Apple iPad – Is It A Game Changer?

For me the answer is a simple yes.  Forget all of the chest beating going on by everyone that was disappointed with the name or the lack of a camera or the inability to multi-task.  Many of these things that you hear people complaining about are visions that were dreamed up by someone else with different expectations than Apple.  And to that I say, too bad.  The reality is that no device will ever please everyone.  As history will show, Apple has changed a few minds once people have had a chance to wrap their hands and heads around the true benefits of Apple technology.  When Apple released their first iPod, there were already music players on the market but the iPod became “The Device” that everyone had to measure up to, with sales of 250,000,000 devices to date.  When they decided to release a phone, it was met with great skepticism.  What does Apple know about phones?  Well, they knew enough to virtually change the world of cellular communication with the iPhone and left everyone else scrambling to catch up.  So here is my take on why this is such a game changer, on several levels.

The first person that I thought of when I saw the iPad was my mother.  She’s not especially tech savy but knows enough to get around on her computer, save pictures from her digital camera, and send emails.  All three of those functions are major highlights of the iPad.  She is also an avid reader.  Another one for the Yes column.  Movies, check, videos of the grand kids on YouTube, check.  Being able to do all the things she likes to do in one small portable device…  (I know, you are waiting for me to say “priceless” aren’t you?)  But seriously, she’s not afraid of computers but I know that she would relish being able to access new books, magazines, web content, email, and movies all from the comfort of her easy-chair.  She also likes to travel and now she doesn’t have to give those things up when she leaves her desktop computer behind and hits the road.  Game Changer!

The next people that crossed my mind were my kids.  They both own iPod Touches and they love the games.  I can’t get them to sit at a table and play a game of Monopoly but they will play a wireless version for hours.  They love games on their iPods and are constantly downloading new, free versions to play.  Seeing the new iPad run a couple of game apps during the demo yesterday I had only one thought, this is going to put a serious cramp in the PSP and DS market.  Playing games on a 3″ screen is one thing but seeing them in beautiful 1024×768 is amazing.  Oh yeah, and once again, there’s video and movies.  Can you say “peaceful road trip”?  This will take portable entertainment and gaming to the next level and beyond.  Game Changer!

Then there’s me, the photographer, author, and technoweenie.  I look at the iPad and I see nothing but potential.  By the time this thing hits the stores, Apple will probably be ready to release their OS4 and who knows what types of enhancements will be in that?  But I know that it will include more functionality, just as every other OS upgrade has.  As a photographer I am looking forward to having beautiful access to my images much like I did with the Epson P5000.  Finish shooting and then load the pics right to the iPad.  What an amazing thing to have such a huge screen in a small thin package to review my shots.  Can you imaging using the OnOne DSLR Remote iPhone app?  I can and it would be amazing.  Perhaps there will be a future app for my Eye-Fi card so I can shoot and instantly transfer my images to the iPad.  I think the surface is just being scratched by photographers using iPods and it will only get deeper with the iPad.

As an author, I am extremely excited about the whole iBook experience.  Not only will my books be even more portable but they will look amazing as the reader flips through the pages.  Now I can even include multimedia content that can enrich the text portions of the book.  So in addition to explaining how to shoot something, I can also have a link that will take them to a video, which they can watch right then and there.  Sure, there are questions about how robust the content will be but if it’s not great right out of the box in April, it will be down the road.  Can you imagine being able to carry all three versions of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography books right in your backpack and be able to reference them at will, in all of their full-color glory?  How about being a college student and being able to carry every single one of your textbooks with you on the iPad.  Imagine how it would feel to leave behind those 500 page behemoths and whip out your 1.5 pound iPad when you need to read up on a subject.  You may not be able to do it yet, but it’s just a matter of time.  Game Changer!

Is everyone going to own an iPad, absolutely not.  It isn’t going to satisfy the power-computing needs of the modern techno-geek, but it will be a raving success with the common man who just wants it to work without needing to call the Geek Squad.  Only time will tell how much the game will be changed by the iPad, but if you doubt it’s impact, just think back to a time before there were iPods and iPhones and then take a look at where we are now.  You may not think it’s better, but it certainly has changed!

If you haven’t seen them yet, here’s the link to the iPad site (watch the video to see it in action)

and here’s the link to Steve Jobs’ Keynote during the unveiling.


  1. You nailed it. This is an iPod Touch for the elderly.

    I’ll stick to using netbooks until multitasking is added.

  2. I agree, I thought of my parents and my daughter also.

    Just one thing though, no camera for skype calls, which we use everyday (grandparents to grand kids, we’re on one side of the world, they on the other). we live in new times, people venture far from the village now.

    I wonder if they (or Griffin) can make a third party device to plug into it? I think a lot of people would want this.

    • Peter, you can use Skype to make calls but just not video calls. I have the Skype app for my iPod Touch and it works great for voice calls using a iPhone type earplug set. The type with the microphone built in. The iPad has a built in mic so I see no reason that this wouldn’t work.

  3. I agree with all you said. One vision I have is of a Lightroom or Photoshop app where you can use your finger on the iPad like a Wacom tablet . . .

  4. Is it an iPod Touch or a iPad nano now?

    Let’s hope as photographers that someone develops for it that will allow RAW file import some processing. Take a hint Adobe!

  5. Jeff, I see some of what you’re saying but…

    What happens when your Mom loses the usb and/or SD dongles needed to upload the pictures to the iPad? What happens when your Mom/kids run out of space for all their games/photos (especially if you’re uploading full resolution or RAW)? 16GB really isn’t much. I know part of the answer is to buy one with more storage capacity, but then that eliminates the appeal of the $499 price point.

    Personally, I’m looking at the iPad and the only thing I see that looks cool to me is the iBook feature. I’m not a mobile gamer, so the rest of the features being advertised to me I can do just fine with a $200 netbook. Maybe I’m just disillusioned by the extraordinary hype that preceded the announcement, only to be shown an iPod Touch XL.

  6. If it had come with a built-in USB plug, it would have made better sense as an image/video/whatever receptacle.

    Plus, it’s not a widescreen – testers have only been able to view videos and movies in 4:3/old-TV format.

    Anything that you buy in iTunes on the iPad cannot be transferred to other devices in any way except over the internet, and to my knowledge, it only runs applications that are available in the Apps Store.

    I’ll be waiting until the 2.0 version, but you’re right, Jeff – it is a game changer. Goodbye Kindle, unless it’s price is reduced!

  7. On a lighter note, Hitler responds to the iPad:

    And before anyone takes offense, I have a lot of German friends and in-laws who thought the clip was hilarious. Haven’t tested the Austrian response yet!

  8. Jeff-

    Thanks for being one of the few to praise the product and not complain about the same 4 things everyone else is saying (multi-tasking, camera, etc..) I don’t think the iPad can be properly judged until the developers have had some time to work on apps. They did amazing things with the iPhone, considering its screen size. I think the large screen will make these new apps exponentially better. We’re moving into “the Jetsons” territory now. A slim flat pad that can do just about everything.

  9. For $350 you can get a real nice Netbook that has a webcam, multitasks runs a “full” operating system that we can run “real” apps, heck you can do that for $250.

    4:3 screen?!?! are we going back in time?

    My Nexus One runs at 1GHZ and can do everything this HUGE ipod touch can do.


  10. It’s indeed just a huge iPod Touch. A lot have just called this new product from Apple an “iFail”. No camera, inability to multi-task and it doesn’t support Flash.

    • I find it funny that everyone keeps saying that the iPad fails to live up to the hype. The thing is that the “hype” wasn’t created by Apple, it was created by pundits that placed their own expectations on what they believed the device should be. Here’s the reality, Apple set out to challenge two different products, the netbook and the eReader (Kindle). To that end, they have successfully met those goals. Netbooks are underpowered little laptops whose main purpose is web and email. The iPad is way better at each of those tasks. As far as the eReader goes, the iPad book viewing is far superior to any e-ink technology like that used in the Kindle and Sony eReader. As for not supporting Flash, the reality is that Flash is a dying technology thanks to HTML5, which is the next version of HTML and natively plays multimedia without the aid of plug-ins. Apple may include Flash and multi-tasking in the next version of the iPhone OS, ver 4, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t, at least where Flash in concerned. After all, they were the first to remove floppy disk readers from their laptops and that worked out pretty well. Also, once developers start making apps for the iPad, there’s no telling where it will go. One thing is certain, every electronic device that is similar in form factor will work to meet or surpass Apple’s iPad and that can only be a good thing. Just look at where the cellphone has gone since the introduction of the iPhone.

  11. Multitasking is great…but do i REALLY REALLY REALLY need to check my emails at the same time as i’m surfing? I’m not really a busy guy that i have to do everything at once. I know it’ll be more satisfying to watch a movie on the iPad than the iPhone. I don’t get the whole lot of people complaining that the iPhone does more. Yeah…but try reading Lord of the Rings on the iPhone.

    My vision is using it for client presentations. I have wedding slideshows that i show my clients when i meet ’em at Starbucks. Now imagine i just carry an ipad and maybe headphones…give them the pad and have them play the slideshows. That’s a sale that’ll cover the cost of the iPad.

  12. Where as the iPad looks truly cool and innovated I doubt I’d use it as an e-reader. There are many who want a ebook reader in color, or that is backlit like a computer screen, for me that’s the last thing I’d like – reading on a computer is a huge eye strain for me the contrast is wrong and I don’t want my fonts to be in color. The sony e-book and the Kindle work fine for me, they look like I’m reading a “dead tree” book, which is what my eye’s (and most are c peoples eyes) omfortable with. Jeff, you say the iPad viewing is far superior than an e-ink device – are you saying that as an author (I do own your books) or as a reader? and have you used one of the e-ink devices for long enough to get used to the refresh rate (takes about a full day for many people)? I am only trying to understand what you are making your comparison to. I don’t dispute your contention that the iPad will blow any netbook out of the water having used one myself and knowing what Apple is capable of, but I am just wondering if you’ve got a baseline to compare the book reader portion to.

    • I have used a Kindle, and while it is good for standard novels, it fails miserably on any book with photos and illustrations. So many of the books that I read are not novels but books on photography. Also, think past books to magazines. Finally there will be a way to read e-published magazines that look like the printed versions. If your only goal is to read printed novels then you are probably going to be very satisfied with a Kindle. Also, if you look at the functions compared to product prices, you get more bang for the buck with the iPad. A large Kindle reader sells for $489. Add a netbook and you are up to about $620. Now throw in an MP3 player and you could be somewhere in the $730 range. A 16GB iPad is $499 or $629 for the 3G version.

      • I agree that the Ipad looks great – and i really want one. It will be great (among other things) to show off my portfolio. The sad part is that Ibooks will not be available outside the US! (selected countries apple say – I would doubt it that tiny little Norway is one of them…).

        This is the same story we have had with movies and TV shows on Itunes for a long time, and I guess that is the reason nobody buys an Apple TV here in Norway.

        On the other hand: with a Kindle I get instant access to 350.000 books right here and right now. It is about time that Apple recognizes there are indeed people living outside the US too… And mind you in Norway people have virtually stopped buying compact cameras as we all buy DSLRs – do you hear me Apple – we love technology and we do have money!

  13. But Skype with video is by far and away the best thing about Skype. I too have Skype on the ipod touch but never use it. Audio calls only, meh, why bother. this is the 21st century not the 19th. Video calls are the killer part about Skype. I mean, we’ve opened our Christmas presents together for the last couple of years with Skype. Can’t do that on audio only. And if it’s because AT&T don’t want to use unlimited bandwidth on voip. Make it Wifi only. I only want a wifi pad anyway, there’s no 3G where I am in Asia and it’s not likely to appear any time soon. But I do have a US iTunes account so will use it for iBooks.

    I’ll still get one for my daughter as I believe the iPad will become a fantastic tool for education.

  14. Thanks for thinking of me and when and if I get one I’ll expect you to teach me what I need to know go make it work for me.

  15. im loving the ipad personally. what do you think of it now? was it upto your standards?

  16. i am planning to buy an iPad since it looks lighter than a regular desknote and i don not use much of the features of a laptop.`~’


  1. Alltop says:

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  6. Jeff Revell says:

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