Imagining iPad 2

iPad 2 rumors have been making their way through the internet pretty much since the day after the current iPad debuted but lately they've picked up considerable speed. Leaks have come from supposed manufacturers and suppliers, of course, but given the time of year and Apple's refresh cycles for iOS devices to date, we could be seeing an iPad 2 announcement as early as January/February and a release in April. Either way it's coming. We all know it's coming. (We've even discussed whether or not you should get an iPad now or wait for iPad 2 next year). But what will it be like?

Based on rumors to date, I'm going make some guesses... after the break.

Size and weight

Steve Jobs downplayed the value of 7-inch tablets on a recent Apple conference call which means a) Apple will never make one or, b) Apple is about to make one. Take your pick. I pick the former, at least for now. Apple is making a big deal about how competitors can't match the iPad's aggressive pricing so are opting for smaller screens. Jobs also -- rightly -- pointed to how 9.7-inch screens allow for a fundamentally different software experience than 7-inch devices, which are closer to the 3.5- to 4.3 smartphones. So, the raw size of iPad 2 will probably be the same, as will the aspect ratio (more on that later). It will no doubt be thinner, however. Even if it's by 1mm, Jobs needs to say it's the thinnest iPad ever when he introduces it or the keynote just won't seem complete.

That leaves weight. Amazon has thrown down the gauntlet on form factors, claiming sunbathing lady readers can't hold up an iPad in one hand. It's comparing unitaskers to multitaskers but never mind that for now -- it's a consideration. However, Apple manufactures iPad out of glass and aluminum and both of those are heavier than the plastic on plastic Kindle. They're also heavier than the plastic used for the Galaxy Tab (which I've said before reminds me of my 1980s Hasbro toys, absent the ability to "transform and roll out).

Amazon Kindle bikini ad

Making iPad 2 thinner will probably shave down the weight a little. There are rumors Apple is experimenting with carbon fiber as a lighter alternative to aluminum but what can they do to make the glass lighter?

Speaking of which, switching to chemically hardened glass like the back plate of iPhone 4 would be interesting as a design choice, and case makers would no doubt benefit, but a sheet of glass at that size just seems too breakable on a device like iPad.

While iPhone 2G to iPhone 3G was also a significant design change, iPod touch 1 to iPod touch 2 was less so and that's what iPad feels like at the moment -- too early in the product cycle for anything radical.

Slimmer trim, flatter back, a look that better matches iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4 no doubt, but the size and weight probably won't change too much.

Display

iPad has a 9.7-inch LED backlit, IPS panel at 1024x768, which works out to 132 pixels per inch. That's astonishingly less than iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4's Retina Display at 326 ppi. Will Apple go Retina Display with iPad 2? I don't think they can.

2048 x 1536 at 9.7-inch just doesn't seem affordable given current technology. Nor does it seem necessary. When you use an iPhone or iPod touch, due to their smaller size you need to hold them closer than you need to hold an iPad. Retina Display (pixels too small to be seen with normal vision) is relative to distance held, so an iPad would need a lower pixel density held at a further distance to still qualify it as a Retina Display. So could they go 1.5x? I doubt it. If Apple doesn't pixel double the current display in both directions -- like they did with iPhone 4 -- it would be a nightmare for developers.

So I don't think Retina Display is likely for iPad 2, nor do I think a change in aspect ratio to 16:9 is likely either. The so-called "wide screen" 16:9 ratio has always been a compromise and it wouldn't be a good one for iPad. Yes it's wider than the current 4:3 iPad ratio and the 16:10 ratio of some MacBooks but what content really uses 16:9? Not books. Not web pages. Not email or calendars. Not most things you'd use an iPad for, not even movies. Movies are typically much wider than 16:9 so would still require letterboxing. Only HD TV shows are consistently 16:9. If you're making a unitasking TV viewing tablet, sure, 16:9 is the way to go. If you're making a tablet that's meant to do several types of media well, I'd argue the extra height (in landscape mode) of 4:3 is far more valuable.

iPad 2 will likely get the new bonded screen of iPhone 4, so reflectivity will be reduced, and perhaps a better, brighter, more colorful panel, but that's probably it for the next generation.

Wireless and cellular

I won't hold my breath for LTE in iPad 2. Apple released the original iPhone 2G with EDGE-only support so they've shown themselves to be immune to early cell technology adoption. Verizon and AT&T are both pushing for LTE networks but 2012 seems like a target Apple would rather aim for.

A CDMA version, especially one using the new GSM/CDMA hybrid chipset from Qualcomm is certainly a possibility. If Apple announces a CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon in early 2011 as almost all recent rumors suggest they will, it seems reasonable they'd do likewise with iPad 2 in a similar timeframe.

UPDATE: Verizon iPhone is now real.

iPad + Mi-Fi on Verizon

Not only would this give Apple access to the huge Verizon (and perhaps more modest Sprint) customer bases it would keep the product line simple for users. (Whether or not Verizon and AT&T allow them to switch between the two networks, the way users in multiple GSM carrier countries can switch today, is separate question.)

Capacity

iPad, like iPod touch, is currently capped at 64GB. Increases in NAND Flash density could see that bumped to 128GB in iPad 2 provided Apple can get the chips at a reasonable enough cost to keep the current price points intact. An ultra-cheap 16GB model -- or even a 2010 iPad at $399/16GB -- would be attractive if $599 and $699 shifted to 64GB and 128GB respectively. (The new MacBook Airs provide 128GB and 256GB Flash options, albeit at a significantly higher price point). Content gluttons would love it but Apple has shown with the Apple TV that streaming and rental content are their future and that means they may not invest in making iPads with bigger local storage.

If iTunes.com ever becomes a reality, with full on streaming, subscription, and digital locker features -- so we can get the content we want, when we want, and where we want it -- we probably don't need 128GB of storage on an iPad.

Unfortunately, I don't see either iTunes.com or 128GB options happening for iPad 2.

Processor

Apple's first in-house system-on-a-chip, the Apple A4, debuted with iPad and has since moved through the line to iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV. While Apple doesn't disclose the speed of those other implementations, they did announce iPad's A4 as 1GHz. Teardowns have further revealed that the Apple A4 is built from an ARM Cortex A8 CPU and a PowerVR SGX GPU.

While those are decent enough, both have been around since iPhone 3GS and both now have successors on or hitting the market. The multi-core ARM Cortex A9 and most recent PowerVR SGX would both help push a whole new level of apps on iPad. We've heard rumors for a while now that Apple has advised developers to start thinking about multi-core processing for their apps. That's a good sign.

I'm hoping iPad 2 is where the next generation Apple SoC debuts with next generation silicon inside.

UPDATE: More details have emerged about the rumored next-generation Apple A5 processor, including the use of a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU and a dual-core Imagination PowerVR SGX543 GPU.

RAM

Unlike chipsets, Apple has always been completely mum about the RAM in their devices. The current iPad has an anemic 256MB of RAM which is readily apparent by how often Safari has to reload tabs or apps shut down under the new iOS 4.2 multitasking system. iPhone 4 has 512MB, a significant improvement but iPod touch 4 stuck with the dismal 256MB.

More than any other under-the-hood feature, iPad 2 desperately needs more RAM to hold more web pages, background more apps, and throw more pixels around on the screen. 512MB is what the 2010 model should have had and by the time iPad 2 rolls around, Apple should be looking at 1GB. Again, they'll probably choose to keep costs down rather than boost performance up, and they'll need to maintain that $499 entry level pricing, but scrimping on RAM has begun to effect user experience and that's something Apple sometimes does value more than margins.

That said, no matter how much 1GB feels like table stakes in the 2011 tablet market, 512MB is still like the safe bet.

Camera(s)

All rumors and supposed checks with manufacturers and supply chains point to Apple sourcing a camera, if not both front and back facing cameras, for iPad 2. Given their investment in FaceTime -- which now runs on iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, and Mac -- that makes a lot of sense.

Will it be one or two cameras then, and will they be high quality like iPhone 4 or low quality like iPod touch 4? I'm guessing we'll get 2 cameras simply because both iPhone and iPod touch have 2 cameras. Sure it's almost comical to imagine someone walking the streets with a 10-inch iPad taking snapshots, but 2 cameras allow for the flexibility to easily FaceTime both you and what you're looking at. (No "intimate moments" jokes, please.) It would also let Augmented Reality apps work better on iPad.

But for those reasons, FaceTime and AR rather than photography, I see iPad 2 getting a lower quality camera than iPhone 4. Don't get me wrong, I'd love the 5mp sensor but if Apple's going to cut costs somewhere, a 720p video camera like iPod touch is a place they could easily do it. (And maintain room to offer a better camera with iPad 3.)

FaceTime

Sensors

iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4 both got gyroscopes in 2010. iPad 2 should get the same in 2011. It makes gaming and location services better and Apple's shown they can do it. This is probably one of the closest things I can point to as a lock.

Battery and Power

The current iPad gets a phenomenal 10 hours of video playback under optimal conditions. It seems almost impossible for Apple to top that but again Steve Jobs is likely to want the bullet point in his keynote so if there'a any way for Apple to hit 11 or 12 hours -- and be thinner! -- they will.

Connectors

Recent rumors of USB not withstanding, Apple has shown a continued aversion to any iPod, iPhone, or iPad port other than their own, now ubiquitous, 30-pin dock connector. They've included USB (and sometimes FireWire) on Macs, even flirted with HDMI on the latest Mac Mini, but they've also begun to introduce technology like AirPlay which may make HDMI as redundant to Apple's future plans as the optical drive.

Likewise SD card slots. Apple puts them on MacBooks now but not iOS devices. Jonathan Ive has said they didn't put anything on the original iPad that wouldn't be used by most people most of the time. That's why Apple provided a camera kit, ugly dongle though it may be, rather than SD card slot for iPad. Has iPad usage evolved to the point where most people would use an SD card slot most of the time? Probably not.

As many complaints as we get about Apple not providing USB, SD, or HDMI, we get just as many if not more about Apple still requiring iPad's to tether to iTunes to activate, update, and sync. Could Apple take that wireless as well, with AirSync?

Apple TV's recent iOS 4.1/4.2 update shows iOS can handle on-device software upgrades, but Apple TV is permanently plugged in and doesn't require any media, apps, or other content to be backed up. If Apple is going to require power and/or backup before updating or syncing, neither of those functions will be going wireless any time soon. (Cloud backups of 64GB iPads just isn't realistic with current on-device radios, bandwidth and bandwidth caps, and power sources.)

So while the future is clearly wireless, that future isn't here yet and Apple hasn't been the type of company to patch future holes with past technology.

Conclusion

We've already heard about device testing, and any week now we should get "little birdie" reports on the device codename and design verification stages. Maybe a case prototype will surface or blurry cam shot or two. Any of the above will help us further predict what iPad 2 will look like.

Until then, until Steve Jobs puts sneaker to stage and introduces it, these are my best guesses. What are yours?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Imagining iPad 2

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It should have a USB port. And be able to read from flash disks. And it should also have an SD slot. If both are there then it would worth the upgrade from the current iPad.

Really good article. The only part that makes me sad is in regards to the Display. I realize that the only logical step is to double the resolution and that seems unlikely given the cost...

Getting 1st gen now and then skip 2nd and buy third. Pretty much what I do with the iPhone. What ever it gets, I'm sure the 3rd will be a more significant change for what I'm using it for. Had a 3G, skipped 3gs to get 4. Worth while for me.

Nope. You hit the nai right on the head. Glad to see some open minds for a change, rather "lets just wait to see what steve jobs says"

Question - iOS 4.2 unified all the iOS devices on the same platform. Does anyone have a guess as to if things will now remain the same moving forward, or will the iPad fall behind again? For example, will iPad 2 get iOS 5 along with iPhone 5 when it comes out, or will we be left waiting until November again?

No way there's any HDMI/USB/SD. Why would anyone buy anything than the base 16gb model? There will be 2 cameras, and a slighty thinner/lighter unit. That's about it if they want to keep the pricing as low as it is.

Well they quadrupled the amount of pixels between the 3GS and the iPhone 4.
Are you saying you predict the resolution will will be identical to iPad 1? Or that they just won't quadruple it, and may just double it instead?

Pretty good guesses. That's what I expect for the next iPad. Apple definitely got the screen size and aspect ratio right on the iPad. Those Android tablets, with the 7" widescreens, are just horrible.

i really would love more ram and more storage space for ipad 2. I mainly want to use it as a media device on the go with all my movies and music on it. I have an MBA 11" for all other activities i will need to do on the go.

@SkipsMagee, thanks, iPhone 4 mixup. Fixed!
@ohferfuxsakes Pixel doubling needs to be both horizontal and vertical (so 1 pixel becomes 4) like on iPhone 4 or I think devs will have a problem.

Great article and now I am just getting more impatient for my first iPad. I figured I waited this long I might as well hold out a couple of more months. The only turn off I really have for current iPad is the weight so I do hope that goes down.
But my general thoughts are simply summed up by saying:
"But daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa noooooooooooooow!!!"

What I want most is a screen surface that repels fingerprints and doesn't have such a high glare. For a device that is constantly being handled, moved and touched, this is important. Thinner/lighter and faster/more memory would be great, too. Everything else is much less important.

A very well thought through article. Made me realise that some of the features I'd like just ain't gonna happen... yet!

Your predictions are very close to where mine have been. Another (possible) reason for not upgrading the display: the GPU processing necessary for a 9.7" retina display would negatively impact battery too much.
A possible weight reduction method: reduce the size of the boarder area around the display. A reduction of .25 or .375 inches would make a not-insignificant weight reduction.

Couldn't they just match the screen and resolution of the 11" MacBook Air? Just a thought. Also, with as much room as they had in the current iPad, could they also add more battery?

I can't wait. Good speculation rene. Have you seen ICarly. She has a pear pad that I laugh hysterically at everytime they show it. We could only hope for something like that.

If the physical dimensions change, a bunch of the existing accessories might not work (such as cases). I wonder how the accessory makers would feel about that.

Well written, good read...like Loz, made me realize some points i didnt consider and i'm pretty sure most of this is going to be right. I dont have an iPad, I'm waiting to see what Steve says about i2 but might grab it anyway. Good job Rene.

My prediction: Apple knew what iPad 2 will be before unveiling iPad 1. They've been working in the tech for over a year. That way Steve gets to make his incredible hype statements (thinnest ever, even faster, etc...) and they say it will be available next month. He looks to the future too much to make an incremental upgrade like iPod, he knew this would be a more competitive industry. Poor rim, showing their hand far too early again.

Dumbing down the camera wouldn't be a cost saving measure. They've already said that dumbing down the camera on the touch wasn't a cost saving measure but so they could shave off that extra millimeter of thickness. If anything adding in an SD card slot would be more of a cost saving measure. Then they wouldn't have to consider increasing the embedded storage because people could simply carry the large files with them on SD cards.
As far as increasing the resolution, devs wouldn't have a problem as long as they scaled the resolution to the iPhone 4. Essentially double the resolution of the iPhone 4 would actually make things easier on the devs, particularly the ones that make their apps work across all platforms rather then making different purchasable versions for the iPad.

I like the converter that lets you plug in the SD card, I think they should just do that for a USB, and open IOS up a little more, so we could take advantage of it... I honestly like having 1 open slot for the 30 pin. Less room for dust to get it, thinner, more internal room for battery ect. Apple knows what they are doing fellas... RIM showed its hands, so I expect them to match and go beyond what RIM is bringing to the table.. and these Android tabs... Google does'nt even take them serious so why should apple?

All of these predictions seem pretty spot on. I am like some of the other commentators and I will prob skip iPad 2 and wait for the 3rd gen to get an upgrade. With Verizon (prob) getting the iPhone, that will be enough Facetime to hold me over for awhile.

I think with the iPad 2 it should definatley have a front facing camera for face time, but a rear facing one would be a problem because with the screen of the ipad being large it would be a struggle to reach to the middle of the screen to tap the icon and apple would never ever put a hardware button because they prefer software. The iPad 2 should also have a slightly higher res display because some times if it's a website with lots of images and small text then the pictures would look better and you could get closer to read the text. I also think it should definitely have more RAM because some times multitasking is a bit slow. I think they definitely try and up the battery because then multitasking wouldn't be so draining, or instead of more battery life more efficient battery life. I think they should definitely up the memory because I have the 16GB and there's plenty of storage but if it had the same or close to a laptop it would be considered a better buy. I also think that it should have 3G built in ,or many some thing a bit cheaper for them to keep the price down, just so that people could take their iPad anywhere.

Excellent write-up Rene - well thought out and and probably spot on. I'd say the other "lock" (you mentioned gyro sensor) is going to be at least a front facing camera. No way iPad 2 does not have FaceTime capability. I've been holding out on buying an iPad, but I'm pretty sure I'll snag one now. Waiting (hoping) to be blown away by iPad2 to get the most out of my money! :)

Excellent article that adds some realism to hopes for the iPad 2.
One thing I keep seeing is the iPad 2 announcement will be in Jan/Feb for an April release. Apple did this for the first iPad announcement to build excitement for the device but it's hard to see them adopting this strategy again. Talking about a new iPad months before it's release is not going to do the sales figures much good of the existing device. Expect the announcement of the new iPad to coincide quickly with the release of it.

Erik, iPhone 4 has a 3/2 aspect ration, while iPad is 4/3. What you suggest won't work because the pixels aren't in the same place. iPhone is wider than iPad. THAT is the main reason iOS apps come in two flavors.

I the iPad is going to upgrade like the iPod Touch and iPhone then you should upgrade every second generation meaning 2nd iPad buy 3rd iPad don't buy 4th iPad buy! If you have iPad (1) buy iPad 4. Of corse you can do what you want.
Second 7inch iPad = no netbooks from Apple same way that the 11in MacBook air is not an netbook but really small ect
If the iPad upgrades like a MacBook then that's different and harder for me to product because I only have one and will not buy have new one for a long time
But the iPad is a new device and so it could be someware in the midle but apple is going to like to make you buy somtging for $500+ every 1to2 years.

What iPad needs most is more RAM, and more pixels. It will surely get more RAM, but probably not more pixels, because Apple just can't afford to quadruple the number of pixels on iPad anytime soon. They can't afford the screen, they can't afford the GPU needed to drive it, and they can't afford the battery drain such a GPU and screen would create. And if they can't quadruple the pixels, current Apps will look like shat when scaled; and thus would need to be recoded from scratch just like iPad 1 apps ported from iPhone.
This would basically create THREE categories of iOS device to code for (not counting AppleTV, which I assume requires Apps be designed for both 16/9 and 4/3 aspect ratios simultaneously).
With the iPad having only 1/3 more pixels than my infinitely more portable iPhone 4, I've so far found only ONE really useful thing they do (how do I say ... "enough better"?) than my iPhone 4 that makes me kinda want one -- and it isn't something that will be of much use to most people.
The iPad is better at showing Approach Plates, Taxi Diagrams, IFR Enroute Charts, and VFR Sectionals than the iPhone. It's bigger, of course, and it has a better aspect ratio for the particular application. All those products ARE available on the phone, and they look absolutely gorgeous on it ... but it's just not practical enough as a working tool. You can't read it from your lap, you have to pick it up; and it requires too much scrolling -- You can't get a sufficiently wide enough view at a resolution where you can still read everything.
The funny thing, however, is the iPad can't really do any of that yet either. And the ONLY REASON for that, is it doesn't have a high enough pixel density. Paper still kicks it's ass.
I CAN'T FRACKIN' WAIT for an iPad with 4x the pixels. I KNOW it will be years before they make one, if they ever do, and that's why I'd really be just FINE with an iPad with only 2x the pixels. I really would make love to one if they made it. And I'm pretty sure they could TECHNICALLY do that affordably by Generation 3.
But WILL THEY? It will really screw with the all the apps if they don't have perfect scaling. I sure hope they do it anyway...

Apple is marketing driven to an extent. Doesn't matter if they could afford to do a "retina" screen or not. They don't need to.
Does the competition warrant it? Not anytime soon.
Does Apple need to save something to sell a future ipad? Yep.
I do find myself preferring text, books, and web browsing (mostly news sites) on my iphone more. The ipad is basically for the kid or if i want to see any video, comics, or pdfs. It comes down to the retina screen on the iphone.
Here's to hoping that the competition picks it up and gets apple to up the resolution for the ipad 3.

Oops..
Would i get an ipad 2 with just cameras, processor & memory bump? Don't see the need or want.

Apple is all about incrementalism with just a few standout, "tentpole" features after the initial device has been shipped out.
1.5 lb? They need to get the weight to 1 lb. They have to go all out to do that. Carbon-fiber, Li-Al alloy, Mg-Al alloy, smaller battery (but same battery performance), thinner glass, whichever and all of the above, they need to get weight down to 1 lb. This is the single biggest issue Apple has to solve. The GUI was the first, and obviously they did a good job with that. Weight is another usability issue that needs to be tackled. 1.2 lb is probably the best they can get to.
7" screen? No way. Maybe in 2012 or 2013. If they get the weight down to 1 lb, the biggest advantage with 7" devices goes away.
265 DPI screen (2048x1536 res at 9.7 diag)? No. Maybe iPad version 3 or 4. They are sticking with 1024x768 for a while longer.
Dual-core A9? I have my doubts actually. A 1.3 GHz uni-core A9 will be faster or as fast a 1 GHz dual-core A9 for basically 90% of the things you do. Most software are single-threaded type of apps, especially for iOS. Rendering, encoding/decoding, things that can make use of SMP, are relatively few. So, increasing single threaded performance has high bang for the buck. So I wouldn't be surprised with a uni-core A9 at ~1.3 GHz.
512 MB RAM? Yes. No way on the 1 GB. Maybe RIM thought it was required to use 1 GB because they are using a brand new OS with new everything and desktop OS like features. That's a margin busting mistake if they want to stay price competitive with the gazillion other tablets out there.
32/64/128 GB storage. I think yes. Q1 2011 is about the right time for 4/8 GByte NAND flash chips (that would make 64 GB SD sized packages possible) to be in mass production (affordable).
9.7" 16 GB version 1 iPad for $399? I think it would be a yes.
iPod touch 4th gen form factor? Moving from aluminum to plastic chassis? If I was Apple, I would be very tempted to do it. It'll be less rigid and have less of a solid feeling, but it'll be lighter.
Cameras? 1.3 MB front cam. Who knows about the rear cam.
Stereo speakers? Yes.
0.4 inch thin? Yes. My bet is the back will change to a tapered edge and a flat center like the MBP.
Dual GSM/CDMA? Yes.
Tentpole features. Ie, the features that Apple will sell the device: Facetime, 1.1 lb and 0.4" thin, battery life, world-wireless. They'll fuse the LCD to the front glass - something to make the display better and it'll be a tentpole feature.
Wished for feature other than weight: anti-reflective coating. Use that nano-structure moth eye stuff. Whatever. Getting rid of glare from the glass would be a big usability feature.

I think iPad 2 will be like this:
CPU: Apple A5 (Cortex A9)
RAM: 1024 MB
Display: 1280 x 1024 px LED + IPS
Camera: rear and front facetime camera (same as iPhone 4, rear camera 5MP)
Storage: 32,64,128GB
Sensors: Gyroscope and temperature sensor
Connector: SD card slot
Technical explanation:
CPU: The Apple A5 will have bigger size than A4 coz the 1GB RAM (that may using 2 chip, 512x2).
Display: With this resolution, the pixel density will be increased and won't decrease the overall performance coz the improvement in the hardwares.
Camera: almost sure that iPad 2 have facetime camera
storage: 16GB was too small for iPad as a tablet PC! (I know how it fell coz I have iPad 16GB)
Sensors: Gyroscope is almost sure, but the temperature sensor was a sensor i dreamed since I had an iPod Touch)
Connector: USB wont be available on the iPad because iOS wasn't design for that. SD slot is the only hope that exist for the connection improvement.

Finally. Someone wrote a sensible preview of iPad. One logical idea I might add is that Apple might keep the price points 500 600 700, and keep the memory 16 32 64, but make all iPads 3G. The current 3G+wifi models are overpriced anyway, and in doing so apple could claim they have knocked 120 off the price. Plus it simplifies the line and they can get a chance to try out their new internal sim card idea.

Good article. I just got my iPad last week and love it. I made a deal with my wife and I will give here this one and I get the new one.
Here is what I want ti see. Carbon fiber would be cool, HDMI (as this would allow us to share video with kore people when we are away from home, higher resolution (I have really good eyes and the current screen looks kind of bad as the 3GS looks really bad), duel camera, orientation lock (maybe a 4 position button with lock+mute, mute, on, on+lock).
Well see.

I always enjoy Rene's writing, albeit that this is hardly new information or even new rumors. Although I must admit that ever since I adopted the iPhone almost a year ago when iOS 3.1 finally had all the features that I had considered must-have's, this Apple drama has been so much fun all year long, and switching to the iMac six months ago has been nothing but a pleasurable experience on Apple's Mac front as well. I've been fortunate enough to make a nice chunk of money with Apple as well. I like the way they deal. A lot.
The so-called Retina display has forever ruined my love for display technology when I first turned on my iPhone 4 (well, not really). Even my highest-end super high-density AFFS S-IPS displays are no match for the 326ppi LED-backlit, ultra hi-resolution, IPS screen that is on this phone?!? If they "go Retina" on the iPad 2, with a screen almost three times as large as that on the iPhone 4, I'll never go on vacation again, as I will always have better or at least equally as crazy-awesome a picture of what the world looks like through the eyes of a 10" screen at double-XGA resolution, and quadruple the pixels. :D
I wonder what's next. As far as the bigger picture is concerned. iPhone 5, 6, and beyond. I'm not even really excited about LTE/4G on AT&T any longer because as of Oct. 1, my average downlink speeds have virtually never slowed to under 5Mbps anymore. Sure, I'll take more speed, but as Apple is unlikely to roll out a 4G iPhone next year, and for the fact that we'll soon be up to HSPA+ 14.4Mbps and later 21Mbps with real-world speeds of 10-15Mbps, I'm good, thank you.

Good review of your thoughts. I would say faster processor, lighter weight, increase storage. I say increased storage as programs and games seem to be larger and more in-depth. Epic releasing unreal eng technology that will run on iPhone 4 and iPads. Just like pc's the programs and games have increased in size dramatically so have xbox and ps3 hard drives. An example EA games for iPhone FIFA 10 was 45.1mb and FIFA 11 now 854mb. NFS Shift 179mb and the latest NFS hot pursuit 380mb. There is no doubt storage size will play a factor on future upgrades. As for the screen we all would love a better screen and that may be possible for an elite version if your willing to pay for it. Not everyone may want to invest in a high end screen, but that option may be an option (wishful thinking). I think apple will surprise us with some kind of better quality display maybe not a retina screen, but something better. I also think ipad2 will have more ram and I would say it will be the 512 or 1024 with future multitasking options and capabilities. The SD slot may address the issue for more storage. A mini-USB is a possibility as well. It will be one or the other. A rotate switch..... LOL u heard me... They will add a rotating switch seperate from the mute button, and software update will remove the mute from the volume button lol. Currently both do almost the same and I think it's an option to get people use to the switching over to be more like an iPhone. I expect battery life to improve by very little.
AND now the big question..... Steve said what can we do to the Mac to make it more like an IPAD...... Could the next words out of Steve be..... What can we do to make the iPad more like the MacBook Air ? Could this mean more gestures for the touch screen? I don't think they will make products similar to each other but.... I can see them taking good engineering from the macbook air and put that into the iPad. I can also see apple increasing some of the price for a better rounded iPad. There is always something that makes you want to go to the next model whether it is screen size, storage, etc. Maybe we will see an 11in instead of a 7in. LOL. We will know soon enough. I see 2 cameras front and back, that's a given.

author: Even if it’s by 1mm, Jobs needs to say it’s the thinnest iPad ever when he introduces it or the keynote just won’t seem complete.
lol thats so true, he should trademark that XD

"but what content really uses 16:9? Not books. Not web pages. Not email or calendars. Not most things you’d use an iPad for, not even movies."
WRONG!
Thousands of movies are shot on 35mm film and now also HD video cameras. All of these are in 16:9 ratio.
Using a 4:3 screen (like the iPad or an old analog CRT TV) and seeing a wide screen movie either cropped on the sides or letter-boxed, is just plain painful!
Web pages are also much better on a 16:9 display. Most people prefer to view & read Web pages in portrait mode. In portrait mode, a Web site viewed on a 16:9 screen, with the page show full-width in the "9" ratio, lets you see much more of the page and requires much less scrolling than viewing & reading a Web site in the "3" ratio of a 4:3 display!
"Movies are typically much wider than 16:9 so would still require letter-boxing."
Exactly! Many (but not all) movies are shot in ratios up to 2.39:1. These extra wide format movies look much less ridiculous, with minimal letter-boxing on a 16:9 display. But watching a 2.39:1 movie on a 4:3 display leaves you looking at a mostly black screen, with huge letter-boxing and a tiny version of the movie to watch between the thick black bars.
Even books, magazines and comic books/graphic novels look better on a 16:9 display, because you can see full double-page spreads, and even have room for a side bar with table of contents, controls, and extra information like footnotes. But on a 4:3 ratio display a double-page spread going full-width actually needs to crop the bottom of the pages of typical books, magazines and comic books.

@Harvey,
9.7-inches at 16:9 means less pixels and less height. That means smaller webpages (because they'd have to fit the narrower screen) in portrait mode. Most movies aren't 16:9 either. Again, a 16:9 aspect ration was a compromise for HDTVs, it makes little sense on any other device. You need height in landscape mode for so many other things
16:9 doesn't give you more, it gives you less. Replacing bezel with letterboxing does not a bigger content window make ;)

Gotta agree with Rene about 16:9. That would be a terrible aspect ratio for a converged, any orientation device. It's a human vision thing.
A web page in portrait mode would appear to be too tall or not wide enough. The opposite in horizontal orientation: it would appear too wide and not tall enough. Web-browsing is the most used feature on the iPad. This also applies to email, office automation apps, most apps.
The only thing nice for wide aspect ratios are for video. With "internet communicator" being the dominant thing done on the iPad, going 4:3 would be the right choice.

An addendum. Same goes for the MBA 11". It's 16:9 aspect ratio is a misfeature. It really should be 16:10 at most.
The only place I can think where a superwide aspect ratio would be nice outside of movie watching is for a large screen computer monitor as long as it is tall enough. Say putting two 4:3 screens together making an 8:3 screen. Something like a 27" 2880x1080 would be interesting if one's vocation could make use of it. Or 3200x1200 resolution.

As far screen ratio, they are all compromises in a multifunction device so the logical option is to go for the 3:2 of the iphone as it suits most books, magazines and comics better than the alternatives, would be fine for webpages and less unsuitable for movies than 4:3.
I think the guesses in the article are pretty good, apple simply don't need to push things too much with this release, but one extra thing they may include on the hardware side would be nfc support as that's going to be a relatively common new feature in 2011.
One change I would like, but doubt they would make would be to move the connector to the bottom of the device in landscape mode, I have realised that I only ever use my ipad in portrait mode when I am holding it up.

That was a top read, where did you find out how to write like that? Whatever the case, your amazing skill has kept us mesmerized in your work. Your involvement are greatly appreciated.

What's the most probable month (Jan, Feb or Mar) that Apple will officially announce the details of the iPad 2? Is this date tied to a particular annual conference, like the one Apple holds in June for the iPhone?

"apple simply don’t need to push things"
apple simply doesn't need to push things
FTFY!

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