Tablet buyers on the fence about iPad 2

Users hope the device will include a camera and modular storage

Apple on Wednesday is expected to announce its latest iPad, but buyers are on the fence about purchasing the device and hope it will be a major upgrade from the original iPad.

New tablet buyers are waiting for Apple to iron out kinks before buying an iPad, while some will make a purchase after weighing features in iPad 2 against tablets running Google's Android OS. Some iPad owners said they would be hesitant to buy a new iPad if the device was just a minor update.

The new iPad would be announced just under a year after Apple started taking orders for the original iPad, whose shipments totaled 14.79 million units by Dec. 25. Apple hasn't officially announced the features and specifications of iPad 2, but published reports state that the new device will include a dual-core processor and improved graphics capabilities. Some users hope the new iPad will support Adobe Flash, which is unlikely as Apple did not support the platform in the original iPad.

The original iPad was missing key elements such as a camera and an SD (Secure Digital) card slot, said Michael Vorel, founder of Vastplanet, an e-commerce and Internet marketing company.

Having not purchased the original iPad, Vorel is waiting to buy the iPad 2 with the hope that Apple includes the new features. He also hopes Apple makes the device lighter and faster.

"With all that in mind, it makes me very anxious to get one," Vorel said.

A forward-facing camera in the iPad 2 would be an appealing feature for Lorrie Jollimore, a graphic designer, Web developer and marketing executive who lives in Canada. But she is on the fence about buying an iPad 2, assuming it lacks Flash support.

"Initially when the iPad was launched the reason I didn't buy it was no support for Adobe Flash and no front camera. Since they won't be supporting Flash anytime soon, it would likely come down to better design [and] same or lower price," Jollimore said.

Jollimore is also considering tablets with the Android OS.

"I'd consider an Android tablet in a heartbeat if features [and] price were aligned," Jollimore said.

Motorola last month shipped a tablet called Xoom, which is the first one to be sold with Google's Android 3.0 operating system.

The iPad is an indispensable business tool for Raymond Dux Sy, the managing partner of Innovative-E, who uses the device as a presentation tool. He is looking to buy the new iPad and hopes for better remote management features.

"Currently there's not a good way for IT to remotely access these iPads for maintenance and support," Sy said.

Sy also hopes iPad 2 includes a camera so he can hold remote meetings.

The camera and extended storage capabilities are interesting features for John Dorer, president of Immigration Innovations, but it is not enough reason for him to upgrade from the first iPad, for which he forked out $US499.

"Let me wait and see what the [iPad 2] looks like and what the reviews are," Dorer said.

Usability is a bigger concern for Dorer over size and processing power of the device. The lack of Flash limits the capability to run video from certain websites, and he wants to be able to run multiple applications simultaneously on one screen. The purchase of the iPad 2 will likely come down to the features and price, Dorer said.

Price is also a concern for Kevin Paffrath, a Realtor and student at Ventura College in Ventura, California. Paffrath is happy with his iPad as it does most of the jobs he needs it for, such as presentations and college work. Features like a faster processor and thinner and lighter design are nice, but not enough reason to refresh the device.

"Unless the iPad 2 is revealed to have some sort of magnificent feature that I will truly be left longing for, the iPad 1 will suffice."

Paffrath's an avid Apple fan, and owns the iPhone 4, Macintosh computers, Apple TV and company stock.

"This is the first Apple release where I can truly say that I cannot think of any feature that would make me want to buy a new iPad, or a feature that was missing from the iPad 1," Paffrath said.

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Agam Shah

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