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A Photographer's Wishes for the iPad 2

With rumors of a new Apple iPadstarting to gain traction on the interwebs, it was thrown out to me by Phoblographer’s Grand Poobah Gampat that I, as the resident iPad lover, should write about what a photographer wants from the next iteration of the iPad.

There Will Be No 7 Inch iPad

As an Apple tragic, having used Macs since about 1991, I’m also probably as well placed as any photographer to predict what we won’t get. And I’ll start there: we won’t get a 7-inch version, and photographers shouldn’t want one anyway. Sorry Chris, I know you want one, but it’s not going to happen. Steve Jobs has publicly said he doesn’t like the size, and that means they are at least a year away (and when Steve does introduce a smaller iPad, he’ll simply say ‘Apple did it right’).

While a 7-inch iPad might be nice to pack, I don’t think the screen improvement over the camera’s screen would make it as attractive as the 10-incher on the current iPad, and both Jobo and Epson (and others) make image storage/viewing units far better suited to a photographer’s needs than a 7-inch iPad would ever be.

Nor a USB Slot

We also won’t get a USB port or card slot, as much as I would like them. A USB port would send message to the masses that it is fine to plug in your USB headphones, keyboard, mouse, external drive…which the iOS operating system is not designed to cope with. Apple resisted the pressure to add slots, removable batteries and connectivity beyond its proprietary 30-pin connector for years and I don’t see this policy changing, although rumours there’s provision in new cases for an SD card slot may yet prove me wrong. I hope so.

FaceTime Will Be Revolutionary, Again

So what will we see? A forward facing camera for FaceTime, that’s as definite as a non-Apple employee can be. A rear facing camera for shooting stills and video? Well maybe, but who wants to use a device the shape of an iPad for capturing images? Not me.

Retina Display…and More!

What I would like to see is a higher resolution Retina display. This was introduced on the iPhone 4 and makes the iPad’s display look rather pedestrian in comparison. This would allow more critical checking of an image on the iPad, which would be awesome in the field. If it were available non-reflective, it would be even better.

I think stereo speakers could be coming, and would be a welcome addition. However, it won’t be the same as the iPhone’s: that would be so many pixels the battery consumption my be excessively harmed, something Apple doesn’t want to do, so if there’s a new display I don’t expect it to be as high resolution as the iPhone.

I do think we will see Apple claim better battery life, I do expect a bump in processor speed and RAM should jump considerably, too.

On the software side I’d love to see a better file structure system, so you can find and transfer around images on the iPad, but it’s more likely Apple will solve this problem in a way quite different from the hierarchical structure on Macs and PCs. At the moment using a program such as Shuttersnitch, which allows WiFi transfer of images to the iPad, is all very well but you use FTP technology to get the images out of the iPad: which is silly in 2010. Others at thephoblographer want to see tethered shooting, which would be great but I think I’ll stick to wireless via Shuttersnitch.

Opening up the BlueTooth and WiFi on the iPadwould be great: ad hoc networks are problematic if not impossible, using a 3G iPad as a wireless hot-spot would be welcomed. Did someone say wireless syncing? And please please please can we enable Bluetooth tethering for internet connectivity? I can share a 3G connection from my phone to my mac, why can’t I share the same data plan with my iPad?

I’d also like to see a version of Aperture for the iPad, so imported images can be sorted, graded, captioned and emailed easily and quickly, hopefully integrating with Aperture on the Mac desktop.

So externally, I’m not expecting a lot of change with the next iPad(although going down the path of glass front and back a la iPhone 4 must be tempting for Jonathon Ive) but I am expecting more performance. Given how popular the camera connection kit has been (demand outstripped supply for months and months) there may be some pressure to include an SD card slot, something I would welcome. Apple has put them into Macs.

I’m also expecting to see the changes in the higher-end models only, allowing Apple to maybe reduce the price on the current 16GB WiFi model to $399 while still offering 3G and larger capacity versions up to $999.

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