It’s been reported that Apple will make an iPad 2 announcement on March 2nd, giving us a few days to dream about what the next generation of iPads has in store for us.
(WIRED) — Apple will announce the iPad 2 next Wednesday, as made rather obvious by invites sent out to press this morning.
Apart from the new iPad, that means one thing: speculation. I’m not immune, so here’s my list of things I think will make it into an already capable machine. I have stuck to features, rather than things like CPU speed, as the internal specifics matter less than what they actually enable you to do.
Obvious, this one. We’re almost certain there will be a front-facing camera for FaceTime and other webchat applications, but I really don’t care. I’ll use that for Skype once in a while and that’s it. What I want is a decent rear-facing camera, like that in the iPhone (not the crippled piece of junk in the iPod Touch).
Why? Because it would be so useful, and not just for photography. Augmented reality, Instagram, scanning things, snapping photos and then drawing on top of them, the list goes on.
One of the things I took away from all the tablets I tried at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week was just how good a camera is on a big device. It seems like it would be awkward, but the big screen is great for composing and the size turns out not to matter at all.
The single iPad speaker isn’t bad, but for movies and music you really want something beefier, and preferably in stereo. The rumors point to at least one big speaker grille on the back of the iPad’s case. Currently I get around this with an assortment of Bluetooth speakers around my apartment, but I’d rather do without them.
SD card slot
This one would be purely for importing photos and video. Basically, it would be nothing more than a built-in camera connection kit.
The Apple’s Camera Connection Kit is great, but it is one more thing to lose and carry. I use my iPad more and more for processing photos (courtesy of Photogene and FX PhotoStudioHD), and until I can send direct from my camera via Eye-Fi, a slot is a lot more convenient than yet another dongle in my bag.
A better connector
The 30-pin dock connector is one of the worst things Apple has made (the other is “all mice it has ever created”). It is symmetrical, so it’s hard to put in the right way in bad light. It’s delicate (the cord breaks easily where it enters the plug) and worst of all, it’s huge. In fact, the iPod Nano is barely big enough for the connector slot.
The likeliest candidate for a replacement is Light Peak, or Apple’s rumored implementation of it, Thunderbolt, which might show up in this week’s new MacBook Pros. This could be a small port that could carry power and data of any kind.
That in itself would be good enough, but you know what I’d really like? A Thunderbolt data-cable with a MagSafe plug. That would be just about perfect.
The size and weight of the current iPad are just fine. Anyone who complains that a 1.5 pound sliver of aluminum and glass is too heavy needs to shut up and go join a gym. But it is slippery. I keep mine in Apple’s own case 24/7. This is partly to protect the screen, but mostly to stop me dropping it, especially when I’m walking on crutches with it tucked under my arm.
A little more friction on the back would help a lot. Perhaps a plastic rear, or just a grippy coating.
Bonus: The screen
This is a small request. I don’t want a retina display (or rather I do, but I don’t want the current penalties of price and battery life associated with it). All I want is a dimmer screen.
The brightness at the top end is fine, but even at its dimmest setting, the screen is too bright for using indoors at night. It’s true, I keep my apartment fairly dim (I call it “moody and romantic,” but you may call it “cheap”), but unless you keep your place lit up like an office, the screen glows a little too much.
Those are my requests. What about yours? Do you want a built in printer? A near-field communications chip to turn your iPad into the world’s biggest wallet? Or even a flashlight? Let us know your suggestions, as ever, in the comments.