Pretty much like everyone else, I’ll start with cameras – two of them. One that faces the same way as the display, for use in video back-and-forth with other people. The usability of this is obvious, and the cost is low (if Apple can’t find a small, high performance video camera, they simply aren’t trying.)
But I’d also like to have a rear-facing camera for taking shots of the things around me while I can still see the display. This way, you can properly frame the pictures. This would be extremely useful for driving bookshelf, shopping, inventory and look-up software, such as Delicious Library, which keeps track of all your DVDs by looking up the UPC codes, or Red Laser, which gives you the high and low prices for anything you scan using the Internet to do the search.
I’d like to see an infrared emitter. This is a tiny little invisible light lamp that would let your iPad perform as a remote control for your entertainment system (and almost anything else that uses an IR remote.) Imagine using the iPad’s smoothly functioning touch surface to control all the devices you have; XBoxes, stereos, televisions, bluray players, Apple TV, Roku… the possibilities here are staggering, and all with nothing more than about 25 cents worth of hardware.
TV, AM and FM radio receivers, both old style and digital. You can get these on a single inexpensive chip these days, and it sure would be nice to be able to tune in to your local stations, especially in times of emergency, when the Internet and/or the phone system may be having problems.
Higher resolution display: The iPad has a nice display, however, the “retina” display on the iPhone 4 puts it to shame. We’ll take that resolution, please. That’d really make movies look better too, as the current iPad can’t quite reach 720p resolution.
How about chopping off all that black bezel, and then giving us a decent means to hold the iPad from the back, instead of the sides? One problem is that the iPad is heavy, and holding it from the side with one hand while you push on it with the other is really hard on the hand that’s doing the holding. If you were holding it from the rear, pushing up, while operating it with the other hand, which is pushing down with touch, this would be much better for your wrist and, especially if the holding device on the back is well designed, more secure. I envision such a mechanism as normally flat on the back of the iPad, but moving out a little bit when you grasp it so you can wrap your fingers around it. There are several additional benefits. One is that with your hand off the side, you’d no longer confuse the iPad’s touch system because one or more fingers had strayed onto the surface at the edge. Another is that the whole device would be a lot smaller, but with no loss of display area. Another is that your hold would be more stable for gaming, when things can get a little wild.
More RAM memory. I think we all want this; especially with iOS 4 on the iPad, things are getting a little tight. I’m seeing more apps freezing for lack of memory; right now, the fix is to reboot (hold the edge button down until the iPad asks to turn off) so that you get all your memory back, then these larger apps will run. Put a full GB in it, that will settle things down for a generation or so.
USB. Yeah, you can hack a USB connection in with a funky cable, but really, that’s not very convenient. I want a way to directly plug a flash drive into the iPad so I can use it as a music / movie / photo library. I also want the iPad to be able to talk directly to my DSLR camera!
Along those lines, it’d be nice to be able to plug in a simple memory card; Apple is really not playing fair with these exorbitant memory prices. I doubt we’ll get this one, but still, I’d like to see it. Compact flash, SD (mini, micro, whatever)… these are useful and inexpensive.
It’d be awesome if they’d build in a stand, too. That’s the one thing I need most often – just the ability to prop the iPad up at a reasonable angle for reading, viewing, etc. Sure, you can get aftermarket stands, but the thing is, you have to carry them everywhere separately, because you always need them… so I say, just build it in.
Wireless charging. Oooo, this would be fabulous. Instead of plugging the iPad in, just lay it on a mat. Less wear and tear, more convenient, never ruin a cable or connector because you forgot to unplug… that’s the way to go.
And while we’re at it, wireless sync: the iPad has all manner of RF connectivity, 10 megabit per second WiFi being the obvious candidate; considering that I’m constantly updating apps, and therefore constantly having to sync the device to keep it up to date, how about if (a) I didn’t have to plug it in and (b) if it does it automatically at night, while I’m sleeping? It’s all about convenience, isn’t it? So why am I still managing this by hand? At least give us the option.
Just one more thing: like phones, these on-screen keyboards are ok, but the best phones actually have a keyboard that slides out. Again, I doubt we’ll get this, but it sure would make life easier – this is one feature that would make me upgrade instantly. Just have it slide out. After all, most of the space inside there is either empty or battery. I’m sure they could pull it off. I mean, if the phone manufacturers can put an illuminated, sliding full keyboard on my el-cheapo LG phone (and they can, and they did!) then Apple could do it too.
Oh, and less expensive, of course!
Thanks for reading.