It’s been only a little over 3 months since the iPad started selling, so it might be considered soon to start talking about the next version of the device, but there are a few things we can probably already know about it. Just over a week ago Apple released the iPhone 4 to incredible sales success and this device gives us some indications about what we should expect of the next iPad.
Other indications can be picked up from Apple’s new advertising business, where advertisers have been informed that iAds will be available on the iPad in November.
One of the most interesting features of iOS 4, Apple’s new operating system for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad family of devices is multitasking this is where our first clues about the iPad 2.0 can be found. iOS 4 supports multitasking on the iPhone 3Gs which has the same 256MB of RAM as the iPad, but doesn’t support it in the iPhone 3G which had only half that memory. Still, the new iPhone 4 doubles the RAM of the previous model having now 512MB of RAM. The fact that Apple has seen fit to double the RAM suggests that they have determined that in order to properly support multitasking more RAM is needed. That is not a brilliant discovery, as it seems kind of obvious, and it is something that is already felt in the iPad even without multitasking, when you work with multiple sites on your browser.
The iPad allows developers to create much more complex applications that what we generally see on the iPhone (not counting games) and is much more frequently used as a general purpose computer for browsing the Web and related activities. Based on this usage it is not be hard to imagine that iPad 2.0 might go as high as 1GB which should allow plenty of room for users to be able to browse multiple websites at the same time without the browser having to dump the pages and reload when you return to one. This is annoying in the first generation iPad and should be a priority problem to work around, considering how much the iPad is being used for browsing.
The fact that Apple has been telling advertisers that iAd will be available on the iPad in November gives us a a timeframe for when iOS 4 will have to be available on the iPad, as it is a requirement for iAds. The fact, however, that it will only be available on the iPad so long after it was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch might be an indication that Apple is already aware that multitasking won’t really work that well on the device with given its limited memory. In this case, Apple would want to be closer to the release of a new generation of devices which would be able to take full advantage of this capability, when the OS is released.
The iPad will certainly be able to use multitasking when iOS 4 arrives on the device, but users will probably find that trying to run more than a couple applications at the same time isn’t as good and experience as they might have expected, though I’m sure it will still be a nice improvement. Just being able to run a music streaming App in background while you browse your tweets is already a nice improvement.
In order to really take advantage of multitasking and still be able to deliver great performance Apple should not go for getting the iPad on par with the iPhone 4, but should instead take it further and ensure that iPad 2.0 continues to be the best tablet experience regardless of whatever other companies might release next year.