What’s your iPad/iPadOS wish list?
I’ve created a list of iPad features and am curious to see what other people want from their iPads. I’m more of a power user, but some of these apply to a better experience for many types of users.
I am a Mac user and IT professional. I recently bought an iPad Air 5 for my 7 year old daughter, to replace her aging MacBook Air 11″ 2012 and iPad mini 4 (I’ve only given her hand-me-downs over the years, so this is her first new tech) . I’ve set it up to be as much of a general purpose computer as possible and am seeing how far I can push it in ease of use. She mostly wants to use it for school, YouTube/streaming, music, art and gaming – but since she has got interested in making videos for her little YouTube channel for fun (does anyone care) I also wanted to teach her basic video editing on this iPad.I bought a keyboard and trackpad combo case for this as well, so some of my items on my list relate to the lackluster trackpad implementation.
Anyway, in the process of setting up this iPad Air, I’ve really found the iPad to be very lacking in software potential, features that the hardware and form factor can handle very easily, and have a running list of features that I think the iPad desperately needs.
My Feature Wish List:
- User accounts. If you can do this with an old Mac that is literally 1000 times slower and has a smaller screen, than you can do it with an iPad. This iPad (and the ones I manage at work) would greatly benefit from having a separate admin account. Families who share devices will also benefit, socially those who have children of different ages who may have access to different levels of content. Apple actually provides a version of this feature in the form of device sharing via Apple Business Essentials (you sign in with your iCloud account), but it’s a huge overkill for most users, and requires a subscription.
- Bringing Expose-like window management and improved window management to the iPad would be great. I’ve tested Stage Manager to work in multiple apps while editing a video, and it’s sorely lacking.
- Move the clock on the right side of the top screen area to make it like Mac. It’s a simple and easy way of continuity with your other device. They can then add an icon on the left side to notify users that swiping down on that page will take them to a notification (they can also put notifications up on the left side, like when something uses location services, the microphone, the camera, or a active conversation). From my experience, most users don’t realize or forget how to get to the control panel and notification center/widget, and making this change might help.
- Add three fingers that swipe left and right on the touchpad to let you move between open apps. I keep doing this impulsively, since I’m so used to it on the Mac. They could swipe with four fingers to try between Stage Manager sets too, but that’s probably pushing it too far lol.
- Change 3 finger swipe down on a trackpad (for app overview) to swipe up, to match Mac. This is really bad UX design on Apple’s part. They reversed the gesture from the Mac, for no logical reason.
- Swipe down with three fingers on a trackpad to get to the home screen
- I really don’t think Apple will ever do this, because Apple, but unlocking the Hypervisor on the M series Apple Silicon chips would be HUGE. For those who don’t know, Hypervisor is the hardware-level feature that allows you to virtualize other operating systems in apps like Parallels, VMware, and UTM. M1 and M2 which is inside iPad has this feature just like Mac and people have used it via Jailbreaking, some know it works well. Apple doesn’t like emulation for some reason, but the ability to virtualize other systems would be a huge benefit to IT professionals and developers. I’ve been using UTM on my Mac and iPad mini 6 for over a year now and it works great. The problem is (besides the fact that you have to sideload to get UTM), you can only emulate, and it’s slow (but the M1 handles older operating systems quite well), but virtualization is blocked via a missing or locked framework, which requires jailbreaking to use. It’s a real shame, I’d happily pay Parallels for the ability to do this directly on my iPad. Right now I have to use an external app and/or service to resolve the connection to a computer running other operating systems
- Screen saver. I know they’re kind of pointless these days to save a screen from burn-in, but having a screen saver to give you buffer space before the iPad screen locks up and requires you to unlock it with passcode/Face ID/fingerprint is nice. Very useful when connected to a keyboard, and can also bring back the photo page view feature (I’ve been using my original iPad as a digital photo frame for years, and it’s worked well as a way to give it a new lease of life).
- This is more of a hardware feature, but move the front camera to the long side for better landscape use. This came with the iPad 10th Gen, and I’m sure they’ll fall flat on the iPads with magnetic Apple Pencil support once they figure out how to fit the components on one side (I have a feeling this will happen with an Apple Pencil 3 with a redesigned charging coil location).
- Allow app dock resizing and add the ability to enlarge apps while hovering over them and hide the Dock when using a trackpad/mouse. I know this is more of an “I’m used to the Mac way” but I think it will improve the experience when using a keyboard and trackpad/mouse.
- This one is more specifically app related, but bring Final Cut Pro to iPad, or at least add more features to iMovie. FCP does a lot, so I’m sure it’s a matter of taking a long time to get it over with, or Apple just decided it’s not worth it, but it would be great to have. For now, I’m stuck with a combination of iMovie and third-party apps.
- Better support for the iPad mini’s smaller screen. Up until now, most of the features I’ve talked about are mostly in stores using the larger iPads, but I use my mini 6 the most, and love it for travel, and especially for car navigation (CarPlay sucks). The problem with the mini is the fact that iPadOS was designed for the large iPads and then shrunk down on the mini. This can be a usability nightmare at times, and some UI elements are hard to tap at times, especially when you’re in a car.
- The ability to format drives. This can be as simple as a popup notifying you that you’ve mounted a drive with an incompatible file system and giving you the option to format it (with possible file loss warnings), to options for reporting and partitioning (knowingly Apple, it will probably ever be the former).
Bonus: I’d like a good keyboard/trackpad cover with a USB hub and SD card reader built in, which can be run through the Smart Connector. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something like this in the past (might not have used the Smart Connector), but don’t see anything for the iPad Air 5. 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. I’d also like to see 2 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on the iPad, even if it’s just the Pros, or even just the larger Pro.
I’m sure I’ll edit this to add more things as I think about it, or as other people’s suggestions inspire me to do so.
Overall, I know Apple wants to preserve the simple and straightforward experience of the iPad, but given all the poorly implemented advanced features they’ve put into it over the past few years, I get the feeling that they’re either not putting enough resources into the iPad, or those in charge of it lack vision, motivation or resources. Many of these more advanced features can be off by default and enabled via settings, just like Stage Manager is now.