IPad – What’s Missing?

The iPad may very well be the gamer-changer for mobile technology in 2010, but no new tech-toy hits the street meeting everyone’s tastes. So, what’s missing from the iPad? After a thorough, hands-on examination it is clear that the iPad does just about everything it is billed to do, but there are some things that could have been included that were left out. What follows are the key features that could have been included and, with any luck, we may see in future incarnations. It is important to remember that the iPad is a designed as a mobile device, not a full productivity instrument designed to replace a laptop. Therefore, some of the things missing are those items sacrificed for mobility. There is no doubt that the iPad is more than capable of being anyone’s mobile computing workhorse. But what exactly would we have added? First, the most obvious item missing form the iPad is any type of USB port or SD card reader. Simple, immediate memory transfer for a device like this is crucial. It appears that Apple wanted the iPad to be more like the iPod in that it is “synced” with the owner’s computer rather than able to have files swapped via flash drive like a laptop. This goes along with the iPads “lesser productivity” design. If one wants files from a friend or colleague the simplest way is to swap via internet or email. However, that requires a mobile hot-spot (WiFi) or the 3G version (which we are not necessarily discussing here). The iPad does have a “camera connector kit”, but this was not available at launch. This does add the SD card reader to the iPad (at an additional $30), however, such a simple design could have been built in. Second, many iPad buyers have been overheard stating that they were purchasing the iPad instead of the Amazon Kindle or some other type of ebook reader. Since this appears to be a substantial part of the buying market it would serve the iBook Store (a division of Apple) to have provided buyers with a little market pricing competition. In other words, the iPad is missing a native bookstore with prices that are better than Amazon. Currently, Amazon has a much more diverse library of books which is not really a problem since iPad owners can download the Kindle Reader app and instantly have access to the entire Amazon Kindle collection. Again, while the iPad is not necessarily designed as a productivity tool, it would have been nice to have a native print function. Individuals do not just print what they create, they print any number of cool things they find while accessing the web. So why not have a built in print function to send items to a wireless printer or to your desk/laptop and then to a printer. There are apps available that can “work around” this function, but this is something that the iPad should have had “out -of-the-box.” Another thing often overheard from buyers (or would-be buyers) was storage capacity. The maximum memory on the iPad is 64G. Some have commented that the capacity should have be around the 160 mark. While more memory would be nice, where do you stop? An argument can be made about maxing the memory to a Tbyte or more. However, as the technology stands today, you would be sacrificing the slim design, weight, and portability. This item gets a mention only because it came up more than once in discussion. As it stands, the iPad at 64G is plenty for what it was designed to do. Lastly, for a company as reportedly “green” as Apple, one of the major things noticed by many buyers was the size of the packaging. The iPad really could have used a box half as thick as the one it shipped in. Apple could have fit three iPads in each one of these boxes with room (and cushion) to spare. Anyone who buys the iPad will notice the waste of space taken up by packaging that is serving no purpose. Half as much could have been used and the item would have shipped just as safely. What’s missing here is a little extra “green consciousness.” This list of items that the iPad is missing may have skipped over some of the common complaints like multitasking and “no camera,” but those things have been beat to death. The iPad may not be perfect but it is as close as one can get in the current mobile computing marketplace. As with any tech product, it will get better with each new version. At the current price tag, let’s hope the iPad “misses” any drastic upgrades for a while and doesn’t fall victim to Apple’s “every six month new version” the way the iPod did for a while. Let’s enjoy what we have and make sure each new version is worth it.