I am a little embarrassed to admit that I owned the iPad original and now own the iPad2. But the iPad2 does HTML rendering noticeably quicker, and that is the only real reason that I upgraded.
I wonder if Apple surveyed owners and asked them what they thought left room for improvement.
I don't think that the resolution really needs to be improved. Yes, it will be noticeably sharper, and more beautiful to behold, but not by any huge margin. With the present pixel density, when you hold the iPad at arm length you are almost at that magical threshold where, if the resolution were any sharper, you would not be able to see the difference. Okay, maybe you have to hold it a little further than arm length for this to occur, and regardless it is true that at a more typical viewing distance that is less than a full arm length, the graininess is unmistakable. But the question is what price has to be paid for the improvement. Greater pixels implies greater processing power, which in turn implies a bigger battery and greater weight, or else shorter battery life. If we assume that battery life will be the same, then it is almost certainly going to be noticeably heavier. The question thus becomes whether the tradeoff is worth it, i.e., whether the penalty in increased weight is justified by the marginal improvement in sharpness. This question cannot be answered objectively, although I fully expect that the replies to this post will assert that the improvement in sharpness justifies the increased weight in a way that is absolute and not subjective. The question is however subjective, no matter who will assert otherwise. And although at this point no information has been released as to the amount by which the weight will increase, it seems somewhat likely that it will be a noticeable increase in weight, and that the first thing that most people will notice will be that increase in weight, and not the improvement in sharpness.
The increase in weight will of course exacerbate an issue that I regard as a noticeable, significant flaw of the iPad, that is rarely ever acknowledged here on anywhere else where it is verbotten to hint that anything that Apple makes is not perfect in every conceivable way (the reason for the continual product upgrades have nothing to do with imperfections or with profit made from selling the same people a new model every year or two, but have only to do with the fact that the definition of "perfect" continually changes...)
I'm beating around the bush. The issue with iPad design, that I regard as downright obvious notwithstanding that apparently no one else thinks similarly (...) is that it is not the least bit comfortable to hold in the hand, which fact is predominately due to the tapering of the edges.
If it were considerably thicker than it is, it would then make sense to taper the edges. But given the actual thickness, the only notable effect of the tapering is that it becomes less comfortable to hold. This is especially the situation at the four corners. The radius of curvature of the corners is probably about ideal and not a problem in and of itself, but the corners are where the edge tapering yields the sharpest point of the case in three dimensions. When you hold the iPad in your hands, it is not so easy to grasp, the effect of which is that habitually my hands find themselves to the two lower corners, and experience discomfort. I would stop short of saying that it is painful, but it borders on painful and is certainly not the least bit comfortable. It becomes necessary to place it in your lap or on a table. It is not a hand-held device, and it might not have been intended to be held in the hand, but the fact is that the nature of the device is that it is continually being handled, i.e., picked up and set down, and that, owing to the edge tapering, it is not the least bit comfortable to handle.
Now, it goes without saying that virtually all the replies to this will be from people who will assert in a strong, absolute manner that there is nothing the least bit uncomfortable about handling the iPad. But of course the people who visit this site and similar sites practically worship Apple and take strong exception to anyone who offers even the slightest hint that anything that Apple ever made was not the pinnacle of perfection, and would never have been improved upon were it not for the fact that perfection is a moving target. This is what people who reply to this will assert, and they will do so with very strong wording, typically of the way that teenagers and people of college age express their opinions. But the fact remains that the iPad is not comfortable to handle. The fact remains that it borders on being painful.
The fact remains that from a functional standpoint, the iPad would be _vastly_ better if the edges were very slightly rounded instead of tapered, i.e., if the rear surface were flat and all of the resulting 90-degree corners (there would be twelve in total) were rounded off slightly. From a purely functional standpoint, this could not be more obvious to me. And notwithstanding that people here will be quick to assert otherwise, the truth of the matter is that the rationale for the edge tapering is singular and counter-functional: it is purely for visual aesthetics, i.e., to make the iPad appear more slender to the eye. To achieve this superficial effect, a huge penalty has been paid in functionality. But this should be no surprise, because this has been the way with Apple products for a long time, and got increasingly worse with each new iteration. This is apparent almost throughout the product line. Perhaps there are some advantages of the mouse with the sharp edges at the sides. Perhaps, but the aluminum-slab keyboards are unmitigated garbage, no matter how many people on this site and other similar sites will quickly argue otherwise. Uh-oh, I never should have brought up the keyboards. Back to the iPad. A couple of months ago, I played for a little while with the Kindle Fire. Now, the comparison is not entirely fair because it is much smaller and naturally lighter as a result of being smaller, but allowing for that difference, the difference in comfort was like night and day.
The design of the iPad is such that it is assured to be just about as uncomfortable to handle as it could be without people everywhere asking the question that is obvious: Why is this thing so damned uncomfortable to hold? It IS uncomfortable to hold. In fact, it is VERY uncomfortable to hold. It is obvious to me that there is some sort of very peculiar social phenomenon occurring here, where people flock to a product for reasons that have very much to do with visual aesthetics, and then pretend not to notice the functional tradeoffs that are made, and behave in an outwardly aggressive manner toward people who dare to point out the functional flaws. This behavior becomes immediately apparent whenever anyone talks about the fact that the aluminum slab keyboards are unmitigated garbage (uh-oh, I mentioned the keyboards again), and good luck to anyone with the audacity to point out that the tapered edges of the iPad are probably the single most dysfunctional design element that, within any semblance of reason, could occur without being the laughing stock of sane people everywhere.