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Three things I want to see in the 2017 iPad Pro

As someone who's used a 12.9" iPad Pro as my primary computer since its release in November 2015, I've spent more than enough time with the device to know what I'd like in a second version. Thus, the recent buzz around a refreshed iPad lineup is welcome news and I'm excited to see what happens.

With this sentiment in mind, here are three things I'd like to see from the reportedly forthcoming iPad Pros.

A True Tone display on the Big Pro

Like with Apple Watch Series 2, I never reviewed the 9.7" iPad Pro released last spring because I was content with what I had. That said, the tablet's True Tone display has intrigued me from an accessibility perspective.

Having played with the smaller Pro at Apple Stores, I find True Tone technology makes the screen easier to read and more pleasing on my eyes.

On the big Pro I use, I employ such tricks as Reduce White Point and especially Night Shift during evening hours to adjust the display's appearance for the simple reason that it mitigates eye strain and fatigue.

Given how much we all stare at screens all day, it's important for me as a visually impaired person to conserve as much visual energy as I possibly can. Both Reduce White Point and Night Shift help me do so with aplomb, but True Tone would be a great addition. Not only would it make the screen look nicer, it'd be another tool with which I can save precious energy to work every day.

A Caps Lock indicator light on the Smart Keyboard

Contrary to a lot of people I know in the Apple journalism racket, I actually like Apple's Smart Keyboard. It's a great all-in-one solution that has some distinct advantages over something like the Magic Keyboard (also great) for typing.

Alas, the biggest bugaboo with the current iteration of the Smart Keyboard is its lack of an indicator light on the Caps Lock key. It's highly annoying, and I'm hoping Apple can find a way to put one in the next edition of the Smart Keyboard.

Having a Caps Lock indicator light is more than just convenient. In terms of accessibility, the light is an important secondary cue that (a) I hit the key; and (b) caps are either on or off. I can feel when I hit Caps Lock, but the fact a "traditional" keyboard (like the Magic Keyboard) has a little light indicating status is a crucial visual aid. The double dose of sensory input goes a long way in helping me ensure I'm doing the right thing. For me, that's a big deal.

Accessibility concerns aside, another reason I'd love a Caps Lock light is it'd sure help me cut down on typos. I use the Smart Keyboard often, and I've lost count at how many times I inadvertently write something liKE THIS because I can't tell whether Caps Lock is engaged or not. Even Caps Lock on the iPad's virtual keyboard goes from gray to white when in use. Put simply, the lack of a Caps Lock light on the Smart Keyboard is the bane of my writing-on-the-iPad existence.

A Big Pro in a Small Package

The rumor Apple will introduce a 10.5" iPad Pro is the one I'm most hoping becomes reality.

For as much as I adore the 12.9" iPad Pro for its giant screen, I admit the device's physical size makes it somewhat unwieldy to hold. Obviously, its ginormous size isn't a deal breaker for me, but there's no getting around the fact the Big Pro is a beast.

A big-screened, thin and light iPad is incredibly appealing.

I would love to have a big screen iPad in a form factor more akin to the 9.7" Pro. To me, such a device would be the "Goldilocks iPad": just right. Theoretically at least, a 10.5" iPad would combine the Big Pro's screen size and resolution with its little brother's form factor. It sure seems like it would be the best of both worlds, and the next iPad Pro I would most likely switch to. I'd be delighted with this device.

Of course, this 10.5" iPad isn't a real thing today—at least to people not working at One Infinite Loop. But if reports are indeed true, I'll be very excited to see the thing and test it.

Fortunately, March is here. We may not have to wait long until Apple shows us what's next with iPad (and the software it runs).

Steven is a freelance tech writer who specializes in iOS Accessibility. He also writes at Steven's Blog and co-hosts the @accessibleshow podcast. Lover of sports.

54 Comments
  • An icon grid appropriately spaced for an iPad screen and not simply scaled up from an iPhone. It really looks horrendous on all iPads, but especially on the Biggie Pro.
  • I'd like to see home screen given some organization options. Some similar to Fences by StarDock. You can fit a lot of icons on that screen, but a forced linear arrangement doesn't make sense. http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/
  • USB 3.0 speeds on the smaller version would be welcomed...
  • The only way you'd be able to get Apple's calculator app on an iPad would be through jailbreak. I use Calcbot on both my iPhone and iPad
  • I know it's not for free but you can install PCalc on it. Very very powerful and complete calculator.
  • It's more an iOS thing than an iPad Pro thing, but still... a file system, plz! Save PSDs locally and open them back up again and organize them in folders! It's really my #1 thing.
  • Oh easy. I want 3D touch on it. As much as iPhone compatibility with the Apple Pencil...
  • A Mouse! (Word processing)
  • Buy a Mac.
  • For word processing, devices with 3D touch have the ability to 3D touch the keyboard and use it as a trackpad on text fields. I wouldn't want to see a mouse come to the iPad, but definitely the 3D touch feature
  • Swipe with two fingers on the iPad keyboard to summon the cursor. Sent from the iMore App
  • I want iOS devices to have a 'Pro' mode. Where I get some of the shackles removed and access to at least part of the filesystem.
  • Me too. Since 2007. It'll never happen under Cook. Imagine if Woz were given a new Pro division; hardware, software, OS & services. Sent from the iMore App
  • On a big screen like the 12.9" Pro I would really want a better home screen. As an example, It would be great to add widgets for quick viewing of important information coupled with some type of app locker were within you can categorize the various apps. Not sure if this would work but give me a better utilization of the nice big screen.
  • Windows 10 ?
  • On an iPad, an Apple product? What are you smoking?
  • You might as well just leave now.
  • The iPad Pro needs better software. The current hardware can handle it. Apple just needs to commit to it. Sent from the iMore App
  • That's the catch 22 of the iPad, software devs half-bake their software bc no one is buying iPads for work/pro, but no one is buying iPads for work/pro bc the software is under developed! Bluebeam Revu is my perfect example: industry standard for PC, barely usable for iPad; still doesn't support the 12.9" native res, no native Pencil, no split-screen, but has been updated many times since Nov 2015. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'd like to see if they can find a way to implement 3D Touch. I think on a tablet it can be more useful then on a phone
  • Definitely!
  • It seems like everyone is having complaints about software, and I think that Apple should address this. It would be nice if iPhone and iPad ran different versions of iOS... Call them iPad OS, and iPhone OS for the sake of sticking with the current branding scheme. They wouldn't have to be THAT different, but different enough to make it more that just a big iPhone. Now, this isn't WWDC we're waiting on here, so I think what I would really like to see made different on the next generation iPad Pro would be the iPhone 7's home button (or lack there of), improoved water resistance, and reduced bezel size. I don't think those are too outlandish, so who knows. my 12.9" Pro was the best money I have ever spent, so whatever apple comes up with in Vol. II will be on my wishlist.
  • I don't think I'd want to see a different version of iOS for the iPad, I mean they can implement things that are iPad specific due to needing the big screen, but for general new features (i.e. filesystem access) I'd like to see that come to iOS as a whole
  • How about a mouse. Don't want to be forced to jailbreak my iPad just to use a mouse on it. Some say you don't need it, maybe so but the Only reason it doesn't come with iPad is Apple is afraid it will keep people from buying their laptops. Once you use iPad with mouse you will want it.
  • He, I do not even use a mouse on my Macs - all touch pads. And while I would use a pencil, I don't see how a mouse would help.
  • That's completely wrong, Apple aren't "afraid". The reason that the iPad doesn't have a mouse is the same reason the Mac doesn't have a touchscreen; the iOS interface is designed for touch and wouldn't work with a mouse. The macOS interface on the same note is designed for a mouse and wouldn't work with a touchscreen. I definitely don't want a mouse on the iPad, however I would like the keyboard trackpad text selection feature that comes with 3D touch on the iPhone
  • Do you know about putting two fingers on the iPad keyboard and moving them around to move the text cursor? It sounds like your 3D touch text selection from the iPhone request :) I just showed someone yesterday and they were delighted.
  • I wasn't sure if this was available on the iPad, so that's good. The iPad definitely doesn't need mouse support then
  • I would like a cursor arrow to appear on the iPad screen if I connected a mouse. I don't think this will ever happen but I can identify two use cases that would benefit: Some iPad software was originally designed to work on traditional computers with a mouse, and has to make do with awkward touch gestures to more-or-less mimic the original mouse interactions in their iPad version. Natively supporting a mouse would improve these. But it's a niche case. The other mousing situation is when the iPad is propped on a stand and using an external keyboard and software like MS Office, a mouse is less disruptive for this work than leaning in to touch the screen. It's the traditional computer use-case, but without the complexity of swapping between computing devices.
  • If you want a mouse, then you should buy a Mac. The whole reason behind having a diverse device lineup is to cover various functionality on specific devices. If the iPad had a mouse or trackpad, then it would basically be a Mac with a VERY limited OS. It's just like if you want to have a camera on the back of your laptop so that you can take pictures with it. There is no need for that because you have a phone with a camera built in. It would be stupid to carry around a laptop just to take photos with. Just like how it would be stupid to implement a mouse on a device that is meant to make the computer experience more portable.
  • Hard Drive support or a dongle and some kind of file system software to go with is all I wish for. It's the only thing that stops me from making my iPad Pro 12.9 my everyday driver. No Hard Drive support. I would also say Localhost support but Hard Drive support is more realistic.
  • Well lucky for you there is a universal file system that you can use on all of your electronic devices. It's called "The Cloud."
  • Well, people give me their files on USB sticks or external HDDs/SSDs. Never received a single business document through "The Cloud". And I really do not want to – my private iCloud account is not something I want to share with anybody at work. I can live without a "full" file system on the iPad Pro, but definitely need a mean to transfer files from external drives to it. As long as this doesn't work, it is not the suitable replacement for a laptop that it could be.
  • Technically, you can use the Lightning to USB adapter, plugged into a powered USB hub, connect to a USB flash drive. At least it used to work, maybe they crippled it even further. Can't go directly into the adapter, they crippled the power output so it can't even power the thumb drive (I've tried it). Also, I assume it must be fat4 or whatever thumb drives use, can't read a windows or Mac hdd, afaik. I'm not sure what software one would use to r/w to the volume, I'm sure there's something... Documents by Readdle, maybe, that's pretty powerful. Sent from the iMore App
  • On the iphone, and ipad these are what I use to access files on external USB drives, external hard drives and SD cards.
    RAVPower filehub
    https://www.imore.com/e?link=https2F2Fr.cfm%3F...
    You can use the free app which comes with this but FileBrowser
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/filebrowser-access-files-on-remote-compu...
    works better than the RAV app The filehub and the app work well together
  • Once a device crosses the 8" threshold, it doesn't matter if the device has a bezel or not or how big, it's not gonna fit in your pocket any way. And bezels will make the device more wieldly. Specially since it has no kickstand. What i am willing spend some money is an ipadpromini 7.9" with no side bezels in portrait mode ( just like note 7). So that it can fit most pockets and become a great Moleskine replacement.
  • I must say, that's a pretty silly wish list. Seriously? A caps-lock light? There hasn't been a keyboard with a caps-lock light since the 1980s. Shrunk bezels? Have you tried to hold the iPad lately? What we need is something that takes advantage of the pencil and the bigger screen, a "pro" version of the OS/interface itself. Floating windows of some sort would be nice. And obviously, you could do 3D-touch emulation with the pressure from the pencil.
  • Bad news... My Apple Magic Keyboard has a light on the caps-lock key. They still exist but it's not something we need on the iPad because you can just hook up the Apple Magic Keyboard through bluetooth to the device.
  • I had one on my MacBook Air, but I think the little up-arrow in the text field would be fine.
  • "There hasn't been a keyboard with a caps-lock light since the 1980s" Huh? The newest MacBook Pro has a caps-lock light…
  • A proper split view.
    It's a pain to use even though it's a Pro feature.
  • Could Xcode come to at least the 12.9" iPad Pro? If it does I'll buy the new one, if not I'll keep my 3 month old one. Sent from the iMore App
  • I really like the smart keyboard too. It's actually very nice to type on, and I'm pretty particular about keyboards. Just has a nice click on the fingers.
  • Three things I want: -USBC with fast charge -3D Touch -iOS Needs to be more "pro" on the iPad. Floating windows, app drawer, ability to place icons freely on the screen, file system, Widgets on home screen, better notification system like android's.
  • Access to a file system! I know they can do it. Being able to connect USB sticks and hardrives, and even a mouse.
  • I would love to see an evolution of iOS's file system. It would be so helpful for office productivity to be able to manipulate files more easily. Sent from the iMore App
  • Most of the suggestions seem to be asking for iOS to ape macOS's structure and I'm not sure that's the answer. My main problem with iOS on the iPad is flow. I'm OK with working on one app on screen at a time, but I need to be able to move more seamlessly/quickly from app to app. One possibility is repurposing the 5-finger pinch gesture that currently returns you to springboard. Since that operation is already handled by the home button, this could be a more robust app switcher. I'd love to see a variant that includes an automatic clipboard so I can move assets around more freely. My reticence to making it like macOS is that I don't feel the form factor is conducive to the same interaction models. Let's see how far we can push iOS (or iPadOS), rather than regression to mouse/keyboard/window mechanics. I don't want the specific implementation details of macOS; I want its flow. I *would* like to see iCoud Drive integration improved. Again, not necessarily like macOS, but in a way that I can easily save and move files between different apps and people. Perhaps the answer is tags/metadata instead of files/folders. All apps know the file-types they can handle so those are what they can see. All files could go into one large bucket and drawn upon by anything that is able to draw upon them. I'm sure Apple's UX folks can come up with some novel ways of attacking this problem.
  • Regarding app switching, iPad already has one with 4 finger swipe. Use 4 fingers and swipe left and right to switch apps.
  • What I'm suggesting is more of a Mission Control type system, keeping in mind that Apple already had Exposé on macOS when Mission Control was introduced. On iOS, where they don't encourage quitting apps, it would be even more powerful to be able to quickly jump to a particular app rather than swiping a dozen times. The second part of my recommendation was that clipboard be upgraded (and perhaps made automatic to include whatever "object" you were last manipulating), to encourage asset manipulation across several apps.
  • Sheesh, if you want the file system to be more MacOS-like, and you want floating windows, and all that stuff, get a MacBook Pro. Stop trying to take one thing and make it another.
  • That's what the 3.5 and 4 inchers said about the rumours of a larger screen iPhone. And guess what? They were all WRONG! As you are as well. The current user interface is designed for a ten year old phone. Processor speed has increased significantly and the device is now ready to take on more productivity roles rather than just media consumption. Once a better filing system is in place you will see the iPad taking up more duties at the workplace and Mr. Cook recently stated that he wants to address the Pro market better.
  • One thing I want to see is a release date.
  • For those of us with a visual impairment, one of the features that needs overhauling is invert colours. There needs to be more flexibility in the choice of foreground colours as well as the way it interacts with graphics and video. When turned on this feature makes videos and graphics, including app graphics look like a film negative. What I would like to see is a scheme that gives you a dark mode whilst enabling you to watch videos as they were intended.
  • The iOS copy-on-share app-based file access paradigm did a great job of abstracting the file system to simplify file usage on iOS. But file-sharing workflows require a horrendous number of touch events and your intra-workflow files are left scattered throughout the various apps. The iCloud folder structure basically makes a single shared file system available to all apps, it would be great if they just excised this from iCloud and made the folder local to the iPad with optional sync to your preferred cloud vendor. Or, improve iCloud until it is superior to DropBox and OneDrive. Including support for local network sync between devices, and ability to mark files/folders as 'Make available offline'. And a free tier that provides unlimited space for photos or videos created on the iPhone.