Now that iPhone 4 is official, it's clear where the iPad is gonna be heading. Steve Jobs even gave us a couple clues.
First, it's obvious that the next iPad will have a front-facing camera. Steve said that "Apple will ship tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year so there's going to be a lot of people to talk to." But wait, Steve! Isn't the iPhone 4 the only FaceTime device in existence?
This isn't confirmation that a new iPad with a front-facing camera will be coming by year's end - although with Apple you never know. But come next spring, a year from the iPad's launch, we'll certainly have an iPad with at least a front-facing camera on board.
iPhone 4's fancy new "Retina" high-density screen is sure to make the jump as well. Just imagine how crappy that otherwise very nice iPad screen is going to look in the Apple Store when compared to the insane density of the iPhone 4. That won't last for long. A beefed-up screen is practically guaranteed to make the jump into the next iPad.
With a little back-of-envelope maths, I figure that an iPad screen with the iPhone 4's pixel density would have a resolution of 2660x1774 pixels. Fantastic - and terribly unlikely. (It seems too much for even a faster version of the A4 processor to power, especially with iPad's low system memory.) But it doesn't rule out the possibility that a higher-density panel could be included that splits the difference.
Why weren't they included in the first generation? It's likely a bigger version of that Retina display was too costly - or simply not available at the time. (Apple surely commissioned the iPhone 4's LCD panel itself.) But no front facing camera seems like a bald ploy to make the 2nd generation more desirable or - at best - an attempt not to spoil what ended up becoming the "One More Thing" reveal for iPhone 4.
Because, really, what else are they going to add? More memory and a faster chip, probably, although the iPad isn't really begging for faster performance yet. With the multitasking that's coming in June with iOS4 the small amount of RAM on board will become even more noticeable, but just juicing up the memory doesn't seem worth buying a whole new tablet.
But add in a front-facing camera and a denser screen? I'm sure I can still get, like, $US100 for my first-gen iPad on eBay when that comes out, right??