’s service right now is to get a separate MiFi 2200 Hotspot and connect to the network through that device. It’s not convenient. Hopefully Apple will offer built-in Verizon 3G connectivity the next time around.
2. Front- and rear-facing cameras
One of the most glaring omissions from the iPad is the lack of a camera. With the iPad 2, it would be nice to see both front- and rear-facing cameras that would allow users to add video and photos to their devices, as well as engage in video conferencing with others. It’s an option that most iPad owners are hoping to see in the next iteration.
3. A larger display
Much of the market is looking for a smaller, 7-inch version of Apple’s iPad. But that seems rather unlikely, given Jobs’ recent comments saying that a 7-inch display doesn’t work for tablets. Realizing that, maybe Apple can offer a larger iPad display of about 10.1 inches. After all, that’s what Acer is touting in its tablet offering. And Apple seems awfully keen on getting big tablets into consumers’ hands.
4. More IT control
One of the benefits of the iPad is that it provides administrative control for IT staffs. It allows companies to control access to particular applications, decide what can be changed on the device and more. But if Apple wants to see more enterprises adopt the iPad-and it should-the company must deliver even more IT control, especially when it comes to safeguarding the device from third-party applications.
Building a More Versatile iPad
5. A slimmer design
The iPad is quite small, but it would be nice if Apple offered an even smaller tablet. The device shouldn’t sacrifice display size (it should be bigger, remember?), but should still be thinner and lighter. After all, the iPad is a mobile device. Shouldn’t Apple want to consistently make it easier to carry around?
6. A USB port
The lack of a USB port should be addressed in the next iteration of the tablet. A single USB port would not only make the iPad more usable for both consumers and enterprise customers, but it would also address the current iPad’s issue of supporting just a handful of printers through its AirPrint functionality. USB connectivity is available in the HP Slate 500. Apple must offer it in its own product to keep up.
7. Retina display technology
When the iPhone 4 was first unveiled, Apple revealed the Retina Display, which is designed to provide a high-quality image to users. It would be nice to see that technology make its way to the iPad 2. After all, the iPad is an entertainment-focused product, and the higher the quality of the screen, the more consumers will jump at the chance of getting it.
8. FaceTime integration
As mentioned, the iPad 2 should feature a front-facing camera. If it does, it will facilitate Apple’s ability to add FaceTime, its video-chatting feature, to the tablet. With FaceTime in tow, the iPad 2 can be more than just a device that consumers use to be entertained. It can also be a helpful enterprise feature, as well as a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. Plus, it would make the iPad 2 a more well-rounded competitor to netbooks.
9. More storage
Currently, Apple offers up to 64GB of storage in the iPad. But in the next version, Apple should offer twice that. The iPad is a computer. More and more people are relying upon on it to get their work done. If the device boasts more storage, they can add more content to the device, making it all the more likely that Apple’s tablet will steal significant revenue from netbooks and lightweight notebooks.
10. More printer support
As noted, a USB port could significantly improve printer support on the iPad 2. But if Apple is committed to sticking with AirPrint, the company must add more printer support to that feature. Currently, AirPrint works with just a handful of printers, leaving many iPad owners without printing capabilities. If Jobs can significantly increase the number of supported printers for the iPad 2, he could go a long way in bolstering sales of that device.