So the 3G version of the iPad (announced Wednesday) is still three months away, but I already have some expectations that, if met, would cause me to fork over $630 for the sucker…these expectations are realistic technology-wise, though I’m pretty sure they would require a jailbreak to get working…

1. SIP VoIP, over 3G and WiFi, with Bluetooth and in the background
I’ve successfully run phone calls over AT&T’s HSPA network, so assuming the processor on the iPad is “all that” this shouldn’t be difficult. If I can get a SIP client that connects to a Bluetooth headset and allows other applications “up front” without killing voice quality then I’ve got a very versatile system for nformation gathering while “on the phone.” This is particularly useful when you see my other requests below:

2. Full-fledged RDP, SSH and VNC clients…and either GoToMyPC or LogMeIn if at all possible
The iPad can be an excellent remote access tool; its screen has enough resolution to run any modern OS without having to scroll around. Add in the keyboard accessory and you’ve got a lovely little remote terminal that works anywhere AT&T has service (I’m talking about the 3G version here). Or any other non-AWS GSM or 3G carrier for that matter; the device is unlocked. SSH would be a godsend for doing command line heavy lifting, though you’d need a host to SSH to in this case (not a big deal for me). Even nicer, all of the above will likely be available for the iPad as App Store apps; no jailbreaking required.

3. A high-quality PDF viewer
I want a PDF viewer that can search and copy text, preferably at least as good as Preview. Yes, Preview can be outdone with PDFs…it’s not the most compatible piece of PDF reader in the world unfortunately.

4. File download capability, preferably with an FTP/SFTP client as well as your standard HTTP access
The iPad has an accessory port, and that accessory port already allows for an SD card reader and a USB port. If you could mount that USB port or SD reader as a drive letter (possible with the OS, but probably will need to be hacked) then there’s a TON of stuff you could do with the iPad, though things start to get kludgy once you realize that you can’t hook up a keyboard and a hard disk/SD card simultaneously. Hmm, maybe the keyboard dock could have a pass-through dock connector…or have an application that would use internal memory as a cache for editing files so you could unplug the drive, edit the files with the keyboard attached, then plug back in and write the files. Heck, wile I’m at it, why not let shares on AFP and SMB be mountable to the device?

5. WiFi printing
This will likely be implemented in short order as an application, though hopefully it will be available throughout the operating system. THat way I can go to a website, grab a PDF of some sort (documentation, textbook, whatever) and send it to a networked printer. No muss, no fuss.

6. Network diagnostics, both standard and wireless (including 3G)
I’m not just talking ping/traceroute/speedtest, though those would be nice. I’m talking about field-test-level stats on wireless and 3G. Why 3G? Well, for one AT&T isn’t the only 3G carrier out there, and if network engineers on smaller carriers can troubleshoot their cellular deployments on a cheap-ish, small device then maybe there will be more field testing going on. On the WiFi side, an iStumbler-esque application would be lovely, complete with a signal strength history graph, with geotagging of signals if at all possible (though this would take a toll on battery life). Heck, add the geolocation to the 3G field test if at all possible and just for kicks port WireShark to the iPad and you’ve got one powerful network analysis device in a pound-and-a-half package.

7. Voice recorder, preferably with backgrounding
I’m guessing this will be included when the iPad ships, but it would be lovely to be able to take the iPad to a lecture or an interview and use it to record the conversation. Even cooler would be an application that would combine a text editor with the voice recorder; in “review” mode you could seek through a recording by going to a place in the text notes, and the other way around.

8. OneNote-like application
Capacitative styli are available. Make an application that allows for text notes, handwriteen notes/diagrams and even voice notes all together. Great for school and for college newspaper writers like myself 🙂

9. Access to a bash shell on-device
I’m sure this will only be available when the device is jailbroken, but it would definitely be useful. A full shell, complete with nano for text editing etc., would make the iPad a lightweight BSD workstation, and who doesn’t like lightweight *nix workstations?

Sure, I’m reaching a bit for the above things, but the hardware is all there; you just have to either open up the software or make an application. There are a few subsystems that would be nice to have,a dn they might even be available inthe upcoming iPhone OS 3.2. In all honesty, I think Apple is going to have to make this device rather hackable for enough people to buy it; they’re blazing the trail for a new category of device and if they shun the “Woz box” mentality they’ll be selling very few of these things once the fanboys and their contituents finish buying (which should take about 45 days).