Apple iPad 3: Retina display and 5 more features we'd like to see
The Web was abuzz Friday with a rumor we've all been hearing for months -- that the iPad 3, whenever it comes out, will be outfitted with Apple's retina display.
Double the resolution, up to 2,048 by 1,536 from the iPad 1 and iPad 2's 1,024 by 768 for a crisp 326 dpi (dots, or pixels, per inch) matching the density of the much-loved screen on the iPhone 4 -- that's the rumor and the latest to report that this is happening from unnamed sources oversees: the Wall Street Journal.
The journal says the retina-display-packing iPad 3 will hit stores early next year, while others have said such a device could launch this fall or winter. Either way, nothing is official as of yet -- an Apple doesn't comment on rumors. The Cupertino tech giant hasn't yet said anything about the next iPad and the iPad 2 is enjoying huge sales.
But, with a growing swarm of tablet competitors running various versions of Google's Android mobile OS (rest in peace HP TouchPad), the iPad 3 might have to be more than simply thinner, lighter, faster and equipped with a better screen.
In that vein, here are five unsolicited features that we'd like to see on the next iPad -- or any tablet for that matter.
Thinner and lighter
This may seem obvious, but while the iPad 2 is svelte, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is barely thinner and yup, even lighter. However, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 achieves this with the use of a plastic back that feels much flimsier in the hand than the iPad 2's aluminum body. Apple has used plastic and glass to create thinner and lighter iPhones and this might be an option in the iPad 3. Another idea for Apple might be the use of something similar to the grippy, rubberized plastic feel of the Motorola Xoom.
Among the biggest knocks on the iPad is that its glossy screen reflects too much light and is therefore no fun to take outside and read by the pool or on the beach. (Yes, it's a good problem to have.) But it's a serious issue for Apple, which wants to become a major player in the electronic book market and compete with Amazon's Kindle, the leading e-book reader. The Kindle has a matte-type screen that diffuses light rather than reflect it -- so why shouldn't the iPad have a glare-proof screen?
As Apple offers with its MacBook Pro laptops, an anti-glare screen and a glossy screen could be offered so consumers can choose what they want.
Apple seems to have become an accidental force in the mobile gaming industry. It's iPhone and iPad have inspired developers to make hundreds (if not thousands) of affordable games with low barriers to entry. The iPad 2 offers impressive graphics performance and the iPad 3, which will assuredly make use of a faster processor, will see a bump here as well. But if Apple wants to make the iPad an ever better gaming machine, it needs to give gamers a rumbling iPad, one that vibrates and shakes in response to the video games played on screen in the same way that every home gaming console's controllers do.
This isn't impossible by any means. Many Android phones and tablets already feature haptic, or tactile, feedback when using keyboards and other functions. Of course, this would have to be a feature that could be turned off or on for those who do or don't want to make use of the rumble.
The physical security of mobile devices is still rather limited. Users are able to protect their phones and tablets with a four-digit unlock code, but many don't even bother, leaving their iPads and Androids vulnerable if they leave them in a coffee shop or taxi cab. So why not add another layer of security -- like iris scanning? Companies like Hoyos Group make iris identification systems that scan 2,048 points in the eye's most colorful layer -- the software can even detect "liveness" so, you know, no one can use some dead guy's eye to break into an iPad.
Apple's iOS 5 will enable iPad and iPhone owners to "cut the cord" and wirelessly sync songs, contacts, apps and plenty of other content whenever Apple mobile devices are near their Mac computer counterparts. And, with iOS 5, users will even be able to download operating system updates "over the air" without having to plug their i-device into a computer for the latest software. This can be taken a step further with wireless charging.
The technology is already proven. Many third-parties accessory makers offer wireless charging products for phones, tablets and even TV remotes. Hewlett-Packard had built wireless charging into its HP TouchPad as well. All TouchPad users had to do was lay their tablets into a charging dock and it would charge right up, no need to plug any cables into the device itself. Post-PC should be post cables and wires too.
What do you think?
Those are our ideas, but what do you think? What would you like to see in the next iPad, Galaxy Tab or Xoom? Leave a comment and let us know.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles and David Sarno
Photo: An Iraqi youth, who presented himself as a 17-year-old, stretches his eye as a U.S. soldier scans his iris using a biometrics digital system camera during an enlistment program session to join U.S.-allied anti-Al Qaeda Sunni Sahwa group in May 2008. An iris scanning feature would be a nice addition to the iPad 3.Credit: Mauricio Lima / AFP/Getty Images