The 2022 iPad Pro that almost certainly will launch in October raises hopes among tablet fans for significant hardware improvements. The basic iPad design is great, but there are nevertheless a few changes that need to be made.
Here’s a handful of suggestions that would make the iPad Pro easier to use without mucking up the best tablet on the market.
iPad is almost perfect
iPad doesn’t need radical change. The fact that it’s far and away the most popular tablet in the world is proof of that.
iPadOS computers offer large screens and slim bezels, making them easy to work on. And they’re slim and lightweight, so they are very portable. Adding a keyboard to temporarily make one into a notebook is easy.
But there is still room for improvements that wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
1. Move the front-facing camera to landscape mode
The COVID-19 pandemic made video conferencing a normal part of our work and personal lives. But there’s a problem with FaceTime calls on an iPad. Currently, the front-facing camera is at the top of the screen when the tablet is in portrait mode. But that’s not how most people use their iPad, especially when making video calls.
With the tablet in the usual landscape mode, the FaceTime camera is way over on the left side of the screen, so users seem to be staring off to the side of the people they are talking to.
An unconfirmed report indicates that the FaceTime camera in the budget iPad 10 will move to landscape mode. It should happen in the 2022 iPad Pro, too.
2. Add another USB-C port to the 2022 iPad Pro
For many people (including myself), an iPad is their primary work computer. That frequently requires connecting accessories to the USB-C port. And iPadOS 16 will expand that necessity as it brings in full support for external displays next month.
But even the top-tier iPad Pro only comes with a single USB-C port for use with both accessories and charging. That proves very limiting. Plugging in a USB drive requires unplugging the external screen, for example.
The 2022 iPad Pro should pack a couple of USB-C ports, not just one. This small change to the design would noticeably improve the tablet’s usability.
A recent leak indicated that Apple will add two new ports to the 2022 iPad Pro. But exactly what these are isn’t clear. They don’t seem to be USB-C or MagSafe, but details remain very thin at this point.
3. Bring MagSafe to iPad Pro
Apple added MagSafe to MacBooks so that if someone tripped over the power cable the notebook wouldn’t be flung to the floor or have its charging port damaged. These days, people frequently use iPads as notebooks, so the addition of MagSafe seems logical.
There’s surely room for a MagSafe port on the edge of the tablet. Apple squeezed one into the super-slim MacBook Air.
And tipsters say that Apple’s magnetic charging system will be built into the 2022 iPad Pro. This apparently will be the iPhone version, though, which requires a large charging coil to be built into the tablet.
These days, an iPad is much more similar to a MacBook than an iPhone, so including the MacBook version of MagSafe seems like a better option.
4. Switch the power and volume buttons
As noted, people are more likely to use their iPad in landscape mode than portrait. And with the tablet in landscape mode, the volume buttons sit along the top edge. Volume up is on the left while volume down is on the right. That’s not the least bit intuitive. The buttons should move to the left edge, so up would be up and down would be down.
The power button can switch places with them. It belongs on the top in landscape orientation anyway.
This would be another small but welcome tweak to the design of the 2022 iPad Pro.
Bonus: iPad Ultra
Apple’s going ultra. Its top-tier processor is the M1 Ultra, and the company just released the rugged Apple Watch Ultra. Rumors indicate that next year could bring the iPhone 15 Ultra.
With Apple sticking “ultra” on its premier products, maybe it’s time for an iPad Ultra.
As it stands now, it’s somewhat confusing that the name iPad Pro is used for an 11-inch tablet and a 12.9-inch one, too. Apple could instead offer an 11-inch iPad Pro and a 12.9-inch iPad Ultra.
Perhaps some of these suggested design changes could be only for the Ultra. The larger casing certainly has more room for additional USB-C ports, for example.
iPad Pro: Let’s start from the top
All iPadOS users should be rooting for improvements to the Pro line, even people who prefer an iPad Air or the basic iPad. The top-tier models are where new features typically debut. For instance, USB-C came first to the Pro models, and now it’s nearly ubiquitous.
So, once the iPad Pro ushers in landscape-oriented FaceTime, or MagSafe, or some other enhancement, it’ll eventually come to Apple’s other tablets, too.
Here’s hoping at least some of these suggestions show up in the 2022 iPad Pro. (We might find out at an Apple event in October.) Then, these upgrades can trickle down to the rest of the iPad lineup. And Apple’s tablets — already the finest in the world — will be just that much better.