Apple have issued invitations to an event on Wednesday where it is expected they will announce the iPad 2 – the next generation of their tablet computer. The image on the invitation certainly seems to imply that this will be the case (see picture).
Of course there is a lot of speculation already as to what the new iPad range will be. Better screen? Bigger capacity? Maybe a camera? We won’t know for sure until Apple unveil the news on Thursday. In the meantime I would like to think about the changes Apple could make to the iPad to make it more family friendly.
The iPad is a fantastic family device. It is easy and intuitive to use. The geekdaughter (aged 3) can not only undertake the simple tasks – turn on, navigate to games, select required game etc – but she can also undertake some more advanced operations, such as using the pinch action to zoom the screen in and out. She still can’t operate a mouse, and certainly couldn’t find her way around a Windows PC, but she’s got the iPad sussed. In fact she’s frequently surprised to find other devices exist that do not work in the same way – for example she was using a digital camera yesterday, looking at the pictures on the little screen on the back, and swiping the screen to try to move to the next photo!
But after 9 months of living with an iPad, there are definitely some features I would like to see on the next version. Features that would make it much more family friendly.
1. Multiple user configuration – I don’t want the geekdaughter to access my emails, or my Twitter, and heaven forbid that she discovers that We Farm exists! Top of my wishlist for the new iPad would be individual logons, and the ability to configure who can access which apps.
2. Parental controls – if I can’t have individual logons, I would at least like the ability to lock or password protect certain apps and functions. For example, I don’t want the geekdaughter browsing YouTube unsupervised, so I’d like to be prompted for a password on that app. I’d also like to selectively enable and disable the WiFi/Internet connectivity.
3. Parental lock – (are you noticing a trend here?!) The little switch on the side by the volume control. You know, the one that used to be the “orientation lock” and is now a “mute” switch. I’d like to see that re-purposed as a “parental lock” switch. On activation the iPad goes into “child-friendly” mode, disabling the WiFi and only allowing the opening of “whitelisted” apps. Thus you could just flick the switch on handing the iPad to your child, and know they couldn’t get into anything they shouldn’t.
4. Dribble-proof screen – whilst the new retina display technology is lovely, I think it is far more important that the screen be highly resistant to dribble, fingerprints, porridge, and anything else a small child might drop on it. Every time I get my iPad back from the kids there’s a new smudge or mark on it!
Now, I don’t think for a minute any of these features will appear on the list for the iPad 2, but maybe for future versions. How about it, Apple?
What about you? What are you hoping for in the iPad 2?