9 Comments

Summary:

The iPad is great, but it has problems Apple could fix in future releases. The unveiling of the next generation of iPad Mar. 2 is a perfect opportunity to see some of these dreams realized. Here’s what I’d love to see, from a business user’s perspective.

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Ten months into using it, I’m finding the iPad to be my preferred mobile working platform. When I leave the house these days, my iPad is what I take with me, not my MacBook. The only reason my MacBook makes the trip is if I’m going to play World of Warcraft, or I really need access to a local file storage.

It’s not all gumdrops and unicorn tears, though. There are some serious shortcomings I hope Apple fixes in future hardware and software releases, and the unveiling of the next generation of iPad Mar. 2 is a perfect opportunity to see some of these dreams realized. Here’s what I’d love to see, from a business user’s perspective.

Hardware

Matte Screen. It seems I always get stuck under a light when I’m typing on my iPad. The resulting glare is killer. I really hope Apple gives us a matte screen as an option. This will also make reading outdoors a whole lot easier, rendering Amazon’s Kindle ad campaign less potent.

Rear-facing Camera. It’s a given the next iPad will have a camera, most likely a front-facing one for FaceTime. However, for business uses, I’m a strong advocate of a rear-facing camera. While the iPad isn’t a good alternative to an iPhone as an out-and-about camera, when I’m in meetings or a lecture, I’d miss having the rear camera to integrate a picture of the whiteboard into my notes. Also, I can see the rear-facing camera as a huge boon to field service personnel.

Support for Bluetooth Remotes. This may be a software issue, but I’m hoping Apple allows me to use a Bluetooth remote when giving presentations with the iPad. Right now, the lack of any remote for iOS Keynote is a major downfall.

Pass-through Accessories. The VGA dock connector is great, but Apple needs to make a solution where I can use that and charge my iPad at the same time for when I’m giving presentations. I also tend to hook up my iPad to a monitor for watching videos, so being able to charge and watch is a definite necessity.

Software

Centralized Document Storage. The biggest problem I have with the current iPad is how hard it is to move data from one app to another in iOS. Plus, using iTunes to side-load a file into an app’s sandbox is cumbersome. My hope is Apple creates a Documents app similar to the Photos app. If you connect a USB storage device, it would ask if you want to import files (and allow you to choose which ones are imported), and it would make these files available to all applicable third-party apps. This will greatly improve interoperability.

Uploading in Mobile Safari. The second biggest problem is that Mobile Safari can’t upload files.This is a gigantic pain. It means I can’t use my iPad to upload files via my school’s Blackboard, insert inline pictures with WordPress’s web UI, send files using a corporate webmail client, or do just about anything else involving uploading from the web.

Better Bluetooth Control. I mentioned I want Bluetooth remote support, but overall, I need better control of my Bluetooth devices. For starters, the Bluetooth range is a little long — I’ve walked 50′ away from my keyboard and still had it paired. This is fantastic for a remote, but a pain when I need to type on the virtual keyboard. Unfortunately, the only “clean” way I’ve found to shut off the keyboard and not have to re-pair it is to shut off Bluetooth altogether. I’d like to be able to pause an attached device, or specify a smaller range.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with using my iPad as a mobile writing platform. It has its limitations, but I think the advantages outweigh the negatives. It’s lighter than my MacBook, it’s a wonderful device to read and surf on, and when I need to bang out some copy with a Bluetooth keyboard it’s fantastic. I’m going to be at a local four-day convention soon and I won’t be bringing my MacBook with me; everything I need to do, I can do on my iPad. Even still, improvements like these will go a long way towards removing some of the iPad’s limitations.

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  1. Good news! They are actually putting an anti-glare screen that you can use outdoors in the sunlight, like the Kindle. Hope that helps! =)

  2. Why not just buy an Android tablet and stop wishing.

    1. Hm…my friends use to say the same things to me about windows…now my windows friends are all buying Macs…the reasons are the same as why folks will continue to buy iOS. It just works, if there is a problem, hardware or software, you know who to call or there is an apple store nearby, all my devices work together (yes they are all Apple) and I generally spend very, very little time having to think about any of it.

      Don’t worry, you don’t have to justify yourself. The market is big enough. Just remember this: why does Google support Android when they make no money on the software itself ? Well, they are selling something, right ? That something is you. You are the commodity that Google is selling to their real customers…the advertisers…that is why every android device is more than happy to hand over all your personal information, including your current location to anyone of googles customers who ask for it…

  3. Wishful thinking: Light Peak/Thunderbolt on iPad 2.

    Just think about the significance of that statement.

    A tablet that will replace notebooks. Because now you have I/O up to 10 Gbps. Forget video pass through. That is kiddy stuff.

  4. Mark, a little research will reveal:

    1. Check out the 2Screens apps for iPad and iPhone for Bluetooth control of your presentations and much more.

    2. I use a non reflective overlay on my iPad. Colours less rich but compromise I am willing to live with for non reflection.

    3. Last thing you in mission critical presentations is the need for something else to plug into the iPad like power. 10 hour charge should be sufficient. Me, I’d love iPad via AppleTV wirelessly, thence to HDMI projector. At least a year away probably.

    4. Agree on file management. Wanted to download a music file to my djay app which uses iTunes playlists. No way. Would open in ever note and a variety of other apps, but not in iTunes. Grrrr. Probably apple relenting to music companies and their protection paranoia.

    1. A-In regards to “little research will show…” With this article I’m trying to stay as native as possible.

      1- Have been unhappy with any iPhone controller (I’ve used them on Keynote for OS X and had some issues with them connecting to the self-hosted WiFi network they seem to use. Also, now I’m draining the battery on two devices, thirdly, I just like the tactile feel of a physical remote. Looking down to make sure I’m hitting the right spot. That said, 2Screens does look good, but not as good as I think a real remote would be.

      2- I’ve used them on my iPhone and not liked the feel of them. Plus, I can never seem to get one without the bubbles. However, yes, this is something I’ll be looking into. That said, another “personal preference.”

      3- I’m not sure where you’re going with this, since “Mission Critical” and “no power source” are not often used in the same sentence. I’ll note that yeah, in a standard presentation the iPad battery will be fine, and I was more making a point about if you needed to show video on a screen for a while. However, Murphy’s Law will say *something* will drain the battery.

  5. I like the various suggestions, but “Centralized Document Storage” would be the “killer app”. Not being able to simply connect a USB drive directly to the iPad is its biggest weakness. Sandbox, via WiFi apps, etc. are just work-arounds to a simple concept that’s been embraced for years. Add that feature and the iPad will continue to be light-years ahead of all other tablets and netbooks.

  6. Chriet Titulaer Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Good point about the central file storage. We really need a more open way to work with documents before we can even consider the iPad a valid workstation.
    I think the whole sandboxing thing is where the iPad will fall short compared to other tablets that behave more like a real computer.
    Does Apple want the iPad to remain just a consumption device? Meant for playing games, watching movies and reading?

  7. Hope they fix the inconsistencies between Keynote 5 & Keynote for iPad.

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