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5 top features you want to see on a new Apple iPad

Expandable memory, a keyboard-cover combo, and stereo speakers all make the list

Published: October 21, 2013 11:30 AM

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Apple has sent out another mysterious invitation to journalists for a press event event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 22, provoking a flurry of rumors and debate about what new products are coming from the company. This time, we expect to hear about a next-generation iPad, among other related announcements. Here's what Consumer Reports Facebook fans would like to see on a new iPad:

1. Memory-card slot and other ports. A memory-card slot was the most-requested item. Other readers long for mini-HDMI and USB ports. But Apple is committed to elegant design and probably views memory-card slots and other ports as unattractive and even outdated, considering the company’s promotion of its own iCloud service. Also bear in mind you can add extra-cost plug-in dongles.

2. A keyboard-cover combo. The iPad is all about portability, so why force people to carry a separate keyboard? A cover with a thin, built-in keyboard is on the wish list of several readers. This wording on the inviation—"We still have a lot to cover"—could be a hint.

3. Stereo speakers. Sound is not a strong suit on most mobile devices. But the iPad, up to this point, even lacks stereo speakers (although the iPad mini does). It’s definitely time for Apple to up the ante when it comes to sound. On the other hand, the problem is easily correctible with a good pair of headphones if just one person is using the device.

4. Flash compatibility. Many readers want Apple to end its feud with Adobe and allow Flash videos to run on the iPad. Again, forget it. The company has considered Flash an outdated technology since the first iPad came out, and that's not going to change now. Besides, for better or worse, Adobe has stopped developing for mobile devices.

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5. The ability to switch to Mac OS. One reader had this clever suggestion: "Mate to a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and it automatically switches over to the Mac OS." I love that idea too, but the iPad would need a lot more memory (4GB) and at least 128GB of storage. And that would make for quite an expensive iPad, albeit a versatile one!

Here's what I predict Apple will tell us on Tuesday:

  • The iPad mini is getting the high-res Retina display.
  • The iPad is even thinner and lighter, and probably narrower, with less-sharp edges.
  • The processor on both models is faster, and both are getting better cameras.

But there's always room for a surprise.

Let's not forget the other announcements Apple might have up its sleeve. In particular, I'm expecting to hear lots more about the new Mac Pro desktop computer. Apple has a sneak preview on its site, but this would be the time for the company to reveal more details and announce an on-sale date.

The big event takes place on October 22, 10 a.m. PT. We'll be there, so check back with us for the news. Meanwhile, if you have items to add to our wishlist, join the conversation on Consumer Reports' Facebook page. Let Apple know what you want!

—Donna Tapellini

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