Three generations in, Apple’s iPad is the best selling tablet of all time, with each subsequent refresh better than its predecessor. So, how does Apple improve the iPad in 2013 and beyond? We’ve got some initial suggestions before the rumor mill begins again.

Where We Are

Apple has sold close to 55 million iPads since the company’s very first tablet arrived in April 2010, with another 12 million in sales expected this quarter alone. In fact, just yesterday, Apple announced it had sold three million new iPads since it arrived on Friday, March 16. The new iPad includes a number of improvements that make it significantly better than its predecessor, the iPad 2. These incremental changes include a faster processor, the A5X, Retina display and a five-megapixel-iSight camera. In addition, the latest iPad includes 4G/LTE compatibility for AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers.

Looking Ahead

Capacity Increase

Changing the iPad’s size capacity is a must. In fact, we feel this is the most important update required going forward.

Since 2010, the iPad has come in three models – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. With word that many apps are growing in size thanks to the introduction of the new iPad’s Retina display, users have less space available for apps, photos and the like. In 2013, it is essential for Apple to change the models to reflect these changing requirements.

An incremental change would be for Apple to offer 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models. Better still, we’d suggest Apple shift to a 64GB, 128GB and 256GB model.

Of course, capacity and price go hand in hand. Apple has been committed to keeping the iPad’s prices the same with the entry-level model starting at $499. Customers would expect the same going forward.

The A6

A6

The next new iPad will almost certainly include an even faster processor, the A6, which should arrive first this fall on the next iPhone.

AMOLED, touch-feedback technology

Super AMOLED

Apple and Samsung are rumored to be prepping Super AMOLED screen technology for upcoming iDevices. If correct, this would mean better outdoor readability and improved battery life.

Touch-feedback technology could also arrive next year. This includes haptics, a tactile feedback technology that responds to normal vibrations in mobile devices, to provide feedback through your sense of touch.

Form Factor Change / New colors

Both the iPhone 4S and the new iPad look exactly the same as their predecessors. Most likely, that will change when Apple announces the company’s next generation iDevices.

For the iPad, this should mean a slimmer body that is also lighter.

Also, wouldn’t it be nice if Apple were to offer an iPad in a third or fourth color? Perhaps red or gray, or two toned?

Better Camera w/Flash

Camera

The new iPad includes a significantly improved camera versus the iPad 2. Of course, by 2013, the five-megapixel camera that comes with the latest model will need replaced. In this case, don’t be surprised if the next iPad model comes with an eight-megapixel camera or something even better.

In addition, while we’ve never thought of the iPad as a camera replacement, adding a flash to the next model would be nice too.

SD Card Slot

Next, many consumers would be thrilled seeing Apple add a SD card slot to a future iPad. While we don’t expect this, we can still dream.

The iPad “mini”

This brings us to the iPad “mini.” While Apple has been mum about whether it will offer a smaller iPad, we’re pretty confident this could happen, eventually anyway. With Amazon finding success with its Kindle Fire tablet, the time could soon come for Apple to go after those customers that want a tablet, but one that isn’t as large (or as costly) as the existing iPad.

Plus, remember that recent rumors suggest an iPad “mini” could arrive as early as this fall, with Samsung said to be already on board to provide key parts.

iOS

iOS 6

Much of what make iDevices popular and functional are yearly improvements to iOS.

For example, wouldn’t it be nice if Apple were to offer a Wi-Fi tethering solution between the iPhone and iPad that was free? Also, how about a way to split the screen so you can work on two apps at the same time? And yes, Siri on the iPad.

As terrific as the new iPad is, there is still room for improvement. Hopefully, some of the changes we’ve mentioned here will be incorporated into next year’s model.

So what changes do you want to see on the next iPad?