One of the things that has bugged me about Apple’s flagship tablet since the first iPad arrived in 2010 has been the device’s lack of stereo speakers. While this was okay many iPad versions ago, it has become increasingly unacceptable. This is especially true given what the competition has done with tablet speakers, as has Apple with the iPad mini.

The $199 Kindle Fire HD includes dual-driver stereo speakers that include Dolby Digital Plus technology. And yes, users can experience this with or without a headset. Barnes and Noble, which isn’t exactly a tablet market leader, also includes dual speakers on the Nook HD and Nook HD+.

The Kindle Fire HD Has Dual Speakers

The Kindle Fire HD Has Dual Speakers

When the iPad mini and iPad with Retina display were first announced in October, Apple failed to mention that the smaller tablet had, in fact, dual speakers. Of course, this might have been deliberate. After all, Apple couldn’t have reasonably justified a dual speaker on a $329 iPad mini, while omitting it on the $499 iPad.

The iPad with Retina display: One Speaker

The iPad with Retina display: One Speaker

The iPad mini: Dual Speakers

The iPad mini: Dual Speakers

Regrettably, we have heard very little about the likelihood that the next iPad will include better speakers. In fact, much of the talk about the so-called iPad 5 has focused almost exclusively on the device’s likely new form factor.

The only report that has focused recently on the speaker system of the iPad 5 came in January from Los Angeles industry analyst Paul Mueller. He claimed that the next iPad will include stereo speakers. Beyond this, very little is known.

If Barnes & Noble Can Do It ...

If Barnes & Noble Can Do It …

Hopefully this claim will prove to be correct. Given that the iPad mini does have dual speakers, this is probably right. But until we hear from Apple, no one can be sure.

I’ve experienced the speaker system on both the Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini. And indeed, the sounds are much better on these less expensive tablets.

As usual, we’ll keep you updated.

Photo: Dual speakers on iPad mini