Apple has put the iPad 2 into production, according to reports. The device is expected to launch in April and sources told the Wall Street Journal that it will have a front-facing camera, more memory and a faster graphics processor. As ever, though, Apple is keeping quiet so all we have is speculation.
I asked three UK-based app developers what they would like to see from the new iPad.
Tristan Celder, CEO of Zolmo, the developer behind Jamie Olivers apps:
I think for any developers working in mobile, more power is definitely a good thing! The processor on the iPad is already pretty good but more memory and a faster processor would allow us to create the kind of interfaces we dream of. Wed love to see a double resolution screen, but at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 perhaps this would be too many pixels to push around for even the latest processors. On top of that, the expected camera and gyroscope to bring it up to the input capabilities of the iPhone 4 would be great.
Ben Trewhella, CTO of Mubaloo, a company that develops apps on a range of platforms for clients including William Hill and the Met Office, said that hed like to see software improvements to add better presentation and production tools. A Keynote Lite type thing would be good, said.
It would be a real headache if they doubled the screen resolution, he added, arguing that the resulting apps would be very large and difficult for the iPad processor to handle. Trewhella also said that Apple needed to bring true multi-tasking to iOS: I can understand why Apple follow the virtual multitasking approach but I dont know how long that will hold.
Dave Addey, MD of Agant, the developer that built the UK Train Times app and Malcolm Tucker The Missing iPhone, among others, offered a longer wishlist but its worth repeating in full:
Hardware: Wed love a Retina screen. We build apps with content publishers, and the higher resolution would make a big difference to content-powered apps. When the iPhone 4 came out, the Retina screen was a game-changer for reading on the smaller-form device, and the same would definitely go for iPad.
A reduction in the weight of the device would be just as big a benefit. The current device is too heavy for prolonged reading. That said, most of the weight (and indeed most of the bulk of the device) in iPad 1 is the battery, and we dont want to reduce the battery life.
Were expecting a front-facing camera, but arent overly excited by it. Facetime isnt the revelation Apple might claim it to be.
Wildcard #1: Id love to be able to make notes with a stylus, like the noteslate. This isnt possible with the iPads current approach to touch detection. There are times when sketching or writing is simply the best way to communicate ideas, and a finger just isnt precise enough.
Software: wed like a re-jigged iBooks (the current one is very poor for book reflowing and for PDF reading).
Were desperate for Apple to introduce cloud syncing for documents iTunes has long outstayed its welcome as a way to get files on and off the device.
Wed like to see a move away from Apple-supplied video being the only video you can easily put on the device. The original iPod approach where any of your music, from any source, was equally valid is sorely missed for video. But this is a wider issue than just iPad 2.
Wildcard #2: micropayments for web-based content when browsed to on your device, based on the iTunes Store infrastructure. Charge up your iTunes account, make tiny payments (2p for an article?) from your charged-up iWallet. No-ones yet had the infrastructure to do this on the web; Apple have the experience (and the millions of credit card details) to make it work.
Which of those things do you think will be on the iPad 2? And is there anything my three developers have missed that you would like to see?