The Apple iPad has been on the market for a week. In that time, it has been both praised and condemned. Those who have grabbed one have been called lemmings, sheep, and just plain stupid. After spending extended time with the iPad, I believe it to be a game changer. No, it doesn’t replace a netbook. It isn’t a laptop killer. It does, however, establish something that Apple has proven to be expert at: evolution that benefits the user.
I’ve been asked on multiple occasions, “why do you like the iPad?” At first, I really couldn’t say, specifically, what it was that made me so giddy to pick it up and turn it on. Now that some time has gone by, I have a good idea about how important this new device might be…
The iPad redefines how we as individuals and groups use the Internet and share content. In that regard, it’s nearly perfect. It also can redefine how many types of individuals and industries use lightweight hand-held computing devices. If you focus your attention in that area alone, the iPad is not ideal – at least not yet.
Too many devices today try to do things that relate to “functions” or “applications.” In fact, in many cases, the things that people complain about in terms of features are things they already have, or, better put, that aren’t really important (yet) to the iPad. A camera is a perfect example. Could you use a camera in an iPad for a variety of things? Sure, but to do so, the applications and how users interact with the device would take on an entirely new level of complexity and support.
The iPad is so remarkable because it does specific things so well. It’s bright. It’s fast (relatively). And, it draws the user in. No mice. Just tap. Tap and watch. Tap and read. It’s bright, clear, focused, and uniquely pleasant.
It doesn’t feel like a computer. And in that regard, it will be attractive to ordinary people – kids, parents, teachers, trainers, business people, designers, sales people, and so on. Grandparents will delight in its simplicity and ease of enjoyment. Photo galleries are stunning in quality. Videos are crisp and HD movies look terrific.
I would also like to end some confusion for those PC fanboys out there that don’t understand products designed for people and harp on misinformation so they feel better about themselves:
1. I can print from the iPad (network printing).
2. I can share files with my Mac or PC via the iPad.
3. I can create and manage a file structure for the iPad.
4. The iPad (and iPhone) are multi-tasking capable. The limitations are intentional, temporary, and oriented around quality product development and usability. See iPhone OS V4 for an update on that.
5. It isn’t a slate PC. Bill Gates proved that nobody wants one. Apple sold more iPads in the first week than slate PCs have been sold in a decade. Ouch.
6. Apple is expert at marketing 101, 201, 301, and beyond. So, expect the iPad, as with every Apple product, to evolve.
There are plenty of reasons to not purchase an iPad. I guess the key reason I’ve written this blog entry is because it is so remarkably cool for content creators – and that’s what we do. Create content.
It is important that anyone who uses an iPad “get it” as well. So, here’s a test: Go to an Apple Store or visit with a friend that has an iPad. Visit the BBC news website. It looks like a fairly standard newspaper website. Now, launch the BBC iPad app. What happens? It loads faster. It is far easier to navigate. The video clips are built into the stories – it’s totally Minority Report – but it’s happening now. If the iPad version of the BBC isn’t more appealing, don’t buy an iPad.
So, what does this have to do with a creative media publisher?
It opens a new door for us. We can share our work with clients more easily. We can improve our work in the field. We’re already using our iPads as slates for each take in video production. We have a teleprompter app that runs beautifully on the iPad. Our presentations, all created in Keynote on a Mac look great – and I can show the presentation to a group of three or four, or, using the RGB connector, can show it to a room of 200 people.
Most importantly, we don’t feel like we’re using a computer when we pick up the iPad. It’s more akin to using a television, or – and this sounds silly – like diving into a good book – and no, I’m now saying it’s like “reading a book” because it’s more than that. What the iPad does better than anything I’ve seen in my 30 years of creating software, video, websites and so on -Â is share content. And for content creators, ranging from our boutique firm to a major newspaper or magazine, that’s good news.