As the Apple hate machine continues to churn out thousands of reasons the iPad sucks, only a couple have really been worth worrying about. The biggest shortcoming in my mind, is the lack of a front facing camera.
It seems every Apple product these days – even the iPod Nano – has a camera on it. It would seem only logical to have a camera on the iPad. Perhaps the camera was left out intentionally to meet the price goal of $499, but I still think they missed a giant opportunity here. The way I see it in my mind, is I am sitting on my living room couch, watching the news and my iPad is on the coffee table. The iPad dings to alert me that I’m receiving an incoming Skype call. I slide to unlock the tablet, answer the call and just that easily I am video chatting with Kyle, who called to see if I want to hang out.
There is no real reason why that particular conversation would require video chat, however the futuristic feel to it would be such a seller for the iPad. The iPad would have plenty of hardware speed and network bandwidth over 802.11n for it, making it probably one of the first truly portable video phone devices that isn’t simply a video phone. Everyone would have an iPad, so everyone would get the benefit of being able to video chat.
However this brings me to my next point, and the reason why I have decided not to get an iPad, at least not for a while. According to MacRumors, Steve Jobs has said the next iPhone update will be “A+”. My anonymous personal sources have confirmed the obvious; there is a new iPhone coming out this summer, but they wont confirm anything else. Endgaget is reporting that iPhone OS 3.2 will include support for video chat, among other things. These two things when combined with Apple’s opening the 3G network to VOIP programs might hint at a forward facing camera for video chat on the next iPhone. This would be huge. Video chat would be cool on the iPad, but it would be really awesome on the iPhone. This is pretty much the only reason I can see for not including a camera on the iPad.