Today’s another “iPad 2” rumors day. With speculations of “iPad 2” parts suppliers revealed and blogs wondering whether the second version of Apple’s tablet will carry 3 additional USB ports, a second multi-touch screen and Steve Jobs’ fingerprints embedded in the device’s chassis, I thought I might just write what I really want from the “iPad 2”.
I want iteration. I want the same refining process Apple adopted with the iPhone. We know that Steve Jobs probably already had an “iPad 2” running Apple’s cloud service in the backstage of the iPad announcement in January, and I’m pretty sure even more units of the new model are connected right now to some WiFi router at Cupertino. Heck, maybe they even have an iPad 3 prototype hidden under some black cloth in their secret labs. But I just want to explain why I don’t want and need any of the features mentioned in the rumors, and why I don’t believe that stuff won’t happen anyway.
It’s simple: Apple slowly iterates. I have linked to this Gruber’s column so many times here on MacStories, and I’ll link to it again: this is how Apple rolls. They release a new product, they somehow manage to change people’s opinion about a certain category of products (remember last year, people screaming “I don’t need a tablet!” and now waiting in queue at their local Apple Store) then they take it from there to start refining the product.
You could argue Apple already had two next-generation iPads ready when they announced the original iPad in January. It’s possible, as I mentioned above. But together with that, they also had an iteration plan ready, a vision of what would come next for the product. And you can stay assured all those features and hardware modifications detailed in the rumors won’t be part of it.
Look at your 2007 iPhone, then look at the iPhone 4 you’re holding in your hands now. Is the iPhone 4 an insanely better phone? It sure its. But it took 3 years to get there. Maybe they already had an iPhone 4 prototype back in 2007 – again, the argument makes sense. Still, it took 3 years to get to the iPhone 4. Either a market strategy or the necessary amount of time required for components to become cheap, we had to wait 3 years to be able to stare at the Retina Display. And in the meantime, Apple iterated.
So maybe the next iPad won’t blow your minds and make your jaw drop. It’ll have new features (video calling) and a few hardware changes (thinner, camera) but it won’t make you scream “Dear God, Steve Jobs changed everything!”. No. Actually, geeks and haters will probably be disappointed by the next iPad. Just like they were by the iPhone 3G and the 3GS. They will see the thinner form factor, the front facing camera and they’ll go “meh”. Consumers, on the other hand, will love it.
I want a refined iPad. Do I need a Retina Display on it? Maybe, although I don’t know whether such a resolution would be affordable for Apple and developers to design apps with. A FaceTime camera would, of course, be really welcome.
My only wish for the “iPad 2” is that Apple takes the same approach that lead the iPhone and iPod Touch to become the great products they are today. But I also want you to consider this: with mobile devices becoming powerful enough to last for at least 2 years, I wouldn’t really focus on the appearance of the next iPad.
I would rather concentrate on the OS the next iPad will ship with.