Over the weekend a rumor did the rounds that Apple is planning to fit the second-generation iPad is a USB port.
Time for some rumorbusting.
As an iPad owner I'd like to see the next-generation iPad fitted with a USB port. It could be kinda useful. Imagine the possibilities?
But there's a problem. What kind of support would this USB port offer? I mean, full-blown operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux come with a whole raft of built-in drivers offering. And for stuff that doesn't have built-in support, users can install their own drivers. So many possibilities ...
But there's a problem right out of the gate. Adding a USB port will mean that iPad owners will expect to be able to connect anything and everything to their shiny new iPad, and when something doesn't work, they'll start pointing fingers as to why their particular USB device doesn't work.
See, Apple already offers a USB port or the iPad via the camera connection kit. officially, this is for cameras, but in reality it can be used for a variety of hardware, from keyboards to speakers. But this support is unofficial and unsupported. If you buy a camera connection kit and hook up something to it that doesn't work, and you try venting your spleen at Apple, tough. If Apple fits a USB port directly to the iPad, users would then be able to reasonably expect that said USB port to support ... well, everything, since it's a USB port.
Now, you might be thinking that if Apple adds a USB port to the iPad, then it's up to third-party hardware vendors to build drivers. But currently the iOS platform doesn't have the infrastructure to support drivers.
Yeah, sure, USB on the iPad is possible, even plausible. But as for the next iPad. I doubt it.