Business Hardware

Five Things the iPad Needs to be Complete

3. Camera. I admit that it would look a tad silly to be holding up the iPad and shooting photos. Most people don't carry around cameras the size of a magazine. And, as portable as the iPad is, I still don't leave home without my iPhone--which does have a camera. So, it's not imperative per se.

The iPad is an excellent mobile computing platform, but there is still some room for improvement-- iPad 2.0?
That said, it also seems sort of like a no-brainer. I think many were shocked that it wasn't included in the first edition iPad and fully expect there to be a camera--or dual front and back cameras--in the next iteration of the iPad. It would be useful to be able to record video messages, or to participate in video conferencing via Skype or other tools using the iPad.

4. USB. This point sort of fits with the first one about file management. The cloud is available anywhere the iPad can connect to it, so it works fine for storing data in most cases. However, there are many situations that arise where a peer or customer would like to share data and the most convenient and appropriate means of doing so is via a USB thumb drive.

The iPad should have a USB port, and it should provide a mechanism to be able to view the contents of a thumb drive, open files in the appropriate app, or transfer them--either to be stored locally on the iPad, or at least to allow me to move them from the USB thumb drive to my cloud-based storage solution.

5. Multitasking. Despite persistent claims from vendors and fans of competing smartphone platforms to the contrary, I have presented a case for why I feel that multitasking is not necessary for the iPhone. The screen is too small to display two apps at a time anyway, so the tradeoff in battery life and security issues seems like a losing bet.

The iPad uses the same OS, though, and the iPad can benefit from multitasking. Many apps are written to at least retain their state--so if I switch away to use another app and come back to it I can pick up where I left off. That is at least close to multitasking. But, I want to be able to be engaged listening to a Webex presentation, and switch away to instant message with a peer, check my calendar, or shoot off a quick e-mail without shutting down the presentation.

The only other thing that I have missed on multiple occasions is the 3G access. I bought the Wi-Fi model of the iPad, and I have recommended that most people save the additional $130 and stick with the Wi-Fi model. Every McDonald's has free Wi-Fi access, as do many other restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, campuses, and public areas.  

However, my daughter's gymnastics gym and dance school don't have Wi-Fi access available, and I have found myself wishing I had Internet access while sitting idly for an hour. I maintain that the Wi-Fi model is more than adequate for most users, but roaming business professionals will definitely want to at least have the option of enabling 3G if necessary.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page , or contact him by email at tony_bradley@pcworld.com . He also tweets as @Tony_BradleyPCW .

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