You’ve seen my lists of what I want to see on the next iPhone and in iOS 8, now I turn to the iPad. iPad Air is one of the most exciting products Apple launched last year. Hardware-wise, it perfected what was already a great tablet by making it faster, lighter and thinner. In fact, I liked it so much, I ditched my iPad mini. But it’s not perfect. Here’s what I want to see:
1. Multi-window Multitasking
One of the advantages of using an iPad over an iPhone is that there’s so much more screen real estate. This means developers can create great apps fully optimized for a 10-inch screen. For gaming, web browsing, video watching and content creation, this is a great advantage. But it’s not being used to its full potential.
We know iOS doesn’t really do multitasking in a way that traditional computers do. Multiple apps don’t run simultaneously. It’s not all terrible. A couple of years back, Apple introduced gestures to switch between apps using a three-finger swipe. But that still requires going back and forth between different programs. Not exactly the most intuitive and productive way to run multiple apps.
My issue, is that often when I’m typing up an article on the iPad, I’m also using something else as reference. Whether that be a video or another article online, I have to keep switching back and forth between my browser and note-taking app, whether that be Simplenote or Evernote. The solution to me seems clear: Allowing apps to take up a smaller portion of the screen. For instance, having Safari taking up 1/3rd of the landscape display, leaving the other 2/3rds open for creating my documents.
The thing is, Samsung’s managed to do a pretty good job of implementing it in phones with a much smaller display than the iPad. So, why not? It’s not like it doesn’t have enough power to cope, and its 64-bit processor should be more than capable to make it a smooth, frustration-free experience.
2. Higher Storage capacities
I have a 32GB iPad Air. A couple of years ago – before Retina displays – that was perfect. Now, it’s a hindrance. With a Comixology library approaching 1.5GB, and a couple of heavy games like FIFA 2014, Republique and GTA San Andreas, it leaves little room for other content. I’m delighted we finally have a 64Gb and 128GB models, but they’re so ridiculously expensive for an iPad. I suggest that 32GB should become the bare minimum, and have three options with 32, 64 and 128 at $499, $599 and $699.
3. “Enter” to send
A constant frustration to me when messaging – using apps like Hangouts for keeping in touch with friends and colleagues – is that I have to keep reaching for the “send” on-screen button. How is that even possible in 2013? It’s particularly annoying when using a third party physical keyboard case like Logitech’s Ultrathin or ZAGGKeys.
I think what baffles me most is that it’s not a problem on Mac – which doesn’t have a touch screen. I press enter when sending iMessages, or using Messages in Facebook, or Hangouts, and the message sends. With iPad? I get an extra line..
4. Stereo speakers that actually do what they should
iPad Air and iPad mini have stereo speakers. You could be forgiven for not noticing. They’re placed in the most ridiculous place possible: Either side of the Lightning port on the bottom edge of the iPad. I don’t necessarily mind that the sound comes from the bottom edge of my tablet, what I don’t get is why Apple bothered with stereo audio that doesn’t give you a stereo effect.
To me, the whole point of stereo is that you have audio coming from two distinct sources to give presence and direction to the sound. It makes the experience more immersive. Putting the two speakers in the same place on the bottom of a device defeats its purpose.
How Apple can change this isn’t the easiest to imagine. The company could go BoomSound and have one speaker on either end of the screen, in the frame; just like the HTC One. But that comes with a problem: What do you do with the home button? Do you get rid of it? Hardly likely. Or, do you extend the length of the tablet to add more space for the speakers? Again, not easy to imagine. Maybe placing a speaker on either end of the device, front facing, but placed in the corners away from the home button and FaceTime camera.
Who am I kidding? This isn’t going to happen. Speakers on the front would require speaker grille holes, and that’s just too ugly for Apple to even consider.
5. No rear camera
This isn’t a problem with the camera or the iPad itself. This is more about the countless people who stand at public events, concerts or sporting events and hold their iPads up in the air, taking pictures and videoing the whole time. It looks ridiculous. Not only that, the iPad is blocking the person’s view of the actual event.
Picture the scene: You’ve managed to get rare tickets to see Usain Bolt do his 100m final at the Olympics. Do you a) Stand there trying to record it on the iPad and end up with a terrible video, and having missed actually watching the race, or b) Sit and watch the race, and be able to tell your kids and grandkids that you were there when Usain Bolt break the world record?
I don’t know if people realize what they’re actually doing, but, they miss being part of the event, and enjoying it because they’re so busy capturing it and viewing it through their iPad’s screen. They may as well sit at home and watch professional footage from multiple angles.
An iPad without a rear camera would solve this problem.
What would you like to see in the next iPad? Is there anything more Apple could do?