Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A New Year Wish List for the iPad

Well, the title might have caught your attention if you're new to this site, but regular readers may be recoiling in horror at my apparent admission that there's anything wrong with the iPad, a potential sign of hypocrisy, or simply my inability to abide by my own rules.

I've long since stated that the Apple Harvest is not a place for rumours or speculating what rabbits Apple may or may not be pulling out of the hat in the coming months. That statement still holds true - there are plenty of people out there who are quite happy to look completely stupid when their comments and scare-mongering are proved to be completely unfounded. I'm not joining their ranks, at least not when it comes to Apple.

Some of my previous posts have focused on how brilliant the iPad is, and how useful I find it. The comments in those posts also still hold true. I still get the same buzz when I turn on the iPad as I did when I first bought it, and occasionally I find an app which surpasses that experience.
I also have no regrets about buying a version 1 model. I don't know anyone I regularly communicate with who has FaceTime access, so I still use iChat or Skype on my laptop, which means I don't really need a camera - front or backwards facing - and so far I've heard little mention of anything else outstandingly new in the speculation about iPad 2.

So now you've got an idea of what this post is not about, what exactly is on my New Year Wish List for the iPad?

There are 5 key things that I'd like to see, and they are all iOS related rather than hardware deficiencies. In no particular order of preference or priority they are:-

Quick email delete - I tend to use the iPad to check email during the day because it's much more convenient than carrying a laptop around and getting it set up six or seven times a day. When I'm out on the road, my MBP remains my main email host, and the iMac serves the same function when I'm at home. My mail stays on my ISP POP account until I physically delete it - usually at the end of each day. The trouble is, that mail accumulates on the iPad over the course of a few days and it is a royal pain to have to select 150+ emails one by one in order to delete them all. So I would really like to see a Delete All Mail option in Mail.

Close all apps - I'm quite happy with Apple's approach to app time sharing (aka multi-tasking) in general. It works, and it doesn't have a serious impact on performance or battery life. But there are times when I've managed to get myself in a position where I've got a dozen apps open and I'd like to close the lot and start again. So Apple - a Close All Apps option on the multi-tasking bar would be very useful.

An Automator - I'm a creature of habit - not all of them bad - and when I wake up in the morning and reach for the iPad to switch off the alarm, there are a few tasks that I tend to do as a matter of course. I run PressReader to download my daily newspaper, I check the weather on AccuWeather and download the latest FX rates on Currency. I'll then check Social (Facebook client) and the Twitter app. Finally I'll check the AppStore to see if there are any updates to download. Sometimes I'll do some other bits, and the order may change, but this is fairly standard behaviour. It would be really cool to be able to automate the process so that I can load all my "default" (or any other) set of apps automatically and then just browse through them until I'm really to hit the Close All Apps button that Apple will hopefully provide!

Update Info improvements - One problem with working away is the reliance on Mobile (often PAYG) broadband. One of the problems with the AppStore is the frequency of updates which come through, and I for one, like to be up-to-date with my software. However, because these are full replacements rather than patch updates, sometimes you find yourself having to download 500Mb of app several times a month. If you are on a fixed data allowance (often only 1 - 3Gb/month) this is a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately the updates page doesn't give any idea of the size of the download for each item so you are downloading blind. I'd really like to see the size of each update so that I can make an informed decision about whether to perform the update or put it on hold until a more suitable time

Wireless Syncing - Well who doesn't want wireless syncing? It's a wireless gadget for goodness sake!!!

So there's my top five iPad improvements. I'd really like some feedback on these, especially if anyone knows of existing workarounds or hidden tricks that I've not yet encountered. And do other iPad users have other or similar wish lists? Please leave a comment, send me a tweet, or drop me an email at ally@allygill.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

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