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9 Things on the iPad 2 Wish List

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Let’s be clear; the iPad (s aapl) rocks. If it never changes, I’d still be happy with it. But since we’re at that point in the year when we’re offering offering predictions and hopes regarding what’s to come, here’s a list of must-have features in iPad 2.

Some things we can be fairly certain of. Storage capacities will increase while prices (particularly for the entry-level model) will decrease. Battery life will probably improve, and the iPad chassis may well get even thinner (more on that later). A new talking-heads video will also be streamed from Apple’s website, featuring an ever-increasingly-earnest Jonny Ive declaring the iPad 2 is even more elegant and magical than its elegant, magical predecessor.

Magic is nice, but all users really care about are the feature and usability upgrades, and these are the ones that would most benefit the iPad 2.

Improved Display

I don’t mean a retina display, either. The resolution on the current iPad is just fine, thank you. Brighter, higher contrast, more colors and a wider viewing angle would be just swell.

Integrated SD Card Reader

MacBooks now have them, and the iPad seems a natural next candidate for a built-in SD card reader. The SD card reader Apple sells as part of its camera connection kit always seemed like an inelegant solution. (Its boxy white plastic lines look cheap next to the iPad’s aluminum shell.) Personally, I’d prefer to be able to beam photos from my DSLR to the iPad wirelessly, but a feature like that is even less likely to appear than an integrated reader.

A USB Port

I’m putting this here not because I genuinely want it, you understand, but because, apparently, everyone else does. Seriously, I’ve never wanted to connect anything to the iPad via USB. Nothing. Ever. I can see maybe wanting to plug a camera in directly instead of using its SD card, since it saves steps, but that’s about it. Feel free to illuminate me further on why a USB port on the iPad is a good idea in the comments.

Cameras and FaceTime

I’m not a fan of shaky-cam video calling, but I am a fan of devices that offer a complete audio/visual experience. FaceTime on iPhone 4 is stunning but a little gimmicky – on iPad it would be usable enough to make me want every chat to be a Facetime chat. More importantly, it would be like living in Star Trek, which would be cool.

iLife for iOS

Making iWork touch-friendly was an incredible achievement, and the quality and functionality of Pages, Numbers and Keynote on iPad just gets better and better with each update. Imagine, then, how toe-curlingly-awesome iLife could be on the iPad! Editing and sharing photos with a few swipes and finger-taps would be child’s play, while iMovie and Garage Band feel like they’ve been designed for touch since day one.

Thinner, Lighter, Stronger

I did promise I’d get to this one, and, if I’m really honest, I think this one is the most crucial upgrade Apple can make to iPad. Don’t get me wrong; the iPad is gorgeous. The iPad is practical. But the iPad is also heavy. If you don’t have a stand or empty lap available, cradling the thing in one arm soon starts to feel like hard work. I don’t doubt that Apple explored plastic versions of iPad (and perhaps, in keeping with the evolution of the iPhone, a plastic-bodied iPad is on the way) and I don’t deny that the current aluminum chassis provides for exceptional strength and rigidity. But so, too, could carbon fibre composite, without the arm-strain.

Side-Mounted Dock Connector

Speaks for itself, this one. A side-mounted dock connector won’t just make it possible to dock, sync and charge iPad in landscape orientation, but will also increase the range of design possibilities for third-party products. The problem, of course, is that it would mean yet another cavity in the otherwise unbroken lines of the device. I’m not sure Mr Jobs would tolerate that.

3G Radio As Standard

Since the second-generation iPhone, every iPhone has featured a 3G radio. That makes sense for a phone, but it also makes sense for a portable computer that relies heavily on cloud-based data to get things done. We don’t live in a Wi-Fi everywhere world (yet), so including a 3G chip as a standard feature of every model of iPad seems perfectly reasonable. Oh, and, I’d very much like it to be free 3G, too. Surely AT&T (s t) won’t have a problem with that, will they?

User Profiles

This is something that would never make sense on a device as small and personal as a cell phone. But despite what some people might say, the iPad is far more than an overgrown cell phone. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy an iPad for every member of my family. Until I can, password protected user profiles would make iPad sharing far less stressful; I wouldn’t have to worry about my five-year old godson accidentally mucking-up my calendar entries, or deleting emails… while my partner could play games without wiping out my top-scores. I’m sure Apple would prefer we all just buy an iPad each, but that’s not likely to happen any day soon, unless prices come way, way down.

So there you have a few humble suggestions for iPad 2. I honestly struggled to find areas needing improvement, and consider that an indicator of the attention to detail Apple paid the first time around. I’d love to know what you think needs to improve, but as you leave your suggestions in the comments, here’s a challenge to bear in mind; avoid suggesting changes to the iOS software unless they’re game-changers for the iPad alone.

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32 Responses to “9 Things on the iPad 2 Wish List”

  1. Kit watson

    In regards to the dock connectors creating broken lines, perhaps retractible covers for the openings so that when it’s not plugged in there’s little indication of an opening but when you go to plug it in the cover automatically retracts

  2. Good article

    Read this:

    iPad 2 high res screen is #1 in my book, but I understand why it won’t have one. Phooey tho… I prefer to get an adapter for things like USB and SD. That’s two fewer ports for dust to enter the device. I honestly don’t understand HDMI ports. That’s the LAST thing i want on this device. Ever hear of AirPlay? Problem solved.

    Facetime and GPS in wifi-only would be good. 16GB would be enough for me so I hope they make it cheaper. I know I’m in a minority tho.

    I can’t wait to see what apple does with the looks of the iPad 2. Personally, I think the best looking tablet is the WebOS tablet with the iPad coming in a close second.

    I hope they remove the home button or do something like that.

  3. David Blaney

    Am I the only person that thinks iPod/iPhone connectivity is absolutely 100% the most basic thing missing from the ipad? If the ipad is to ever kill off netbooks and even windows laptops it must allow connectivity with other idevices WITHOUT the need for a pc/mac. you need a decent machine with a big screen and keyboard? = MacBook / MacBook pro. However, what about those that want a smaller device for leisurely Internet and email but who also own an iPod/ iPhone and would like to update/sync whenever necessary. I believe this would kill off netbooks full stop. Never mind flash or SD slots or cameras, current lack of idevice connectivity is a massive flaw. Also, remote updates. Netbooks don’t need them, so ipad shouldn’t either. Apple can do both it just depends on whether they want to

  4. I think the user profiles is a real obvious one, but I was thinking about it the other day. Presumably there’s going to be an issue there regarding user accounts and iTunes accounts. I mean if you sync your iPad to your iTunes account, and you have multiple user accounts, then where does your wife’s iTunes data go? What if she wants to have her own iTunes account with all her own apps etc, but on the same iPad? How would that work. Would it only sync the account that’s currently logged on?

    I completely agree that it’s needed on an iPad in a way that it definitely isn’t on an iPhone, but I suspect the ins and outs of it are a lot trickier than we suspect.

  5. No need for an SD card slot. If I understand the flucard (yes weird name I know) correctly. The flucard is an SD card that will sit in your SD card slot, for example in your camera. It can store photos you take and then stream them by wi fi to a wifi enabled device, for example your ipad. Voila, no need for an SD slot in the ipad.

    The flu card is by the guy who originally designed the thumbdrive, check out:

  6. I know its more ios than ipad, but i think what is really missing especially on ipad is multiuser-functionality (different user-accounts) – what should go along with this is an updates license-functionality for apps. There should be beside the normal single-user-license a “family”-license, so that apps purchased this way can be used be all the user of the ipad.

    family-licenses would be great, when your having account for wife, kids etc. and some apps are used be all of them, so that you dont need to buy them 4 times.

    so long – merry christmas to the apple-blog team an all of the readers

    Rico from Cologne, Germany

  7. I got an iPad Wi-Fi last week, and I love it for its simplicity and beauty. I’m a power computer user, but that’s what my MacBook Pro is for. The only improvements I care about:

    1. Built-in camera for Facetime.
    2. Lighter to make it more portable.
    3. Wireless docking (via Wi-Fi or BlueTooth).

  8. Lorie Ghamy

    Hamranhansenhansen is in the true way for his observations around iPad…

    The aluminium body is not heavy, only the 2 batteries are….

    I would like too a usb port and a sd card reader inside (SDXC compatible)…

    The two big wishes are :

    – A Pixel Qi screen for good outside pleasure… Like for some Notion Ink Adam Tablets
    – A tactil technology around capacitive and resistive for writing or drawing with good pen instead of stylus with a big rubber head… 

  9. Hamranhansenhansen

    > I don’t mean a retina display, either. The resolution on
    > the current iPad is just fine, thank you.

    Resolution is the only thing that could be improved.

    > Brighter,

    Do you really have the brightness on full and it’s not enough?

    > higher contrast,

    I don’t see any problem with the contrast.

    > more colors

    It already has the full range of human color perception.

    > and a wider viewing angle would be just swell.

    How could it be wider? You can look across it and it works perfectly.

    > Personally, I’d prefer to be able to beam photos
    > from my DSLR to the iPad wirelessly, but a feature
    > like that is even less likely to appear than an integrated
    > reader.

    That feature already exists.


    Air Sharing

    > USB

    The only reason I wanted this was MIDI, but iPad does MIDI-over-Wi-Fi now so I’m no longer interested. A full-size USB port would not fit, so a dock-to-USB cable is as good as a micro-USB cable anyway.

    > heavy

    It’s all batteries inside. Would you take 300 grams off and get 5 hours instead of 10?

    > carbon fiber

    Is even more opaque to radio waves than metal, and not as recyclable.

    > arm-strain

    Honestly, if a 700 gram iPad is challenging your biceps, you need more weight, not less:


    > 3G radio as standard

    About 35% of 3.5-inch iOS devices are iPod touch with no 3G radio. It is more important to have a 3.5-inch device at $229 and no monthly bill and a 10-inch device at $499 (possibly dropping to $399 or $349 this year) and no monthly bill than have 3G in all devices. An iPad fleet in a school needs cheap more than 3G, same with many other applications. Even with 3G, you can fall off-network regularly, so a Wi-Fi only iOS device is not crippled.

    My suggestions:

    • Retina display
    • iTunes LP support in the iPod app
    • iTunes visualizer in the iPod app
    • Audio Units support in the iPod app or systemwide (e.g. instantiate a 10-band EQ or dynamics compressor)
    • 24-bit audio support
    • iTunes Extras support in the Video app
    • iDVD updated so it makes iTunes Extras and “burns” to iPad and Web
    • unlimited 3G/4G plans from Apple (e.g. buy Sprint with 25% of cash on hand)
    • ability to tether 1 Mac and 1 iPod
    • tie-clip iPod shuffle brought back as Bluetooth audio adapter for any headphones and microphones
    • AirScan wireless Bonjour scanner support so we can scan paperwork and it appears in iBooks
    • iChat screen sharing with Macs including Back to My Mac
    • Time Capsule backups
    • text expansion so I can type SF and get San Francisco
    • all notifications going through the Settings/Notifications system so I can turn them all off (e.g. right now Calendar notifications can’t be turned off this way)
    • a way to tell Maps to speak to me in standard SI measurements even though I am in the United States
    • custom fonts, or at least add the rest from the Mac

  10. I agree with your list. If the do put a USB port on the Ipad, I am hoping it turns the ipad into a usb mass storage device and allows me to transfer files to and from the ipad. Dropbox and the like are very cool and I use them, but my employer is not happy having propietary info on a cloud server. This makes it hard for me to use work documents on an ipad.

    I have no need to connect usb devices to an ipad.

    • There are plenty of apps that allow you to transfer docs to your iPad via iTunes. I currently use Kobo, pdf-notes, and neu.Annotate PDF. iTunes will tell you which apps can send files to your device, and it gives you an Add button to do that.

  11. Am I the only person who would like a 12 or 13″ iPad? Maybe it’s just my poor eyesight .. then again, I imagine there are a few hundred million older folks (with disposable income) who would probably agree with me!

    As is, it’s the perfect sized device for a woman or small man, not a regular sized guy with regular hands.

  12. From audio dev perspective the two things we are hoping for are more RAM and a faster processor. I am worried a retina display would encroach on processing power we would rather use for DSP.

    USB port would be nice to connect MIDI controllers, pro audio interfaces etc. without the camera connection kit kludge.

  13. How about less expensive? I know that goes against every fibre of Jobs’ being, but really, for something that is not a stand-alone device with limited connectivity, a little price reality check would be welcome. And it would encourage even more buyers.

    As for the USB (see limited connectivity above), it would be swell to have the capability to be able to link up to peripherals one might have, say, at home or find ‘on the road’ – without need of a real computer to do it. Not all printers, scanners or portable HDDs have wireless/bluetooth capabilities….

  14. Hi I live in australia! And i cant wait for the ipad 2. why get an ipad now when the ipad 2 comes in like 3 months? basically i would like what you said but this is what i want
    iWork and iLife compatible for mac osx and windows 7 (my school computers)
    A usb port to connect it with your usb, your hard drive, your computer, even who knows maybe your TV or Wii!
    A fresher, user interface I really enjoy ios’s interface the most out of all the mobile software but for the iPad i would like maybe a mac form of dock of course with downloadable backgrounds, lock screens, courtesy of the wonderful app store free.
    A better gaming experience, 3 axis gyro scope, and maybe 3d games.
    3D non glasses viewing technology . I have heard rumors and reports leaked from Apple, and also manafacturers from Asia that Apple has ordered this sort of technology for use with an iPad 2 and iPhone 5, complete with leaked prototypes and vids.
    I would like to watch 3d movies and play cool games and apps using that 3d concept yay!
    I would like them to square it out a bit more, i like the aliminium backing on the previous model but to square it out like the iphone 4 would be nice. It would be nice if they used the iPhone 4 backing as well. And of course better ways of carrying it around, durability, sleek design. Ad a nice case.
    As 4 display well retina is something unrealistic – it would cost $1000 bucks for a retina display of just the iPad screen! So as long as it uses a high quality display I’m fine.

    Also for networking, like a GPS application, Street View for the Maps Application is a biggie too! Faster wifi, I personally don’t want 3G or even the 4G network. I have home wireless and a pocket wifi so that’ll make things cheaper and better.
    Lastly, and most importantly , an affordable price, something around $400-$700 AUD and even thats a big price to pay. In Australia things come out like 1-2 months after something has been released in the US, so once the iPad 2 is out , i am so trying to be the first in my school or even sydney, or australia! to get it! even if it takes ordering something before it is released in Australia in apple shops coz i dont want to beat the nerds in a rat race for the front of the line! :D.I would like to do all that with myiPad an have that imagine lying on the beach in summer come in from the waves on to your towel then get out your iPad 2 and the waterproof case even :D and while your relaxing in the beach you can just play on your iPad, that’d be cool coz i live near the beach ! :D.
    So yeah thats No1 on my birthday wishlist followed by a puppy! and if you could get like free 50 buck itunes then well what a bonus :D!
    Thanks for reading! And please mr jobs announce it soon ! :D

  15. All those software related wishlist (user profile, iLife…) won’t come until iOS 5.

    I would like to see better multitasking on the iPad. Current iOS multitasking works well on the iPhone and iPod Touch but a lot of wasted space for the iPad. I’d like to see more of a true multitasking. webOS has an excellent multitasking implementation for a mobile device. Playbook’s multitasking is good.

    Higher resolution definitely but Retina Display on the iPad is overreaching. Not sure how they’ll pull it off without consuming a lot of power and draining the battery quickly.

  16. One man’s “screen is just fine” is another man’s reason not to buy the iPad… 128PPI? Insert retching sound here. It desperately needs a higher resolution, preferrably 300+ PPI.

  17. How about the ability to use the iPhone as a wireless gateway for the iPad. That would negate the need to have a 3G iPad and pay for an extra 3G connection. This can be done now but requires a jail broken iPhone. Would be nice if apple didn’t cripple their devices in the name of making a few extra bucks.

  18. Canvas Jones III

    How about Steve swallowing his pride and give the people a nice 7-inch iPad 2 and for the HD peeps a larger native 1080p 16:9 aspect ratio edition. Now that be mo money in the bank. You can do this Mister Jobs !!!

    Also HDMI port, USB3 mini port and quad-core ARM processor running at 2Ghz and 1GB RAM (punks Tegra 3 chip silly) would be nice additions.

  19. Rubbish, improved resolution is a must. If not a retina display the IPad 2 must have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 in order to appreciate full HD videos and photos in better quality.
    Along with browsing the web these are the things I MOST appreciate on the IPad

  20. Michael Emery

    Don’t need a higher resolution display? Then you speak for yourself on that matter. I’m not holding my breath for retina resolution of iPhone 4, but wouldn’t that be perfect.

    As for 3G in all iPads, I’d love to see that for two reasons. It would reduce the cost of a 3G iPad (due to economies of scale of reduced stock complexity), but MOST importantly, no one would make the mistake of buying wifi only when they really needed 3G. I hate seeing that kind of disappointment from fellow iDevice owners.

    You can keep your extra sockets and holes.

  21. drumrobot

    Nice list, but the 3G one seemed to be the most far-fetched.
    The reason that there’s been 3G in every iPhone… is that it’s a phone. People expect wireless connectivity in a smartphone; a WiFi-only smartphone wouldn’t make sense. {Yes, I know that there’s Edge and whatnot, but that’s not really the point}
    Considering that free 3G will never happen on the iPad (it might work for the Kindle, but the iPad’s everyday usage is much more data-intensive), and not everyone wants to pay for a data plan, one can safely say that 3G connectivity will never be a standard on the iPad.

  22. “The problem, of course, is that it would mean yet another cavity in the otherwise unbroken lines of the device. I’m not sure Mr Jobs would tolerate that.”

    Your intuition is correct. Therefore, we are going to get zero or one of (i) SD card reader, (ii) USB port, and (iii) side connector. I think SD card reader is most likely but would put the odds at no more than 40%.

    “I’m not a fan of shaky-cam video calling, but I am a fan of devices that offer a complete audio/visual experience.”

    I suspect Mr. Jobs concurs. I don’t know if we will see a back-facing camera, however, because Mr. Jobs might think it would look too goofy to have people holding up their iPads to take pictures.

    “I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy an iPad for every member of my family.”

    I suspect Mr. Jobs would suggest you apply yourself more diligently to your employment. That, or buy some scratch-offs.

    * * *

    I would add: if there are Wifi-only versions of the iPad 2, they should have the GPS chip. I understand that the Wifi-only version of the iPad 1 does not have this, which is ridiculous — there are lots of places you can go outside your house that have Wifi.