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Waiting for iPad 3

The new iPad 2 is a gorgeous-looking device. With its minimalist design, a flatter and beveled back, a thickness of only 8.8mm, and a choice of black or white, it’s hard not to get excited about this first upgrade of Apple’s groundbreaking tablet computer.

But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. Despite Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ assurances that the latest iPad represents “a whole new design”, there are relatively few new features to go along with the improved aesthetics.

Sure, there are the front and rear-facing cameras, but that’s more about correcting a glaring omission in the original iPad than bringing us anything innovative or new. There are also improvements in the processing power and graphics, but there have been few complaints about the performance of the existing device.

There are also a bunch of software add-ons, including iMovie and GarageBand, but again, that’s really giving iPad users access to existing Mac tools rather than bringing us something new or revolutionary.

The subdued reception for the latest iPad has been accompanied by a number of articles highlighting what’s still missing. Here are three of the features that are most commonly mentioned as being MIA:

• Retina Display – That’s Apple’s high-density pixel display used in the iPhone 4 and the latest version of the iPod touch. The iPad 2 continues with the old iPad screen, complete with serious glare issues and those annoying smudges.

• No SD card or USB port – The iPad 2 is still basically a stand-alone device, which won’t play nicely with anything else. Although there is now an adapter (sold separately) for replicating your iPad screen on your TV, that’s a nice-to-have, not a necessity. We want to connect cameras, storage devices, keyboards, CD drives – everything that we have been able to do with our laptops for the last 5 years.

• No 4G capability – Additional processing power is one thing but the real problem for smartphones and tablets is data transfer speed, and there they are at the mercy of the networks. With both Apple’s carriers of choice, AT&T and Verizon, rapidly gearing up for a switch to 4G, why would you want to be stuck with a 3G device for the next two years or more? Unlike Motorola’s Xoom, there are no plans to upgrade the iPad 2 once 4G becomes more widely available.

Speaking of the Xoom, a number of tech sites have published head-to-head comparisons of the new iPad and Motorola’s tablet offering. For perhaps the first time in recent memory, an Apple device clearly  comes off as second best. In terms of the screen and the overall number of features, it’s not even close.

If you’ve been waiting for the iPad 2 to finally jump on board the tablet express – or maybe upgrade your existing device – then it might be worth waiting a little while longer. Based on this latest version, the iPad 3 won’t be too far behind.

Comment by jaif14, posted 6/18/2011, 10:40 PM:

Although all what you have said is true, Apple will not use an sd or any other slot. That is last century. Everything will become wireless, and apple will lead the way with that belief.
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