Poll: What hardware features do you want in iPad 3?

Now that it looks like Apple is getting close to announcing the iPad 3, it's time to get serious about what we're expecting from it. Let's start with hardware.

It pretty much sounds like a given that we'll be getting a 2048x1536 Retina display, which means, at 9.7-inches it won't be quite as dense as the iPhone 4S but you'll likely be holding it further away from your eyes, effectively making the difference minor.

LTE 4G networking is harder to pin down. The Qualcomm chipset sounds like it's ready, but LTE simply isn't very widespread yet, and Apple has huge international sales. Apple currently offers three iPad 2 models: Wi-Fi, EVDO Rev. A, and GSM/HSPA. Could they switch to Wi-Fi, EVDO Rev A/HSPA+, and make the 3rd SKU an LTE model for carriers that support it (most importantly, Verizon?)

Quad-core Android tablets were announced earlier this year, does Apple have to meet that latest processor escalation? More cores open the door to more features, for example AirPlay uses the second core to mirror the iPad 2 display, but do we really need 4 yet? Since Apple controls both hardware and software, they can optimize the heck out of their processor and get performance that often feels better than greater spec'ed competition already.

Likewise 1GB of RAM and 128GB of NAND Flash memory storage. 1GB of RAM, especially with a Retina display, may open the door to even more spectacular gaming, especially if the GPU is also getting a boost as expected. The multitasking system could do with a healthy amount of available RAM as well. With Apple going to the iCloud it may not seem like on-device storage is as big a deal as it used to be, but with iBooks 2 making textbooks a reality, with the possibility of 1080p video support on the horizon, and with truly epic games needing a lot of storage space, it's definitely something that should be on the radar.

Almost 3 years later, and USB ports and SDHC card readers are still something we get asked about. Apple has their Camera kit dongle and that's likely all they'll ever have. Wireless is their future for files. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, would be great for moving the largest of the large files, at least until next-generation Wi-Fi is ready. But Thunderbolt is based on PCI Express architecture, the kind you find in PCs, and doesn't sound like it's iPad compatible yet.

Better cameras, however, are certainly iPad compatible. Granted, few people will be replacing tiny, pocketable point-and-shoots with iPads, but the current cameras are barely serviceable. Facetime HD up front feels like table stakes at this point, and something in the 5 to 8 megapixel range would be much better in back. If either the Retina display or LTE radio requires a bigger battery, making iPad 3 even slightly thicker, hopefully Apple has the depth to put a decent piece of glass in as well.

The iMore Nation are a demanding people and we make no apologies for that. We love our Apple devices because they're typically built beautifully and just work, and we're going to keep Apple's feet to the fire. Vote in the poll up top, and then tell us what's most important to you and why in the comments below!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Poll: What hardware features do you want in iPad 3?


I want more than one so I didn't vote.
2048 x 1536
Retina display
1GB of RAM
4G LTE networking
128GB of storage
SDHC card reader

I want to choose more than one:
Retina Display
Faster A6 Processor
1GB of RAM
Better front and rear cameras. (at least good quality. The current ones are almost unusable)
128GB Storage

What's with this more than one nonsense? A 2048 x 1536 9.7" screen will be killer.
Maybe iMore should do more columns on this just to communicate how freaking awesome this is going to be (for apps & media made for it). Although perhaps speculating about the cons would be good too.
If current iphone apps look like garbage to you at 2X on ipads, imagine how terrible they'll look on a retina ipad.
Current ipad apps will also suffer a bit. It's up to devs to upgrade their apps to retina. Think iphone 4.
How will media look? Quite a few probably still use standard definition even on current ipads. That will looks even worse on a retina ipad. Yes, more storage will definitely be desired. Better cameras too because they need to be improved as to not look like garbage on such an exceptional screen.
Whatever... We're talking double the resolution. Four times the pixels. There isn't any screen in the computer market that will compare with this.

The obvious would be Retina Display or at the very least full HD. Upgraded cameras are a must as well. Possibly more memory (32, 64 and 128) options. Quad core would be nice however at the very least upgrade to RAM is a must.

Great poll! Maybe if we all agree on a feature, Apple will change the design on this device that's already finalized and off for manufacturing! :eyeroll:

"LTE simply isn’t very widespread yet"
Hey! You should check out this new wireless company called Verizon. They have LTE coverage over a very large percentage of the nation's population. It's in every major city I personally go on a regular basis. Sacramento, San Francisco (including most of the whole Bay area), Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and even podunk little Tallahassee.

Wow. You guys are really setting yourselves up for disappointment again.
In before "Apple didn't meet expectations on the iPad 3!!"

1-2 TB would be nice. I still don't understand the usfulness of this device with such small amounts of storage. How does that 64GB hard drive on your laptop work out for you? How much HD video can I carry around on this thing? Can't even download/watch one HD movie over 3G without burning through a data cap. People use computers for very different tasks, so am glad it works for you and as it seems millions of others. I personally don't want to lug around a phone, a pad, and a laptop so I can have access to data, when I need, not based on my proximity to wifi.

Retina display is a given. Quad Core hopefully, RAM increase would be good. We'll just have to wait and see in a month.

It will NOT be thicker, that would make no sense given the track record so far of all apple products, they wouldn't back track on that.

My vote for what I want in the iPad 3 is "Other": humane and compassionate working conditions for the human beings who make these things, along the lines of the basic rights that unionized workers in the U.S. fought for with blood and tears for so many years. 8-hour work day. Breaks. Vacation time. Apple can do that much, can't they?

I'm reading this VERY CLEARLY on my OMG I still can't believe it's true Ipad (1). A device that feels like it's from 2025. Don't get in the spec race, the Ipad is awesome, it doesn't need a camera nor does it need a screen so hi-res, the human eye cannot discern the difference.

I'm still trying to figure out why so many want the Retina Display. Are there really THAT many mutants with super-eye-sight around these days?

You can definitely see the difference in the pixel density when you have a 3GS and iPhone 4/4S side-by-side. To me it's the biggest improvement to the iPhone. It's really the most important element to the iPhone and iPad since you're really holding onto a device that is all screen! Plus it has benefits in making touch capabilities more precise.

Oh, I'm certainly not saying you wouldn't be able to tell the difference! On the iPhone or iPod touch, it makes a lot of sense to me, as a) the screen is so small in comparison to what you're generally trying to view when browsing, etc. If you hold it close enough (as you tend to do with a phone), or have super-eyesight, then you gain a huge benefit from the increased resolution.
My question, is that since most people use an iPad roughly the same distance away that one would a laptop or desktop, why is the extra rez needed when it isn't needed on those devices. OK, I know they are talking Retina for those eventually too, but I just don't see the great need for it.
And, just to be really clear, I'm not opposed to having something that isn't necessary, but more concerned about the trade-offs imposed by the higher resolution (battery life, GPU/CPU usage, etc.). Sure, these can be compensated for by bigger/better batteries and faster GPU/CPU, but imagine if the rez stayed the same with these new batteries or processors. Unless I'm missing something, I'd rather have longer battery life and snappier performance.

1080P HD is 1920 x 1080? The iPad 3 resolution is supposedly double the iPad 2 resolution. That would put it at 2048 x 1536. That's QXGA. Other than it not being in a 16:9 aspect ratio, I don't know how that's not HD. I mean that's more pixels than in a 21 inch iMac.

ICloud is only usful on wifi. With 2-4 GB/month data caps and throttling starting sooner, I just can't understand comments like storage space is becoming less important. As data grows, and bandwidth gets more expensive it seems to me more important than ever. How many of you are selling off all those unused hard drives you have now that you have iCloud and Dropbox accounts?
The ONLY reason I hesitate on buying an iPad and not making it an integral part of daily life is the exorbitant price Apple charges for small incremental storage options and the inability to utilize cost effective storage medium with the device.

Actually that's just a testament to how stupid people are. That percentage should easily be 80 or 90%.

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