Apple is expected to announce the second generation iPad early next year and there is a lot of buzz regarding new features and improvements, but will the new iPad meet your expectations? Let’s find out. Speculation about the second iPad is centered on the inclusion of a camera, a Retina display, additional memory, and a smaller form factor, of course all of this buzz is pure speculation as none of it has been confirmed by Apple, but most of the information is based on supplier leaks and other sources outside of Apple. With that in mind i would also like to add that some of the features mentioned below are also suggestions based on my experience with the iPad.
Ideally the iPad 2 should improve upon the first generation’s hardware, but also add new functionality to the software that will make the iPad the ultimate go-to device at home and in an office setting. Remember this is a compilation of rumors as well as a list of things based on my experience with the iPad that I think would make the iPad the ultimate tablet.
The new iPad is expected to boast a lot of hardware features found in competing tablets and the iPhone 4.
The most wished for feature is a front-facing camera that would enable the iPad to function as a FaceTime device, this means you can make video phone calls to other devices with similar functionality, even other Macs. The FaceTime feature has been widely popular with iPhone and iPod Touch users, bringing it to the iPad would bring FaceTime to millions of potential iPad buyers.
USB/Memory Card Reader
The second most wished for feature is the inclusion of a USB port and a memory card reader. Currently users who wish to upload or view images from their camera’s on their iPad rely on a dongle that attaches to the dock connector on the iPad and allows users to access and transfers those images to the iPad. This of course is a pain because it requires the purchase of yet another accessory and it is something that other tablets already include. The key decision for Apple will be whether or not to allow the memory card reader to be used as expandable memory that is accessible by other applications. If it’s just to read pictures off camera’s, well that’s an improvement, I guess.
The adoption by developers and the praise of Apple’s Retina display in the iPhone 4 is sure to bring the same display to the iPad, users expect the same level of detail and quality on the new iPads. This of course would require developers to update their applications with higher resolution images to match the display’s higher resolution.
There’s talk of the iPad being offered in two sizes, the 9.7-inch iPad we are all accustomed to and a 7-inch size that would bring the iPad closer in size to the Kindle and other eBook reader devices. There’s also a lot of debate among iPad users regarding display size, some like the larger screen which makes it a viewing pleasure while watching movies, others prefer the smaller form factor that can be held with one hand. I personally like the larger size for the screen, but the smaller size is appealing, I really like how I can wrap my hand around the Samsung Tab. It would be nice if the iPad were thinner and lighter, the current iPad weighs in at 1.5 lb. and it’s thickest point is .5 inches, a tad thinner would increase its appeal to those seeking the ultimate portabile machine.
Gyroscope à la iPhone 4
The first generation sports an accelerometer much like other iOS devices, however the iPhone 4 is the first with a three-axis gyroscope that opens the door to some fun games and applications that use this added sensor, rumor has it that the second generation iPad will also sport this new sensor.
So far it looks like there will be a few hardware upgrades that will make an upgrade to the second generation iPad worthwhile, but where Apple has the most opportunity is in the software, let’s look at some items that may make it into the next generation of the iPad or iOS5.
Software (iOS 5)
User-accessible Folder Structure
One of things that is really lacking in iOS 4 is the ability to access the systems folder structure, specifically documents, images, and other file types. For example if I wanted to upload a picture to a website from Safari, I cannot select an image by browsing to a directory on the iPad, instead I have to rely on an App that allows me to upload images to certain websites. Another example is file sharing among apps, rather than using a button from one app to open a file in another, I would love the ability to tap on File > Open or just give me a scaled down version of Finder.
Multiple User Accounts
I would lose count if I attempted to keep track of the number of emails that I receive asking if there is a way to have multiple users on one iPad. The answer of course is no. This is a big bummer for families who purchase the iPad hoping to share it for light email and internet usage. The biggest concern here is security and privacy, imagine handing your two-year old kid the iPad with the corporate email account tied to it…not a pretty sight. Issues like this and more can be resolved if Apple implemented a user login that would enable specific features, apps, and accounts for each individual.
Camera Roll Video Streaming
I think AirPlay is probably one of the best features introduced in the latest version of iOS, it is also one of the most used by my family to share pictures with the Apple TV, however one of its biggest shortcomings is that it does not support video playback of movies stored in the Camera Roll, in other words videos shot with your iPhone will not play stream with AirPlay, I hope that with the inclusion of a camera on the iPad this problem will be resolved.
Break the iTunes Ball & Chain
The tech world is embracing the cloud and Apple’s latest moves to revamp MobileMe signal that the company is also moving in that direction, but why not use this opportunity to build an infrastructure that will support iTunes-like syncing without the need of a computer for the iPad. This would break the requirement to own a computer in order to use an iPad.
As you can see there are a slew of new features that are expected in the second generation iPad, but there are also a lot of items that present an opportunity for the iPad to be an even better device. What are your expectations and what items would you like to see in the next generation iPad?