‘iPad3’: What do consumers want most?

In a recent survey, the Web site TechBargains asked its users what they want out of the next iPad. The answer? Speed, a better speaker and a USB port.

About 85 percent of the respondents said that getting a quad-core processor would be the most important thing in a new iPad, 82 percent said they wanted better audio components and an equal number of people said they wanted it to include a USB port.

Based on that data, is seems that people want the iPad to be their laptop.

It sounds like there’s a slight possibility that the tablet will get even closer to being a total laptop replacement, thanks (oddly enough) to Microsoft’s denial that the next iPad will have Microsoft Office in “the coming weeks.”

Spurred by a Tuesday story from The Daily that said a Microsoft employee had shown the iPad-only newspaper a working prototype of the suite, Microsoft denied the report with a statement and a tweet reading: “Great respect for The Daily but regrettably someone is giving them bad info, and that’ll be clear in the ‘coming weeks.’”

The Daily fired back with a second report Wednesday, saying that it did not fabricate or fake its images while ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley dissected Microsoft’s denial to point out that the company never said the project wasn’t in the works.

Tech blogger MG Siegler has the most interesting theory on why Microsoft went out of its way to say that The Daily was on the wrong track: he put forth the “random, wild guess” that Office for the iPad could be part of the tablet announcement expected from Apple in early March.

With the traction that Apple’s iPad has been gaining in the enterprise market, that would be a huge announcement, if it happened. In October, Apple executive Tim Cook said that 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies were testing or deploying iPads,

Regardless of what may come in the next tablet, nearly one-half of those surveyed by the Web site TechBargains say that they’re on board to buy Apple’s next iPad, sight unseen — or, to be more accurate, product unconfirmed. Even those who own other tablets, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire are eager to get their hands on Apple’s upcoming device.

While Apple has yet to actually admit to the existence of a next-generation iPad, 48 percent of those surveyed have said they will buy one; 22 percent said they plan to do so on the day the next iPad launches, whenever that may be.

Related stories:

Report: ‘iPad 3’ to have 8MP camera?

Report: ‘iPad 3’ coming March 7; Apple tests smaller screen

Reports say iPad may shrink, but what’s your ideal tablet size?

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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