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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 (s aapl) 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 (s adbe) 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 (s dell) 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 (s goog) 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

30 Responses to “Your Next iPad: What Features Will It Have?”

  1. Is the next generation iPad going to have a camera? I want to get one for Christmas but I’m not if theres not gonna have a camera. I heard that the next gen. would come out in January and I dont mind skipping Christmas and waiting till Jan. but if it’s gonna be later than Janary then I’m gonna have to go with a laptop. Plz comment back if you know. I really need to know.

  2. Tierra Farris

    I believe that one problem out of this whole mess is that you can not download cd’s to the ipad and that really sucks if you are like me and have a lot of software from your job! I also believe that the other feature it lack’s there of is the camera which if you use web remote access like myself its a set-back! They should really consider the next ipad!! Gear it towards working people who like myself do a lot of presentations and communication things! I am so upset by this apple product!!

  3. i refuse to buy an ipad till it has a front camera. I would only want it only a lighter since i like to feel like i have something in my hands. Of course the performance bump is obvious. And Back To Mac

    The way iOS deals with peripherals is hardware made with a dock connector must have Apple manufactured chips in them for the iphone to recognize them. So i just dont see a general purpose USB port happening soon, however i could see Apple creating additional dock accessories like a “hard drive connection kit” that will only comunicate with hard disks. Or opening up tighter wifi/bluetooth integration with OSX computers. IE: wireless syncing, Apple File Sharing (AFP), VNC, ect

  4. Waterproofing sure isn’t an odd request. Bearing in mind the iPad’s reading and viewing functions, there are several environments where a liquid-resistant iP would be so useful.

    For example, the kitchen – where liquid spills are an everyday occurrence;. The garden – where it may rain. And most important (for me) the bathroom – where I’d like to use my iPad while I float like a hippo in warm, soapy water.

    • Weee! Float like a hippo :)
      Yea all that, plus rain…not sure why its odd to use an ipad in the rain. Perhaps not out in the middle of a thunderstorm with rain sheeting down the screen. but you know, in a predictably wet environment. Apple puts moisture sensors in discrete areas of the iPhone and iPad that once tripped void your warrantee and can make the device difficult to sell. Apple warns that they can be tripped by a drop of rain, or over time but moist environments like steamy bathrooms or…you know…winter. On the iPhone, saliva can trip the one in the dock connector. I would think making the device waterproof would negate the need for those sensors.

  5. This article is just one proof that you shouldn’t ask the consumer very much. If they did, there would be people who would want an 5.25 inch floppy drive inside the ipad. :D

  6. I second the retina display and a front camera.
    The optical drive part I don’t get at all? Want to listen to your CD’s? Want to install applications? ….the air has the ability to use another Mac’s optical drive over Wifi, guess that could be used, but I have no idea as to what.
    TV tuner is also, in my book, a step backwards and completely unnessacery in the year 2010.
    I think the iPad will do just fine with a few years of mainly speed, software and storage updates. Just like the iPhone, small iterations forward and an app base that grows.

  7. Actually, I just shipped my old MacBook to the folks I deal with at PowerMax to apply to my account as trade-in for the iPad with camera.

    Facetime is ideal for the video calls I make daily – and can’t with my iPad.

    But, I’m one of the first in line for the next-gen that has a phone.

  8. Get me a camera or two, a speed bump and MAKE IT NOTICEABLY LIGHTER while keeping screen size of 10″ and I will buy one for my dad. Put in a Pixel Qi display and I will buy one for myself as well.

    And while you are at it… redesign the antenna bug and put in a 4-4.3″ display and I will buy an iPhone again as well :)

  9. I think people want waterproofing so they can read in the bathtub. Very common with paperbacks, but not wise with Kindle/iPad, unless you pack it inside an ugly ziploc bag.

    Airwave-based TV is dead to Apple; they’re all about downloads. Tuner will never happen. Same with the optical drive, ever since the MacBook Air launched. You have to sync the iPad with a Mac anyway, and they all (except air) come with optical drives, so it’s just not necessary on the iPad. I guess people want to watch DVDs on it, but again, Apple is about downloads, not physical media.

  10. I just bought and returned an iPad because I have been spoiled by the iPhone 4’s retina display. I splurged for the super-hi-res display option on my new Macbook Pro too… after using these two devices and going to an iPad I felt like I was going back in time. The “Retina Display” is a must for me. Apple can figure out the battery issue.

    • Couldn’t have said that better if I tried. I completely feel the same way. I love my iPad but the display seems almost embarrassing after using my iPhone 4 and Macbook Pro with the high res optional screen.

      I would settle on a battery hit just to have a Retina screen on the iPad.

  11. Jonathan

    I don’t understand this mania for having cameras on everything. Why would you need a camera on an iPad? A canes that faces the user for video calls – yes, that would be great. But another one facing outward? What would that be for? Are you really going to stand there holding up a great thing like a book in front of you to take pictures? Why add to the cost of the device by giving it an impractical feature that you already have on you phone, where it is useful?

    What I want on the iPad is a fully featured word processing package that is fully compatible with cloud storage or USB storage, allowing me to edit and save documents with footnotes easily and without fuss. With that, I could replace my laptop when it comma out with an iPad and Bluetooth keyboard. But while the iPad isn’t a genuine mobile word processing tool, I can’t justify the expense.

    • Apples response to cloud storage is iDisk via MobileMe, which is awesome if your willing to do the $99/yr deal. But it lacks some of the benefits of Amazon. That said if enough bloggers took up the topic, im sure we would see talks between Apple and Amazon increase.

  12. Actually none of these ideas appeal to me, especially if they add weight or cost, or reduce battery life. I use Skype a lot, but have no need for people to see me, and my phone has a camera for stills and video. My documents are already in the cloud so I don’t need a USB port to attach storage. And I don’t read in the rain. My wish list for iPad2 would be:

    1) reduced weight (but not at the expense of battery life)
    2) micro USB charging port (so I can share charger and cable with my phone)

    Either one of those features would make me consider upgrading (probably would). Both and I would upgrade immediately.

  13. Both the new sizes of iPads are excellent ideas. The current iPad is too heavy for a lot of uses (i.e. reading in bed). It is also too large to carry about any way but in a case, which gives it no more portability than a netbook.

    Real portability comes when a gadget can fit either in a regular pocket (the 5″ version) or a coat pocket (the 7″ version). Then it becomes something we always have with us. The latter size (and accompanying low price) is what makes the latest Kindle so appealing. Up to 3500 books and a month of reading in a coat pocket is impressive. I’m sure Apple has noticed that.

    Personally, I’d prefer that the 5″ version be a large-screen iPod touch. I doubt the iPad UI will work well with a screen that small, but an iPod touch UI would be great. My big, clumsy guy fingers would work better with a larger screen. On the other hand, with a high-resolution retina screen, a 7″ iPad version might work quite well and it’d be nice to have a iPad-in-the-pocket for reading and watching on the go.

    These surveys should include adding a GPS to at least some models of the iPad and iPod touch. Used with GPS apps having built-in map data, $20 more in hardware costs would turn our little gadgets into a $200+ GPS. I have three GPSs, but rarely carry them about since even the smallest is so bulky. But I always have my iPod touch with me.

    Finally, a waterproof model makes more sense that some are thinking. In a hospital environment, it means that only the outside has to be sterilized. In work environments such as factories and warehouses, something that is waterproof is also dust proof.

  14. Are you kidding?! Retina display would be my number one priority. Steve can throw on a GPU/Fusion/Whatever if he has to. In fact, I’m not buying another device with a display, unless that display matches the resolution of my iPhone4. There’s just no going back!

    • Setting aside the increased cost of an IPS LCD, the question becomes how much of the current ten-hour battery would you be willing to trade for a higher density display? As much as I’d like an iPad with a Retina Display, I am even more enamored of going days without needing to charge my iPad.