8 Comments

Summary:

While many were busy filling faces with turkey, and filling malls to the brim on Friday, some new, interesting rumors about the iPad 2 came to light. The rumors included some obvious claims, but one seems out of left field: a built-in USB port.

ipad2-usb

While many were busy stuffing their faces with turkey, and filling malls to the brim on Friday, some new, interesting rumors about the iPad 2 came to light. The rumors included some obvious claims, but one seems out of left field: a built-in USB port.

DigiTimes is reporting that the Chinese-language Economic Daily News claims the iPad 2 will definitely include five new features, including a video phone, better mobility (presumably a smaller form factor), USB port, Retina Display and 3-axis gyroscope. USB is really the only surprise on that list.

FaceTime is widely expected to make its way into the next iPad iteration, and if it doesn’t, I’ll be very surprised. A smaller physical footprint is in keeping with Apple’s general upgrade strategy. Both the iPhone and the iPod touch continue to get a little bit smaller with each new case update. The Retina Display isn’t as sure a bet, since it could be fairly pricey on the supply side to bring 336 ppi resolution to the 9.7-inch screen, but Apple does seem quite committed to the technology. A 3-axis gyroscope is an obvious choice, since one already ships in both the iPhone 4 and latest generation iPod touch.

Basically, the only rumored feature without precedent among the rest of Apple’s iOS devices is the new USB port. From a UX perspective, obviously, it’s a no brainer. You wouldn’t have to get Apple’s Camera Connection Kit to import photos from your digital camera, and in theory, you could use wired keyboards with the iPad 2, along with potentially many other hardware peripherals.

But USB on an Apple portable has always made good sense from the perspective of the consumer, yet we’ve never seen it before. That’s because Apple’s dock connector has long been the only data-compatible port on any of its iOS devices. It keeps the accessory ecosystem under control, and allows Apple greater say over how, with what, and for what purposes users can access their devices.

If Apple was going to introduce USB anywhere in its iOS lineup, the iPad 2 would be the most likely suspect. That’s because people use the Apple tablet more like they would a PC than a smartphone. A USB port that allows compatibility with more computer peripherals then makes sense, in terms of attracting more potential notebook buyers to the iPad 2 instead. Also, design-wise, there’s much more real estate on the iPad’s case edge than on the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s, so adding a port wouldn’t be as much of a compromise for Steve Jobs’ decidedly minimalist tastes.

I still think USB is a longshot, but if it makes sense anywhere in Apple’s mobile lineup, it makes sense on the iPad 2. Do you think we’ll actually see it included? Existing iPad owners, do you think it would even add that much to your experience?

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  1. These ‘predictions’ are getting annoying. These are guesses that anyone could have made after the first iPad came out (with the exception of the Retina display and Facetime: It was obvious that the screen would be improved, and everyone guessed that cameras would be added. Did they know the exact names of these features? No… but they ‘knew’ about them before either feature was introduced in the iPhone 4).
    Please give us some real news instead of guesses.

    1. I could not agree more. Its captin obvious stuff. I want an analyst job. 50% of what I will predict will come true in the next 5 years….and I will get paid to make these predictions. Only tech people will read them.

      The iHype is really a negative impact on Apple these days. Everytime there is an Apple release it never lives up to the hype and its a let down.

      I am still waiting for Apps on my Apple TV.

  2. Jamie Kirkpatrick Monday, November 29, 2010

    I’d like to go one step further: the fact that TAB has started to report pretty much every rumour that comes up on macrumours.com or any of the other well known rumour sites is getting *extremely* annoying.

    I’ve been a reader of this blog for many years, and I’ve read some pretty interesting articles / found out about some interesting stuff reading it. IMHO the quality content is being diluted by regurgitating what any Apple / Mac fan can read elsewhere on dedicated rumour sites. TAB don’t ever have any new information to add to the mix, merely speculation.

    Could you guys possibly leave the rumour mongering to those that dedicate their site to it and get back to churning out more original content please?

  3. Jamie Kirkpatrick Monday, November 29, 2010

    PS….

    …and another thing: USB really isn’t that far fetched: if you have read any decent tech press in the last year or so you should have seen that it is going to be mandated by the EU for all mobile phones, and *even Apple* have signed up (http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/29/nokia-apple-rim-and-others-agree-on-micro-usb-phone-charger-st/)

    …do some homework before posting about how crazy USB on an Apple product sounds!!!

    1. Micro-USB charging standards in Europe won’t affect Apple’s outlook whatsoever, they will continue to attempt to dominate the market with their apple connector even though it does the exact same thing as USB. Apple is all about control, and they will never allow it’s users to attach non-apple devices to their portable devices; Just like they still won’t allow flash content on any of the portable devices as well (because people have the ability to access music and games with flash, and that will affect apple’s iTunes and appstore sales). Apple=Power&Control.

  4. My family has had an IPad for 3.5 months now. It really is my wife’s, but me and the kids get to use it some. My wife and I have IPhones. Here is the way I view the whole situation. My IPhone is the device that does it all. It is my phone, camera, video recorder, text, view email, surf and play games. It is super portable because it fits in my pocket. It is the perfect device for being on the go. The IPad is for when we consume information via a computer. Great for surfing and email. Also good for playing games. here is what I found out. At home I use a computer for comsumption of data about 98% of the time. I don’t produce data at home. Therefore the IPad is the perfect device for home. I don’t care that it does really print well. I don’t like to print things out. I don’t want to use it for spreadsheets or word docs. It does exactly what I want it to do. I can pick it up at home easily walk around my house with it not worrying about battery life much and get on the net in a matter of seconds not minutes. I don’t need a USB port. I don’t want to type on it. I don’t want to take pictures with it.

    1. Well said, I agree with you. Why the he’ll people want more ports and camera I don’t even know.

  5. Hamranhansenhansen Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    iPad already has USB. There are 3 kinds of USB connectors, and iPod dock connector is merely a 4th kind. If you want USB devices hooked to your iPad, that is a cable away. Same as if iPad had a micro USB and you wanted to hook on a full-size USB device. Audio devices work, cameras work, MIDI now works. Is Apple going to make it easier to hook on a wired keyboard when they have been selling Bluetooth keyboards with desktop Macs for years now?

    What is needed is for cameras and other USB peripherals to go wireless, not for more promotion of USB. Devices that are paired with Bluetooth 3 can transfer files securely via Wi-Fi “n”. Although I’m a musician, I’m not that excited about MIDI support being added to iOS because we are already using OSC over Wi-Fi which is essentially wireless MIDI. There are SD cards with Wi-Fi in them which are much more interesting to the iPad user than USB.

    Basically, iPads and wires don’t go together. It’s a fundamentally wireless device.

    If we do see a change to iPad’s wired ports, I would expect to see LightPeak, which would give you a reason to plug in a cable because it has so much more bandwidth than wireless. But even that is not necessarily needed because we’re sending movies over AirPlay and everybody seems to want wireless syncing and system upgrades.

    Wireless USB (AirUSB) I could see more than just a plain USB port appearing.

    The European charging specification doesn’t mean anything. Apple mobiles already charge via USB, and iPad requires double the power of USB to operate and charge simultaneously. iPad is not going to be using your BlackBerry charger no matter what.

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