2011's tablet line-up is more or less complete, and the rumour mill is already speculating about what Apple and others have lined up for 2012. But where is all of this heading? What technologies will power the tablets of 2013? Let's read the technological tea leaves.
Incredible battery life
Most current tablets are good for hours rather than days, but Texas Instruments and other chipmakers reckon that processors will continue to get more efficient and battery technology will continue to improve, delivering genuine all-day battery life in the tablets of 2013. That's "all day" as in "hammering your tablet all day", not "all day" as in "a bit of browsing, a few games of Angry Birds and a lot of sitting around in standby mode."
Incredibly hi-res displays
Apple's gorgeous Retina Display is coming to the iPad, possibly before the year is out, and it won't be long before today's tablet screens look horribly blocky. Samsung promises retina-style LCDs in 2013's tablets, and those LCDs won't just offer better resolution: they'll be significantly slimmer and more energy efficient too.
*It's in the iPhone and the iPod touch. It's just a matter of time before the Retina Display reaches the iPad.
Thinner, lighter tablets
Apple's MacBook Air shows where tablets are heading: ever-slimmer, ever-lighter enclosures tough enough to withstand everyday lumps and bumps but not so heavy you'll dislocate a shoulder carrying them around. Smaller, faster components mean thinner, lighter, faster tablets.
We've had single core tablet processors and now dual-core ones are commonplace. No prizes for guessing what's next.
Microsoft may be late to the tablet party, but its strong links with manufacturers mean we'll be inundated with Windows 8 tablets within two years.
Were you expecting 4G? In the UK at least, everything's 3G for the foreseeable future: pundits don't expect 4G mobile data to be widespread until at least 2015.
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