I didn’t talk about hardware at all in my iPad wish list from earlier in the week because none of my complaints about the iPad 2’s form factor seemed as pressing as the changes I’d like to see in the software. Now that the third iteration of the device is here (announced just today), with a high definition Retina Display, a much improved camera, and 4G LTE connectivity.
That’s all fine and good, and to be sure I will buy one if only out of professional duty. But there’s one major hardware change that I now realize that I do really long for: a reduced bezel.
Across all its models, the iPad bezel has had to strike a tricky balance between providing a grabbable area for the user’s hands, housing the innards of the device, and aesthetically framing the screen. The original iPad’s bezel was thick but excusable, as that version was something entirely new. Its successor was essentially unchanged, but Apple did a beautiful job reducing the depth of the device itself in that model.
Following that trend, I fully expected that in its third revision Apple’s designers would turn their attention to the bezel, minimizing it or at least reducing its width by twenty percent or so. Obviously that didn’t happen, probably due to the demands of the Retina Display and battery.
The reason I’m focused on this is that, to be frank, I find the iPad to be harder to hold than it should be. The screen size itself is great, but the added girth of the bezel always seems superfluous and even cumbersome when using the device on a crowded subway. I don’t want a smaller screen though; If I could keep the existing screen size but just pull in the overall width and height of the device by a few centimeters, it would be a meaningful improvement. Next model, I guess.