The iPad has only been out for four full days, but in this world it’s never too early to start speculating about what features and functions should be on the next version. You know, the one that EVERYONE will want to buy, not just those of us in the “early adopter / Apple fanboy / IT media” space. (sidetrack: Is it weird that 300,000 iPads sold feels like not many because of all the hype?)
I think Apple will probably want to sell the current version of the iPad for a while, but once they start thinking about the version that will come out next year, here are my suggestions on what it should include, as well as the odds the feature will make it into the next device:
1) A video camera: I don’t need a camera for taking pictures or videos (that's what my iPhone and Flip are for), but I would like to have an integrated Webcam on the top of the iPad that could make iChat and Skype video phone calls. The portability of the iPad compared with notebooks would make video calls more enjoyable, especially in those calls when you have multiple people (like when my wife and kids want to talk with my brother and his family). Odds: 2-1.
2) A USB port: I know Apple isn’t big on putting ports and drives onto their devices, but one USB port would do a lot towards allowing for additional functionality on the iPad. A USB port would let you connect a keyboard (not just the Apple one) to make typing and content creation more feasible. A USB port would let you connect an external hard drive for quick data transfer and backup. Odds: 4-1.
3) USB 3.0 support: If Apple does decide to put a USB port on it, I hope they go with USB 3.0, which offers faster transfer speed of data, which will be helpful when we download and transfer even more video and music files to the device. Also, while you’re at it, Apple, fix the charging cable issue where the iPad can only recharge when it’s in sleep mode – I’d like to be able to synchronize with iTunes and recharge the iPad at the same time. Odds: 5-1 (depends on if they add a USB port).
4) A kickstand: When you are holding the iPad, you quickly realize that 1.5 pounds sounds light, but after a while of holding it you want to just set it down somewhere. Sure, there are a bunch of third-party iPad stands and other accessories that can help, but a kickstand like the one on a photo frame would solve that problem immediately. Imagine something that slides or pops out from the back of the device to let you set the iPad on the table in portrait or landscape mode, and you don’t have to adjust your legs or lap to get that right viewing position. Odds: 4-1 (depends on engineering and weight requirements, but I have faith that Apple could do it).
5) Flash support: I only mention this as a true "wish list" item, it would be nice to be able to view Web sites that use Flash, making for a true Web surfing experience. I know Apple will probably be able to bully convince Web sites to support HTML5, and this becomes a non-issue, but it’s really irritating from the end user standpoint. Odds: 600-1.
6) Increased storage capacity: On the high-end iPad models, 64GB of space seems like a lot, but if you really are into buying movies, TV shows, music and have lots of photos, this can run out quicker than you’d think. I figure that by next year, 128GB and maybe even 256GB flash memory will be on for the iPad, so it seems natural they would offer something in these capacities. Odds: 2-1.
7) VPN support: Like the iPhone before it, the second generation of the iPad should at least acknowledge the enterprise and some of its needs for secure access to enterprise data. A VPN client that could let a worker (or even IT guy) use the iPad in order to give quick access to a system (like to reset a server, update a Web site or some other short-term process) would be nice to have. Odds: 6-1 Update: A reader pointed me to the Apple iPad in Business area, which points out it does have VPN support. My bad - I assumed that the first product in the series wouldn't care about business. And in case someone points out that I'm left with 9 items on the list, I'll add LTE network support as my replacement wish.
8) A cleaning pad/cloth: I loved it when I opened my iPhone 3G and Apple had included a cloth that could quickly clear the glass screen from all of my fingerprints. The larger iPad screen only enhances the number of fingerprints on the display, and the increased interest in the iPad from my young children means more grubby fingerprints on the screen. Come on, Apple, spring for the cloth on the next version! Odds: 4-1 (would the cost really go up that much?)
9) Improved Wi-Fi antenna: There’s lots of early complaints from other iPad owners that the Wi-Fi antenna on the iPad isn’t as good as the ones on the iPhone, notebooks or even the iPad Touch. Some speculate the aluminum backing case is shielding some of the Wi-Fi signal. Fortunately I haven’t noticed a performance hit on my iPad with a weaker Wi-Fi signal (I also don’t live in a mansion, and I have an 802.11n router which covers me). But if they can’t fix this with a software update, Apple should fix this in hardware design for the next iPad. Odds: 3-1.
10) Multiple user accounts: The iPad is designed more as a sharing device than an iPod, iPod Touch or an iPhone. With increased usage from multiple people, it makes sense for Apple to include the ability for separate user accounts, so you don’t have to show clients the coloring book application that your kids like so much, or the romance novel that your wife downloaded. This could be a software update (maybe in the next iPhone OS upgrade?), so should be an easy fix for iPad 2.0. Odds: 3-1 (I’m not fully confident that Apple wants to provide this – they’d solve the issue by saying, “Just buy a separate iPad”).
Those are my 10 suggestions – what else would you like to see on the next iPad? Let me know!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
iPad Wish List: 10 Things I’d Like on iPad 2.0 | NetworkWorld.com Community