The next iPad: Software changes we'd like to see


: While iOS 4's multitasking shelf and quick-switch tactics were initially embraced by iPad users--one way to switch an app is better than none, after all--after a few months of use, there are definite improvements to be made. Currently, while switching between apps is doable with the multitasking shelf, the Home button double tap adds an extra level of complexity: tap too quickly, the device may not register; tap too slowly, and you'll find yourself back on the Home screen. Apple has been toying with alternatives--in its developer build of iOS 4.3, the company introduced a preview of for pulling up the multitasking shelf and direct app switching--and we would love to see these gestures (or a variation thereof) permanently implemented in a future version of the OS.

In addition, the multitasking interface itself can be clunky and confusing. The shelf shows every opened app's icon--even if it's not actively running--and if you tend not to reboot your device, that chain of icons can grow uselessly long. Instead, it would be great to see a more visual representation of open apps, á la HP's WebOS interface or Apple's Exposé.

From the , Mail has stood out as solid app that gets most of the basics right and excels at the most important tasks--viewing and composing messages, displaying attachments, and connecting reliably to nearly any e-mail server. But for the most part, it's the same Mail app you'll find on an iPhone, especially now that both devices are running . And that can be frustrating, especially for those of us who need to do more than just the basics.

The iPad's large screen and connectivity options would seem to make it an ideal device for keeping in touch on the go. But after nearly a year of iPad Mail use, we think the lack of some of the Mail-handling features we take for granted in a desktop e-mail client keeps the iPad from being as capable as it could be.