9 Things Apple Needs To Change With The iPad 3 Before I Buy One


Photo: AP

I got the original iPad about a month after it launched in 2010.I loved it. So much so that when the iPad 2 was announced less than a year later I didn’t feel the itch to upgrade.

Normally, I’m already posting my old iThing for sale on Craigslist before Apple’s announcement is even over. But the iPad felt so solid, I didn’t feel like it was worth the upgrade.

This year will be my two-year anniversary with the original iPad. It still runs great, even with demanding apps like the graphics-rich Infinity Blade II game.

But now that we’re within a month of the rumoured iPad 3 announcement, I’m starting feel that familiar itch again. While my iPad is still chugging along just fine, I know I’ll start to feel behind once the iPad 3 goes on sale.

Before I take the $500 plunge this spring, there are a few specific changes I’d like Apple to make.

The screen needs to play HD video

Even if the iPad 3 doesn't have a true Retina Display like the iPhone 4 and 4S, it still needs to be able to play HD video. A lot of Android tablets coming out this year are going to have 720p or 1080p HD displays. For example, Asus has plans to release a new version of its excellent Transformer Prime that can play full 1080p HD video. Hopefully Apple does the same with the iPad 3.

HD is important, but better resolution would be nice too

After two years, the resolution on the iPad feels stale compared to what other tablet manufacturers are coming out with. I know it's unlikely that Apple could pull off a cost-effective 10-inch Retina Display, but it would be great to have some kind of bump in resolution.

Make notifications better on the iPad, not just a copy of what's on the iPhone

One of my biggest gripes with iOS 5 on the iPad is the notifications system. It scales nicely on the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen, but looks extremely awkward on the iPad's large display. When you pull down the notifications centre on the iPad, it just kind of floats at the top instead of filling the entire screen like it does on the iPhone. The flip down bar that shows live notifications looks equally awkward.

Since Apple is expected to show off the latest version of iOS 5 when it unveils the iPad 3, I'm hoping for some changes to notifications. Perhaps it can try a system like the one on WebOS. Despite all the TouchPad's faults, I really did like how it handled notifications on a big screen.

A 128 GB model would make it easier to ditch your laptop

With so many movies, apps, TV shows, music, and now massive textbooks available for the iPad, having the option for 128 GB of storage would really help. Plus, if the iPad is destined to be the PC of the future, then you're going to need more than a measley 64 GB at max.

For a bit of perspective, MacBook Airs have options for 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB of storage.

The iPad 3 needs a speed boost

I've been using the Asus Transformer Prime instead of my iPad a lot lately. It's amazing how much of a difference the faster processor makes. The Transformer Prime has a quad-core processor that makes everything from swiping between home screens to 3D gaming faster and smoother. Now the iPad 3 needs to catch up and offer the same.

By the way, Apple will almost definitely add more processing power to the iPad 3. There are already rumours about a quad-core 'A6' chip.

A better FaceTime camera

Right now, the FaceTime camera on the iPad 2 is pretty weak. I'm not a big FaceTime user, so the front-facing camera didn't really factor in when I decided not to upgrade last year. But if Apple adds a HD FaceTime camera as rumours suggest, then it could change my mind.

Give me the option for a 4G model

At first I was hesitant to get an iPad with a data plan, but after testing out Verizon's excellent LTE network on several different Android phones, I'm hooked on the idea of a 4G iPad. I use my iPad out in the wild a lot, and Wi-Fi in public places can be really unreliable. (And unsafe.) LTE networks can be just as fast or faster than your home connection, making it a great backup.

Even if the iPad 3 looks like the iPad 2, I'm fine with the design

As an owner of the original iPad, anything Apple launches this year will surely be thinner and lighter than what I've been using for the last two years. Even if the iPad 3 is 1 mm thicker, as rumours suggest, I'll still be happy. I doubt I or anyone else will notice the change.

I have some problems with iOS, but those won't be addressed until later this year

iOS 5 is still relatively fresh, having just launched last fall. We probably won't get a glimpse at iOS 6 until late this spring or summer at best. In the meantime I still have a few gripes with iOS that I hope get addressed for my shiny new iPad 3. This is definitely worth a second story as we get closer to iOS 6, but in the meantime, here are some things I'd like to see fixed:

Better multitasking (Android still does this better), integration with Facebook and other social networks, integration with services like Dropbox and Evernote, and built-in turn by turn navigation.

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