In a few days we’re expecting to find out what will be under the hood of the iPad 2. The question is whether it will offer enough new stuff to encourage current iPad owners to dip into their pockets again. Or drag in even converts to the flock.
So what is expected to be different? The main addition seems to be the cameras. Front and rear facing cameras, if the rumours are to be believed.
This will be no real surprise. It was one of the main criticisms levelled at the original iPad, and it was a weakness that other vendors looking to rain on Apple’s parade jumped on. Cisco, for instance, in looking to attract the corporate crowd away from Apple, is going the whole hog with its Cius tablet offering teleconferencing.
So the camera was necessary, and will do a great deal to help the iPad become a genuine mobile work tool. I’m not so sure about the one that will potentially be on the back of the device, though. No one wants to use their iPad as a happy snap camera.
The screen resolution will also get bumped up. This is part of Apple’s typical strategy of incremental improvements (or, more accurately, the entire IT industry’s typical strategy). As someone who is quite happy with the current iPad screen resolution, an improvement will be nice, but hardly a deal-breaker. Likewise, we can probably expect increases in storage, additional wireless options, a more powerful chip under the hood, and a more stylish design. All nice additions, to be sure, but there are still some things I’d like to see before I will consider a new iPad model a genuine successor.
One is USB, or some kind of alternative. Connecting the iPad up with some things is clunky, and in other cases, requires an entire new (expensive) purchase. As somebody who does a lot of typing on the iPad, a keyboard became a necessity for me quickly, but despite already having two USB keyboards, I had to purchase a Bluetooth one.
Of course, that fits right in with Apple’s business strategy, and that’s why peripheral vendors, such as Belkin, love Apple, but from a consumer standpoint, it essentially amounts to asking us to purchase a bunch of stuff that you shouldn’t really have to.
More controversial is Flash. Here I give credit to Apple for sticking to its guns and not allowing what it considers an inefficient design. However, while Apple’s influence is working to reduce an industry dependence on Flash, it would still be nice for the vendor to officially allow some kind of workaround for those who want, or need Flash.
Finally, I’d like to see Apple use the iPad 2 as an excuse to make a small upgrade to the Apple App store. The iPhone has the wonderful ability for users to tap over to “recent releases” and see a (long) list of the newest apps released. The iPad doesn’t really have that. It’s easy enough to find the last 20 or so apps released within each category, and the top 100 sellers, but otherwise the only way to find things is by searching – which means its possible to miss some good apps.
That’s a small criticism, but for a vendor that has in recent times built a pedigree for putting usability first and foremost, the iPad App store is still a little to clunky for my liking.
I don’t think anyone is expecting the iPad 2 to be anything revolutionary, and Apple makes a habit of convincing people they badly want something that is only a minimal upgrade on the previous version, but come March 2, I’m not expecting much.