I've long assumed that the iPad would eventually replace paper for the majority of day-to-day tasks. While that hasn't happened yet, and faltering sells figures might suggest that it will never happen, I'm still confident that it's almost inevitable.
Larger and smaller iPads have increased the usefulness of the platform. The iPad mini is a near perfect web and social media browsing device and the iPad Pro has expanded the range of content that can easily be created with iOS to near Mac levels.
However, to replace paper the iPad might have to possess a few more paper-like qualities.
Glass is not an easy surface to write on
Even after an entire year of using the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, I struggle to write with the precision of pen and paper. I need friction, not excessive friction, but just enough to stop the small slides that annoy me. I'm genuinely surprised that Apple didn't give the larger iPad Pro a textured glass surface, or at least, provide it as an option.
How to you compete with the battery life of a sheet of paper?
E-ink displays, such as those featured in the recently announced reMarkable tablet, offer almost limitless battery life, but with massive caveats. The refresh rate isn't fast enough for anything other than static content and current E-ink displays are black and white only. Clearly, an iPad with an E-ink display just wouldn't be an iPad as we know it.
One solution might be to embed the E-ink display into a new Smart Cover, one that would connect to the Smart Connector. The entire surface of the Smart Cover (let's call it the Smart Paper Cover) would be a responsive, high contrast, E-ink display. The cover would be entirely reversible so as to allow the E-ink display to be used as a secondary display, when open, or a (limited) primary display, when closed.
This solution would solve two important problems currently facing the iPad. It would dramatically increase the notetaking capability of the iPad, plus give it Kindle-like battery life for reading content.
Would this solution be handy to you? Let me know in a comment below.