Here Are Six Features Apple Should Include in the iPad 2 (And They’re Not the Ones You Think)

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type on my iPad, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But the secret, I’ve found, is that you have to watch where you’re typing. If you take your eyes off your fingers for one second, your hands are likely to slide off-target, creating gobbledygook on screen. Haptic feedback would help prevent this and make something like touch typing conceivable on the iPad.

2. Batteries that Recharge Faster.

Battery life isn’t an issue with the iPad—I regularly go two or three days between charges. That’s a pretty remarkable fact, when you think about how long we’ve been living with laptops that die after three or four hours of use. But if your iPad battery meter is in the red zone and you need to plug it in, you’d better be sure you aren’t going to need it for the next few hours—the recharge time on this puppy is loooong. (In tests of the iPad 3G, Gizmodo found that it took between 2.5 hours and 7.6 hours to reach an 80 percent charge, depending on the method used.) I know recharge time is a simple matter of physics: the bigger the batteries, the longer they take to recharge, and the iPad has two huge 3.75-volt Lithium-ion polymer jobs. But if Apple could figure out a way to speed this up—or to put smaller batteries into the iPad 2 without sacrificing battery life—that would be nifty.

3. I Don’t Care If It’s Thinner, But Make It Lighter, Please.

When I picked up an iPad for the first time, my first reaction was “This thing is sweet.” My second reaction was “This thing is heavy.” Those giant batteries, plus the thick slab of glass over the iPad’s display, contribute to an overall weight of 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg; the 3G model is 0.05 kg heavier). I like the fact that the iPad feels substantial—it would be pretty awful it felt bendy or plasticky. But it’s too heavy to hold in one hand for extended periods without muscle fatigue. Trimming half a pound would help enormously.

4. An Ergonomic Grip or Kickstand.

My parents got an iPad recently, and over the holidays I had a chance to watch them using it. My dad doesn’t like to grip the gadget from the side, as his thumb tends to stray into the touchscreen area, causing havoc. So he puts the iPad in the little kickstand my mom bought and holds that. But that’s precarious, because the kickstand is intended as a prop for the iPad on a table or desktop, not as a handle or grip; the iPad isn’t secured in it but merely rests through gravity, so it could fall out if he let it tip. (There are special iPad holders designed for what my dad was doing; I should probably get him one.) Anyway, all of this got me stewing again about Apple’s occasional tendency to favor form over function. I’ve said this before, but there’s something wrong when a company releases a handheld product that cannot be properly held without third-party accessories. The iPad is not an iPhone, and it can’t be gripped like one. The iPad 2 should either have some kind of built-in grip–maybe a rubberized section on the sides or back?—or a kickstand like the one on the Sprint EVO 4G. Or it should come with detachable accessories that accomplish the same thing.

5. A Camouflaged 3G Antenna.

Call me a perfectionist, but when I traded in my Wi-Fi iPad for a 3G model last summer, I winced at the way the 3G model’s black plastic antenna shield interrupts the … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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