Your Next iPad: What Features Will It Have?

An idiosyncratic survey of German consumers may not be indicative of what the rest of the world wants in the next iPad, but it does make you wonder what, exactly, Apple will do with the iPad 2.

The survey of 3,000 consumers by German shopping site Gutschein-Codes returns results that are simultaneously realistic and unrealistic, but either way, users’ desires are unlikely to be met are unlikely to be met. The top six desired features by popularity are:

  • 48% USB
  • 44% Adobe Flash
  • 42% optical drive
  • 38% TV Tuner
  • 30% waterproof and shockproof
  • 29% camera

A camera, the least desired feature, is arguably the most likely to be added to the iPad 2. If the next iPod touch gets two cameras and FaceTime capability, consider FaceTime in the iPad 2 a done deal. With the purchase of LiquidMetal Technologies, future iPads will likely be more durable, but a desire for waterproofing seems just…odd.

Also odd are people that think you can just add an optical drive to a device that is half an inch thick. As magical as the iPad is, creating non-dimensional space is beyond even Jonathan Ive. While there’s no physical reason not to include Flash or a TV tuner, both compete against Apple’s business models at the iTunes Store and the App Store, so it’s not happening.

As for USB, that could be a surprising feature of the iPad 2. There’s already a camera connection kit that has some basic USB capabilities (mainly geared towards cameras), but it really ends there.At the request of the European Commission, several smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, have agreed to create a universal charger, likely via micro-USB port. Of course, USB and cameras aren’t all that will be in iPad 2.

First, there might be more than one iPad 2, as Taiwanese rumormonger-on-steroids DigiTimes reports that Apple preparing two iPads for launch in the first quarter of 2011. The 9.7-inch iPad will feature a new ARM Cortex A9 CPU and 512MB RAM. Add in a storage bump, maybe a 128GB model, and that’s pretty much common sense, less so the rumor of a 7-inch iPad using a high-end IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1024×768. And why not a 5-inch iPad, too? One need look no further than the soon-to-be-flop Dell Streak to see why not.

A phone with a 5-inch screen doesn’t fit in the hand and is too small for a tablet. A 7-inch iPad doesn’t save much on size or weight, but sacrifices the precious screen real estate that makes the iPad experience so pleasurable. However, Apple could learn from the Dell Streak in one respect.

Did you know that if you bought an iBook around 2000, you had to pay $100 for an AirPort Card to get Wi-Fi? Now you pay for 3G in your iPad, but it won’t be long before it’s built-in. The only question is whether 3G Android tablets will force Apple’s hand later, rather than Apple adding value to the iPad sooner.

What does my ideal iPad 2 look like? Pretty much like a 3G iPad, with the possible exception of a micro-USB port in addition to/in place of the Dock Connector and a least one camera. Internally, it will feature a faster CPU, 512MB RAM, and a three-axis gyroscope like the iPhone 4, but not the “Retina Display.” That would require an iPad with a display running at least at 2048 x 1536 and a battery-draining CPU to match. Might as well throw in an optical drive. The prices will stay the same, starting at $499, possibly with a 128GB model for $799.

So, what does your iPad 2 look like?

Related GigaOM Pro Research: The Case For Removable Media on the iPad

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