Apple iPad: Will the iPhone be a companion device?

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The Apple iPad wasn’t something that no-one expected when it was released recently by Steve Jobs, at least the hardware itself. The Internet rumor mills were already speculating long before how Apple’s tablet would look like a larger version of the iPhone. So no, that was’t really a surprise at all.

However, how it works was another matter altogether! From what I’ve seen so far in videos posted in the Internet, the iPad has the potential to revolutionize how we get things done on a daily basis.

I’m not going to blabber too much on how great (or bad) the iPad is as announced. To sum up what I’ve initially thought of the iPad, here’s Joe Hewitt’s views on his blog post of the iPad. And if you’ve no idea who he is, think Facebook for the iPhone. I’m also not going to list down all the features that’s been announced by Apple, for that, you may just hop over to Apple’s website and check them out there.

Here instead are some features that I’d like to see on the iPad leveraging on the iPhone as a companion device.

1. Seamless Internet tethering with an iPhone

Sure, you can perhaps get the 3G version of the iPad to get online when you’re not within any Wi-Fi connectivity. However, since most potential iPad owners would most likely already have an iPhone as well, why not allow us to leverage on the Internet tethering of the iPhone to get connected on the iPad? It would surely be cool to be able to just have the iPad detect the nearby iPhone (with Bluetooth enabled) and get seamlessly connected!

It’s not that the Wi-Fi + 3G model is too expensive. It’s just that not all of us would like to maintain 2 separate 3G data-plan. Especially if the plan sucks and merely doubles your bill. Otherwise, perhaps a mobile Wi-Fi router with 3G data connectivity might be a better companion device to have so that I can maintain a single data-plan for ALL my mobile devices.

2. Getting location information from an iPhone

It also looks like the Wi-Fi only iPad does not include a GPS chip. And without the GPS chip, you would not be able to get those cool location-based services and applications working as designed on the iPad, such as Maps and perhaps even those location-based social-computing apps like Gowalla, or Foursquare. But whatever the reason why you’d want to location informations on the iPad, it would also be cool to have those information gets transmitted over from the iPhone. The iPad’s OS is based on the iPhone, so it already does support location services.

3. Using the iPhone’s camera as a webcam

Why not? Perhaps Apple would release a bluetooth webcam specifically for the iPad. But why not also have the ability to stream over video from the iPhone over to the iPad as a webcam. That way, you can truly then skype and chat WITH video conferencing! You could also do cool stuff like remotely capturing photos from the iPhone. I know there already are apps in AppStore that does this, but native support is always better. 🙂

I believe there are much more possibilities in having the iPhone as a companion device to the iPad. If you’ve any other ideas, please do share them here. It’ll be great to see how wonderful the iPhone OS can potentially be.

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