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

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otherwise beautiful aluminum rim. Apple should look for a way to fix this in the iPad 2. But if the company has learned anything from the iPhone 4 Antennagate fiasco (another form-over-function mistake) it won’t try to use the rim itself as an antenna.

6. A Dual-mode Display for Indoor/Outdoor Use.

Amazon scored a few PR points against Apple with this TV commercial dramatizing the fact that the reflective E Ink screen on its Kindle e-book reader actually gets easier to read in outdoor light, whereas the iPad’s transmissive LCD screen dims to a faded scrim. Of course, the Kindle screen doesn’t support color or video. But maybe this isn’t an either/or situation. San Bruno, CA-based Pixel Qi has developed a color dual-mode LCD screen, already used in the XO Laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, that’s both reflective and transmissive. Indoors, the screen looks like a regular LCD. Outdoors, with the backlight off, it looks sort of like a color Kindle. (And as a bonus, it draws 1/5 as much battery power in this mode.) Maybe Apple should give Pixel Qi a call.

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There’s one new iPad feature that many commentators have asked for, but doesn’t actually make sense to me: an iPad-sized Retina display. The iPhone 4’s Retina display is a truly remarkable piece of technology, squeezing 640×960 pixels into a 2-by-3-inch space, or 320 pixels per inch. But if you scaled that up to the size of the iPad’s 5.75-by-7.75-inch display, you’d have something like 1840×2480 pixels to work with, or nearly 5 megapixels, and that’s just ridiculous. It’s far more resolution than you need for HD video, and it’s more data than you can really stuff through today’s wireless pipes or store on today’s flash memory chips.

And there’s another addition that would be nice, but isn’t even worth asking for: the ability to run Flash video and animation on iOS devices. Apple doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to a truce with Adobe on this issue. And if Steve Jobs’ contention that Flash is a CPU-hog is true, then it doesn’t make sense to ask Apple to add more processing power to its mobile gadgets just so that Flash can eat it up.

So, there you have my wish list. Watch this space to see how many of my suggestions Apple actually adopts. I scored about 50 percent back in 2008-09 when I gave Amazon some unsolicited advice about how to improve the original Kindle, so I’m optimistic.

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

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