Really simple improvements we'd love to see in the next iPad
This is no pie-in-the-sky wishlist: Just a few improvements I'd like Apple to put into the iPad 3.
We're not sure why after five successive iPhone and two iPad releases that Apple hasn't been able to figure out how to integrate wireless induction charging into their devices.
After all, this is something that even Palm was able to do with their Touchstone technology in the original Palm Pre, and HP was able to do with the TouchPad.
Pulling that awful proprietary 30-pin connector in and out of the slim and slanted iPad case is utterly nerve-wracking and has so much potential for damaging the device. Why not just lay the iPad/iPhone on an induction charging mat or a stand after using it?
Look, how many of us have to travel with our iPads and other electronic items, except they all use different charger connectors? Short of magnetic induction, isn't it time to ditch the horrid 30-pin connector for good, especially since iCloud has now been introduced?
Apple has recently filed a patent for a magnetic quick-disconnect charger connector. While this would be a vast improvement over what exists today on both the iPhone and the iPad, wouldn't a standard Micro-USB connector for 2 watt chargers be sufficient?
Laugh all you want about the Samsung Galaxy Note, Styli have their uses, and plenty of people buy third-party styluses for their iPads. In fact, according to Jason Snell, Editorial Director of MacWorld, one of the publication's most popular articles is a roundup of 3rd-party styluses for iPad.
A more pressure-sensitive, higher resolution digitizer along with a product-optimized, Apple-branded stylus and iOS note-taking software would definitely allow the iPad to be more accessible to those who like to use pen input rather than their fingers, and would allow for some new and interesting stylus-based apps to make their way to the platform.
Look, we all love the iPad and the iPhone's space-age, sexy smooth look. But how many of you have had your iPhones and your iPads slip out of your hand because the products are so damn.... slippery?
There's a low tech solution to this problem, and all that's needed is for Apple to add contoured grooves or another kind of texture that adds some additional friction onto the back of the device, like Toshiba has done with their Thrive Android tablets. Sure, this problem could also be solved by 3rd-party cases, but some folks don't like to sacrifice the iPad's sleekness with having the device in a bulkier carrying case all the time.
Unlike Android, there's no way to globally increase the size of the fonts across all applications and screens in iOS, nor is there a way to "Theme" the UI color contrast level. Additionally, applications, especially the built-in ones, use fixed widget and UI element sizes. In the next version of iOS, it would be nice if Apple offered multiple widget sizes and pre-set color themes that could be used in the built-in apps as well as by 3rd-party developers.
Unlike Android, in iOS, there's no easy way for one application to share data with another. This may be by design in that Apple likely wants to sandbox communications between apps from a security perspective. But this also makes things difficult from an interoperability perspective.
One of the benefits Android has over iOS is the "Share" function, which allows applications which use that API to share data with each other. For example, holding down and selecting the URL area in the Android browser or clicking the "Overflow" button in Chrome for Android brings up a "share" dialog which allows the user to send that URL to another application, such as a Twitter client, Facebook, Google Plus, or email. To some extent, Apple implements this within its own apps, but doesn't allow 3rd-party programs to plug into it.
In addition to sandboxing applications from communicating with each other, applications are also sandboxed from sharing storage on iOS devices. This is why, for example, you can have DRM-free ePub files stored in iBooks, but you can't see those files in other ePub reader programs loaded onto the device, such as Stanza.
While sandboxing data between apps is a desirable thing for certain types of information, It would be nice if users had the ability to set aside a certain amount of storage on their iOS devices which applications could use to freely exchange data. Instead, many iOS users have had to resort to using 3rd-party services such as Dropbox to perform that function. It shouldn't have to be that way.
Apple has made some progress in this department by publishing a developer version of the iCloud API, which is roughly analogous to the S3 API used by Amazon. This will allow iOS and Mac OS X applications to store and synchronize data in iCloud, but it won't necessarily allow different iOS apps between vendors to share information with each other.