I’m now over a week into the iPad era, and I’ve figured out how to implement it into my work flow, which, as elegant as the iPad is, takes a little work.
But I’ve made a lot of progress. My current mobile toolbox consists of my iPad, an Incase iPad Travel Kit Plus, my iPhone, a small legal pad, one ink pen, some sticky notes and some business cards.
Overall, I think it is reasonable to believe that Apple has changed the portable computer game, the way it changed the mobile phone game. For the better, and forever.
But It Can Get Better
Much like the iPhone, we can expect the iPad to get even better over time.
Here are 5 things Apple could do that would make the iPad absolutely perfect. If these things were to happen, I would almost certainly never buy another laptop. I may not anyway, but here’s how Apple can seal the deal.
1. Add a Phone
You read that right, and I am serious. Now that I’m used to the iPad, working with my iPhone is very unfulfilling. In fact, other than making and taking calls, I hardly ever do it. Why not add a phone, at least as an option, so I could pair a bluetooth headset, and not have to tote my “iPad mini” around with me?
I would happily use my iPad as a phone. I take it with me most of the time anyway.
In the absence of this feature, we can take another route, via VOIP, once the 3G iPads come out later this month. And assuming Skype eventually assembles its widely disbursed ducks, takes advantage of the gift given by ATT and allows for calls over 3G.
2. Add Two Cameras
One on the back for photo taking, and one on the front for video chat.
I think this will happen, probably in the next iPad model (not counting the forthcoming 3G version). The need for two giant batteries to ensure the all-day battery life is an obstacle to new hardware features, but technology will make all of this possible.
In the absence of this feature, developers can create workarounds. I think Camera A&B is a neat idea, but if I have to do it the hard way, I’d actually prefer a bluetooth enabled hardware solution, that lets you take higher resolution photos and videos that get wirelessly transmitted to the iPad.
Paging Eye-Fi, maybe?
3. Add an Accessible File System
The biggest hassle with the iPad is the inability to move items to and from the hard drive, and to access, manipulate and save documents. This is a massive impediment to Apple’s enterprise aspirations. iPads need a better file system.
iPads, particularly my 64 GB model, have plenty of space for document management. With the emergence of the cloud, there’s no reason iPads can’t be document masters. Heck, I can already see anything I need via the most excellent SugarSync (sign up for an account through this link and I get some additional storage space). I just can’t easily manage documents.
This is a software issue that needs to be addressed in the OS. I don’t know if Apple has plans to do so, but it should be job number 1.
In the inexplicable absence of this feature, we’ll have to hope Google Docs continues to improve, and eventually gives us the ability to edit files from the iPad. Why hasn’t this already happened?
4. Add Three More Speakers
I almost never use headphones, but I love music. Which means I need two speakers on two sides of my iPad, so I can have stereo in both landscape and portrait modes. The sound and volume are acceptable now, so all we need is to make it come from more places.
Space, weight and price may be perceived as a problem, but some combination of technology and engineering should make this possible.
I’d pay double the current price for a more robust iPad. And it’s not like Apple is afraid to charge a lot for its hardware, right?
5. Add an SD Card Slot
I have decided I can live without a USB port, but I really want an SD card slot, to give me more storage space, and to help move documents back and forth. Of course, this requires a better file system, which may be why we don’t have it now.
And now for fantasy moment. How about tethering?
It doesn’t look like ATT is ever going to enable tethering via the iPhone (which is absurd on its face), so let’s go at it from the other direction. Apple should require that all carriers who want to sell 3G service for iPads throw tethering in the mix. Imagine an iPad with the five features described above, plus the ability to serve as a wireless hotspot for those instances where you have to use a laptop.
Five little things. Maybe six. That’s all I want.