According to a report from Chinese-language Economy Daily News also published by Digitimes, industry sources are claiming these will be the five key features Apple will add to the next generation iPad:
- Video phone
- Better mobility
- USB port
- New display technology
- 3-axis gyroscope
Which, put simply, means: FaceTime camera, thinner and lighter device, a USB port, a Retina Display and same iPhone 4 gyroscope. Many reports have surfaced from "industry sources" close to Digitimes in the past, and with rumors of Apple ramping up production of the next generation iPad for a Q1 2011 launch it is possible that these rumors have a solid foudation.
It is widely believed that Apple is going to add a front-facing camera to the iPad 2: it just makes sense to them to bring FaceTime to the tablet and they should have done this with the first-gen iPad. As for "better mobility", it also makes sense that Apple is going to ship a lighter and thinner tablet, perhaps based on carbon fiber, perhaps built with a new glass and/or aluminum technology we don't know about yet. The gyroscope? Perfectly reasonable, too.
What makes me wonder is the speculation on Retina Display and a USB port. We said many times in the past that adding an iPhone 4-like Retina Display to the current iPad screen's resolution would force designers and developers (and users who take screenshots on the iPad) to deal with a huge resolution, way above 2000 pixels. So it's interesting to notice that Digitimes reports the Retina Display technology for iPad will "enhance image and color output performance", as if it'll be something aimed at providing better image and text quality, without increasing pixel resolution that much. Not to mention price component and availability. We'll see.
As for the USB port, Apple never implemented it on the iPhone and iPod, and I don't see why they should on the iPad 2. Does this rumor have anything to do with the fact that the European Commission will require any smartphone and data-enabled device to adopt standard micro-USB charging connector?