I’m still waiting for iPad 2

The iPad.  It’s amazing.  The first tablet that people are buying en masse and using and loving.  Apple nailed it.  For me, it’s still not quite there, but man it’s close.  Here’s a quick musing on why it’s so successful and why I’m still waiting. 

More and more, I find myself thinking, “Man, it’d be cool to have an iPad.”  Three million people are buying these things for a reason.  Yes, it’s sexy.  Yes, it’s cool.  But it’s more than that: it’s, surprise!, actually useful.  People actually want a niche between a smartphone and a computer.

Our phones have become our mobile computing center.  You can quickly check text, email, update Facebook, tweet, take pictures, create calendar invites, all from the palm of your hand.  But there are things that we do, for which we simply need a larger screen.  So we use our computers.  Right?

Well, we use our computers for now.  But I’d hazard a guess and say that, outside of a work environment, 75% of people (myself included) don’t use their computer’s full capability.  (I like the idea of a powerhouse machine.  But when have I last really pushed my Intel Core 2 Duo processeor?)  And most of us know that we don’t use a computer to the max.  And we’d rather spend our money on something simpler, which still lets us do the things we want to use a computer for.  Enter iPad.

In my February post, entitled “iPad? Not Yet”, I said:

But, is [the iPad] really a 2013 computer in 2010?  I don’t know.  Here’s what I don’t get: What am I going to use it for?  (Yes, I know what I could use it for.)  But what is it going to accomplish for me that my MacBook Pro or my iPhone won’t?

The answer: It’s not going to accomplish anything that my MacBook Pro won’t.  It’s actually going to accomplish most things my MacBook Pro will — but simpler.

The iPad, in many ways, really is a 2013 computer in 2010.  No, don’t get all up in arms, the tablet won’t replace personal computers.  The laptop didn’t entirely replace the desktop; it just made them less relevant.  (Who was the last person you know that got a desktop?)  We want to be mobile.  The tablet – the iPad – takes that mobility a step further.  It’s the viable replacement for 90% of what I do on my MacBook Pro.  When I want to get a new computer, I’ll seriously consider simply getting an iPad as an more up-to-date extension of my current computer.

But, as good as the iPad is, I’m still going to wait.  (Yes, really.  Though if someone gives me an iPad, I’ll gleefully accept.)  I refuse to be an early adopter on this, because of a simple premise.  The iPad is the first ever successful tablet.  Imagine what the second one will be like.  Partially to convince myself to still wait, I did exactly that: some imagining.

15 things my perfect iPad 2 would have…

  1. The iPhone 4’s Retina display. I like using my iPhone for browsing more than my computer simply because of how crisp it looks.  Put the Retina Display on an iPad and I’d probably never look at a normal computer screen again.
  2. A front camera.  With FaceTime. You know this is coming.  It’s a given.  Apple just saved the unveiling of Facetime for iPhone 4.
  3. Multi-tasking. Oh, shush. I know it’s coming to iPad as soon as next month.  But I still wouldn’t be able to go back to an iOs without multi-tasking after using iPhone 4.
  4. The ability to print. Seriously, this is a drawback.  How can you have a content creation device that doesn’t print?
  5. Wireless HD video output. I don’t know how this would even be feasible, but damn it would be cool.  At the very least — and more reasonable — wired 1080p output.
  6. A 16:9 aspect ratio. Maybe it was a design thing, but it would be awesome if videos took up the whole screen.
  7. TV Tuner.  It’d be pretty nifty to have a TV app that lets me watch terrestrial HDTV?  I would still use Hulu and Netflix for cable shows.  But I feel that the lossy nature of terrestrial television broadcast isn’t polished enough for Apple.
  8. Some sort of built-in “My Documents” system. I would love to be able to simply have an iOS-default app that stores all my documents that I would create in iWork.
  9. Microsoft Office.  Work with Microsoft on this.  This would be a killer entrance into enterprise.  iWork is good, but a fully compatible MS Office in the App Store would make quite an impression on business folk.
  10. GPS.  I know the 3G models have Assisted GPS.  But how about the real thing?
  11. More storage.  64GB of flash-based memory is a lot.  But I have over 100GB of media & documents on my computer.  More please!
  12. Standalone capability. Right now the iPad is, in functionality, giant iPod/iPhone.  You have to sync it to your computer.  It can’t actually replace a computer — it needs a mothership.  Change this, and you have a laptop killer.
  13. Included Camera and SD connectors. I know the design is simple and that it’s in the iPhone family.  But without including a USB port, Apple should simply make it easier – and free – to import into iPad without buying extra things!
  14. The ability to stand it up. For many uses, the iPad needs to be vertical.  I’m sure there’s a way to have a stand in the back that would be flush with the metal unless you pulled it out. (Imagine: a picture frame meets the battery removal mechanism of the unibody MacBook Pro.)
  15. A “One more thing”. Pull a surprise on us, Steve.  Blow iPad 1.0 out of the water.

The actual chances of me waiting for the new iPad – aka until April 2011 (which will be a year after iPad 1.0 launched) – were about 90% yesterday.  But then my dad bought an iPad today.  So now they’re down to 75%.  And falling…

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5 responses to “I’m still waiting for iPad 2

  1. Flash, wireless tethering with iphone so I don’t have to buy the 3g version

  2. I can totally understand the allure of the iPad, especially when you know someone who has one, and you get fifteen minutes at a time to play with it, but it’s not yours, so you can’t install your own apps or configure it the way you want. I would credit that allure for a sizable chunk of sales so far.But in my experience, once you actually do have one, the allure quickly fades. Yes, it’s a handy way to check e-mail or the news, but you can do all of that on your phone. Want to actually write an e-mail? Good luck. The on-screen keyboard is almost as bad as the one on the iPhone, except that you feel dumber because you can’t even make the excuse that the buttons are too small. After trying to type something on the iPad and coming back to a real keyboard, you feel like you’re in hyper-drive.Also, you’d think it would be a great platform for browsing the web, but it’s pretty terrible. First of all, it’s remarkable how much of the web is Flash, especially the types of things that would seem like a natural fit for a device this size. Games, video sites, web applications all run on Flash. You can now watch Hulu through the Hulu Plus app, but that requires a $9.99/month invite-only subscription. YouTube built a cool new version of its site to be iPad friendly, but if you ever click on a YouTube link somewhere else on the web or in an e-mail, it brings you into the crappy built-in YouTube application instead.Aside from Flash, there’s a bunch of normal HTML stuff you would expect to work on the iPad that just doesn’t. Anything that uses drag-n-drop is out, which is a shame since copying-and-pasting is a nightmare (and it tries to do it for you all the time, whether you like it or not, if you accidentally hold your finger down too long or brush the screen in the wrong way). Scrolling gets really weird on sites with frames, because there aren’t any scroll bars. There are a lot of other weird inconsistencies.Also, multitasking between apps would be nice, but multitasking on the web (i.e. tabs) should be obvious. Most computer users these days are used to opening multiple pages at a time, and jumping between them. On the iPad, if you open a link in a new tab, you have to go to that page immediately, and just the graphical process of showing you that a new tab has opened takes several seconds. And every time you want to jump back, you add an additional few seconds.Finally, I really don’t think there’s much hope for using the iPad for serious creative or for business applications or for anything beyond doodles and games, because there’s no way to precisely control your input. With a mouse, you get pixel-perfect control, but your finger is really clumsy by itself. And even if someone could figure out a way to translate finger movements into more precise inputs, you can’t install system-wide applications or add-ons, because each application has to play inside of its own little sandbox.Oh, and there’s other annoying quirks that may or may not be product defects. Apps, including Mobile Safari, crash on a fairly regular basis. For some reason, our iPad loses the Wifi connection constantly, and then keeps asking you to put in the same password over and over again. Could just be the fact that it’s the first generation, but it’s annoying.And to your point of needing a stand, there are indeed a lot of situations where you don’t really want to hold it up. So it helps to have a stand. Or a base. Or a base with a keyboard. And a trackpad. And a full OS. Oh wait…So in the end, at least wait until version 2 comes out. By then, there might even be some competitive products out there with which to compare it.

  3. In regards to point #8. Get “Drop Box” A free application for your iPhone (yes even us cavemen that still have the 3G) that allows you to upload documents to a server, that can then be pulled to any of your devices. You can even create folders to share with friends and family. Have a document you want to share with your family in Bora Bora? Upload it, and they can grab it at their own convenience. (Refer your friends and get and additional 250 MB for each one that joins.)

  4. Wow Alex! You make iPad sound so lackluster. I will be really interested to see how my dad likes his; he’s definitely no fanboy and is very critical. May be worth another post in a month or so letting everyone know his thoughts. And, Robert — thanks for the heads up. I pass along the word and will have to get that on my own iPhone!

  5. Kieft! You tore the iPad a new one, heh. However, you forgot to mention that the new Tap Tap Revenge format is even more addictive than the iPhone variety.

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