iPad 2: What we didn't get

The Apple iPad 2 brings with it new dual-core power and cameras in a slim new casing. But what's missing from Apple's second-generation tablet PC?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
4 min read

The Apple iPad 2 brings with it new dual-core power and cameras in a slim new casing. But what's missing from Apple's second-generation tablet PC?

Take a look at the list of features and updates we had our fingers crossed for in the iPad 2, but didn't see in the end. The list is based on rumours before the event and features that are seen on rival devices. Which features would you liked to have seen?

Improved display

The biggest disappointment. Apple set the bar high with the iPhone 4's brain-twistingly detailed retina display, and we hoped for a similarly high-resolution screen on the iPad 2, but the 9.7-inch touchscreen is the same as the original iPad's 1,024x768-pixel display.

Will you miss it? Hugely. The iPhone 4 has given us a glimpse of what's possible, and while we didn't expect a full retina display, some improvement seemed like the least Apple could do.

True worldwide reception

The iPad 2 is available on Verizon and AT&T networks. Those two US phone networks use different types of network technology, GSM and CDMA, which are used in different places around the world. It's possible for one device to work on both types of network -- with the Qualcomm multimode chip -- but that's not the case for the iPad 2. When you buy your new iPad, you pick a network and stick with it. It's not an issue here, though, because the UK uses GSM.

Will you miss it? Depends how much travelling you do.

Decent camera

That the iPad 2 would sport a camera was pretty much the only certainty before the event: Elton John said so. But the main camera offers less than 1-megapixel resolution. It's enough for 720p high-definition video, but pales next to the Motorola Xoom's 5-megapixel snapper.

Will you miss it? We're still in two minds on this one. On the one hand, we're not sure how often we'd hold up a 10-inch gadget to take a photo. But if we're going to hold up a 10-inch gadget to take a photo, we'd like to end up with a photo that's half-decent.

Software revamp

One report suggested that Apple could add social software to iOS 4.3. That didn't materialise, and nor did a rumoured MobileMe revamp. Game Center is still rubbish, too.

Will you miss it? Now Find My iPhone is free, MobileMe doesn't have a huge amount to offer that we can't find for free elsewhere, so not really.

Paying for things

Near-field communication was rumoured to be in the new iPad, allowing you to pay for stuff by waving your iPad at the till. It isn't.

Will you miss it? Not really -- NFC phones are still in their infancy. We're still getting our heads around contactless credit cards.

Improved syncing

The much-maligned iTunes is at least good at syncing your Apple mobile devices. But why oh why can we only sync to one computer? Home or work -- you must choose. Sadly, that hasn't changed today. Proper wireless syncing is still a pipedream, too, meaning we're still stuck with Apple's little white cable.

Will you miss it? Only when you can't find an iPad cable. Which is all the piggin' time.


We still can't use the iPad as a mobile hard drive, like a USB stick or any other phone that allows you to plug into your computer and transfer files. Only files that are actually used by the iPad's software, like music or video, are allowed on the iPad 2, and only if synced via that white cable.

Will you miss it? Only if you don't have a USB stick to hand.

Flash support

Yeah, we know: dream on. Apple hates Flash, even though it's an important part of the Web experience in video and animation. File this one under H for 'happen, never gonna'.

Will you miss it? Yes, but be careful what you wish for: some Cravers have been dismayed to find that Flash on Android phones slows mobile browsing right down.

Lock-screen widgets

Android and Windows Phone 7 devices offer live widgets on the lock screen. That means you can see upcoming appointments, calendars, new messages or other handy information without unlocking your phone and going into the relevant app. It's handy as all heck and would be a great extra detail in Apple's famously user-friendly interface. 

Will you miss it? Yes. Try an Android phone for a day or two and you'll really miss live widgets when you next pick up an iDevice. Get on the case, Apple.

FM radio

The iPod nano has an FM radio, and that's the size of a couple of chunks of Dairy Milk. Why not stick a radio in the iPad too?

Will you miss it? Not even slightly.

In shops now

We held out hope for a an immediate launch, which didn't happen -- but we don't have to wait long at all. The iPad 2 launches in the UK before the end of this month, barring delays.

Will you miss it? We can wait a few weeks. Can't we?

Over to you

Here's the full low-down of what we did get in the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3, and here are our first pictures of the iPad 2 in person. Tempted to part with your pennies? Find out where can you buy an iPad 2 in the UK, and how much it will cost. What do you miss the most in the iPad 2, or does it tick all your boxes?