What the Generation 2 iPad should look like
I’ve been watching the feeds from folks who bought the initial wave of non-3G iPads (why you would get one of these without 3G is beyond me) and think we can come up with an initial list of things that folks will want in generation 2.
Let’s cover that today:
Better Wireless Connectivity
Folks have initially been having problems with Wi-Fi connectivity and my bet is with 3G they will have issues with both connectivity and bandwidth much like they did with the iPhone. Clearly the device favors a low cost service and the combination suggests, along with the current roll out of 4G, that the next iPad should have a reasonably priced 4G service.
It could be WiMax or LTE but it would need to be reasonably priced suggesting a clear plus would be iPhone tethering for the device so you wouldn’t have to subscribe to a redundant data service if you had both devices. So I’m thinking a Wi-Fi iPhone tethered configuration or a higher priced 4G device.
Different Screen & Page Turn Button
The Glare on the screen is pretty bad and most noticeable for reading. My buddy Steve Wildstrom does a nice comparison between his Kindle and iPad and points this out among other things. The iPad was released months before volume screens that are better for reading and still do multi-Media arrive in the iPad’s size and I would expect the iPad to move to them next generation. Page turning on the iPad, while it looks cool, is vastly more tiring than the button on the Kindle and I would expect Apple to think about a page turn button or screen tap gesture to address this. I’ll bet someone comes up with an app for this earlier.
Thin devices tend to have cooling problems and the iPad is apparently no different. The other are that is getting complaints is where the device is overheating and shutting down when used in the sun. Given the screen glares out in the sun I’m thinking that this doesn’t happen very often at the moment but I’m assuming the glare problem will be addressed with the next version so the heat problem will become more pronounced if cooling isn’t fixed.
Particularly when compared to the Kindle the iPad is heavy and you’ll notice it if you are using it as a book suggesting it desperately needs to go on a diet. This isn’t going to be easy because a lot of the weight is in the screen and if they go too light the device could become too fragile.
It may be that as this class of device becomes more common that we’ll become more accustomed to the weight and by moving to one of the new screen technologies they may be able to drop the weight considerably. But the next generation device needs to be lighter.
One of the most interesting videos is of a car installation and it showcases how well this device seems to work in a car. I’m thinking that the opportunity for this might cause Apple to rethink where it puts ports and how it designs the case of the product so that it can more easily be car mounted in the back of seats or on the dash. With the right screen this would be a kick ass GPS/entertainment/communications system for a car and go a long way towards helping people justify the purchase.
The speed in which demand dropped off for the iPad this week is indicative of a product that is priced too high for the market. The iPhone demonstrated the same pattern and the price for that device has fallen sharply initially and then version over version since. It is very likely that the iPad will get a pricing action before the Christmas sales ramp and then again when the next generation comes out.
Fixing the 10 Things that Suck
There is a comprehensive list of iPad problems (10 things that suck on the iPad) that will likely be largely fixed with software and might actually show up later on the existing iPad. But they will undoubtedly be addressed by the next version.
Of the list the inability to hover and HTML rendering issues are likely the most annoying and will get addressed first. I’m surprised they didn’t initially do stereo sound given the price of this thing but expect that will be in the next hardware and while it will likely never render Flash, it sure could deal with it a lot better.
Like it was with the iPhone I expect virtually 100% of the current iPad users will be first in line for the next version of the device because it will likely address the things that annoy them most. In the end I agree with this post that the iPad is currently like a vacation home, great to visit but you wouldn’t yet want to live there. But I also agree with Dave Winer’s longer post that what will make the iPad amazing will the way it changes you and that this change is just beginning. With version two that change is likely to accelerate.
Rob Enderle is one of the last Inquiry Analysts. Inquiry Analysts are paid to stay up to date on current events and identify trends and either explain the trends or make suggestions, tactical and strategic, on how to best take advantage of them. Currently he provides his services to most of the major technology and media companies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.