You’ve got five minutes with Apple boss Tim Cook. Quick: how would you use your time? What idea would you pitch Which product would you beg him to launch – or ditch? And (assuming he asks) where would you advise him to take Apple over the coming years?
For this fantasy feature, we put ourselves in that wonderful (and entirely imaginary) position. We created an Apple manifesto for 2013 and beyond. From iPhone mini to iPad 5, from iWatch to iOS 7, here’s what we’d like to see from Apple’s next round of launches. Oi, Mr Cook! We’d like a word…
The Next iPad
1. Touch-sensitive bezel
Strictly speaking, the wide bezel around the edge of the iPad’s screen is wasted space. So our fantasy iPad 5 has alert lights built into its bezel; a blue light at the top indicates unread emails from VIP contacts, for instance. The most vital of notifications are continually visible without having to turn the screen on.
The smart bezel is also touch-sensitive, so you can swipe through eBooks or up and down web pages using off-screen gestures, instead of putting your fingers in the way of the stuff you want to see. In fact, Apple secured a patent for this idea back in 2010, so it might not be fantasy at all.
2. Holographic displays
This one, on the other hand, is a bit more of a long shot, particularly in the next few generations. But we can dream.
Shortly after the iPad 2 appeared in 2011, a video appeared supposedly showing how to unlock ‘hologram mode’, which projected app visuals upwards into the air above the iPad. In classic Minority Report style, the user could move photos and documents around by swiping through the air.
Of course, there was no such technology built into the iPad 2, and this was just a clever fake (watch it yourself below). But leaving aside the more fanciful ‘swipable hologram’ sci-fi part of the equation, imagine the possibilities. Gaming, on a 3D projection that appears to leap up from the coffee table, would be a mesmerising experience; as would watching sport or talking on FaceTime: it would be like actually being there.
This ‘demo video’ showing how to enable hologram mode on the iPad 2 is actually a terrific bit of video editing fakery by the clever chaps at FinalCutKing. But something like this might be possible in the future
3. Linkable displays
If you’ve got time for one more concept video, check out Aatma Studio’s idea of 3D, multi-iPad gaming below. Again, it’s an idea illustrated through digital trickery rather than a plausible demo, but since this is our fantasy iPad, we can cherry-pick the parts that make sense and wave away the difficulties.
What we like about this video is the ease with which two iPads can link up (we’d suggest that NFC, discussed in our iPhone section, is the most practical approach) and share an image between their displays. The advantages for multiplayer gaming are obvious, particularly on boardgame apps; and viewing photos across two iPads would be a delight. If you could put up with the join down the middle, a pair of iPads would make a rather fine living-room cinema, too.
4. Universal ports
iOS devices have never been blessed with a huge amount of storage space, and a long-term item on our iPad wishlist has been the ability to bolster this with an SD card (or one of its mini or micro equivalents). For that matter, a mini-USB port would let us use a wide range of chargers and accessories with our fantasy iPad. Apple has never been big on universal connectivity, but we can dream.
5. Inductive charging
Inductive wireless charging is one of those technologies that’s been the Next Big Thing for years. We think it’s ready for the big time.
Inductive charging lets you transfer power wirelessly, provided the distances are small enough; with current products this basically means being able to place your iOS device on a charging mat instead of having to plug it in. The down sides are that the technology hasn’t been embraced by Apple itself, so you have to use a third-party case along with the charger; but if Apple built inductive coils into the iPad’s chassis you could use whichever case you like. Then all that’s left is extending the wireless range. Whenever you’re ready, science.