There’s always some sort of wild speculation floating around about what to expect next from Apple. But, there also comes a point in time where the rumors start to validate each other and reach a critical mass that indicates there may be more than a little truth to them. We’ve reached that stage with the Apple iPad 3 rumor mill.
Various reports suggest that Apple will unveil the next generation iPad in March. Depending on the source, Apple may hold an event during the first week of March (or even the last week of February) to reveal details of the iPad 3, and the device itself could be available that same day, or shortly thereafter.
Assuming the rumors are correct and a new iPad is imminent, the next question that comes to mind is what we can expect from such a device. Will it be an incremental evolution like the iPad 2 was over the original iPad, or will Apple truly raise the bar and make the iPad 3 a game-changing device for the tablet market?
Here are some features and capabilities the next iPad should have in order to take things to the next level:
1. Retina Display
The iPad 2 display is nice, but it’s no Retina. With a resolution of 1024 x 768 on a 9.7-inch display, the iPad 2 has a PPI of 132. At 326 PPI the Retina display of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is nearly two and a half times better.
Even a small improvement would make a lot of difference. Images and text on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus--with a resolution of 600 x 1024 and a PPI of 169--appear clearer and crisper than on the iPad 2. If the iPad 3 can get the PPI even to 200 or higher it will be a significant improvement.
2. Better Camera
It was very exciting when the iPad 2 came along with front and rear-facing cameras. Everywhere I go I see people capturing images and recording video with their iPad 2. Let’s face it, though, the iPad 2 camera sucks. Not capturing the moment at all is possibly better than the grainy quality of the iPad 2 camera.
I think it is a bit much to expect an iPad 3 to include Lytro’s light field camera technology, which rumors suggest may be included with the iPhone 5. But, almost anything would be better than the cameras in the iPad 2. The rear camera can capture HD video, but only at 720p. The front camera is only VGA quality--on par with the Sony Mavica camera I had in 1999.
3. 1080p Recording / Playback
Combining those first two things together yields a third--1080p recording and playback. It seems that people like to use the iPad both as a means of consuming video content, and as a means of capturing video of important events. It would be nice to be able to record, and play that video in full HD.