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.