The iPad isn't due for an OS update until the fall, but when it does, we hope it gets some targeted improvements to distinguish itself from the iPhone 4.
iOS 4 multitasking isn't true multitasking by a computer user's definition: switching between apps is still required, and the only true background multitasking we've found useful is audio streaming. On a larger iPad screen, there's plenty of room to run certain apps side by side. Mail and Safari, Twitter and Reeder, Photos and Facebook...we could go on and on.
A secret truth with the iPad's iOS 3.2 is that it can't run iPhone 4 apps in their enhanced resolution, despite being able to handle the number of pixels on the Retina Display. It's a shame, but hopefully it'll be quickly rectified with iOS 4. From that point on, we'd expect a lot more universal apps.
Original iPhone apps run at a fraction of the resolution of the iPad's display. Currently, options include running the app in an accurately sized tiny window, or pixel-doubling to cover a larger percentage of the screen. If we could, instead, run up to four iPhone apps simultaneously on the iPad, we might find many more innovative ways of putting our old App Store libraries to use.
Folders do seem to make even more sense on the larger iPad screen; on an iPhone, iOS 4 folders tend to devolve into squares housing tiny colored dots, whereas the iPad's larger icons could actually depict folder contents more usefully. But there could be even more on the iPad: why not folders with larger capacities than 12 apps, and how about subfolders?
So, we'll have to wait until next year for an iPad with FaceTime chat? Maybe, maybe not. What if Apple were to release a camera dock that allows video chat on the iPad using iOS 4? Sure, it's a messy solution, but if the dock were elegant (or built into a case), it could be a solution for early adopters.
The iPad's main appeal is how much it works just like an iPhone, but sometimes it feels like the similarities run too deep. Instead, it would be smart if the iPad adopted some of the multitouch gestures familiar to MacBook owners--two and three-finger swipes to switch apps, and maybe even a swipe gesture to bring up all windows on the Safari browser. What about savvier universal iPod controls that worked from any app? Multitouch makes a lot more sense on the far larger-screened iPad than it does on the iPhone.
Calculator, Weather, Stocks, Voice Memos, Clock, Compass...all missing, though some say for the better. Still, we'd love to have the option to download some of these for free in iPad-ready format. Clock, Calculator (maybe as a pop-up app, even), and Voice Memos would be especially welcome.
Thinking outside the box here...what if certain applets launched in pop-up windows, utilizing the ability the iPad has to add an overlay? For calculators, calendars, and other quick-reference apps, this could be a great way to bring up info while doing something else, and not having to switch. A triple-finger swipe could bring up the pop-ups quick list.
There are many apps that can read PDFs or DOC files. Controlling each involves adjusting settings in each app. There is no setting currently for making an app a default for certain documents. Including these types of universal settings in the iPad would make a lot of sense.
Cutting and pasting has taken care of a lot of casual concerns for e-mailing, but the iPad's heavy use of documents opens up a case for a universal doc library or clipboard. iOS 3.2 does allow for some document sharing across apps, but the extent of cross-compatibility is very limited. Instead, documents should be accessible through a central Spotlight-searchable database that can be used for reference and for sharing with others.