On this day, where Amazon announced that eBooks are now outselling hardcover books, we thought it was appropriate to demystify the iPad for those who haven't already picked one up and put it on Craiglist.
What doesn't the iPad do?
- It's not a computer
- It doesn't make phone calls
- You can't install Microsoft Office on it
- You can't insert a USB stick into it
- You can't attach a projector to it (old-school huddle around or attach to computer)
- You can't use more than one app at a time - so no playing a radio app in the background while experimenting with another app.
- You can't view Adobe Flash content on it - so if you're browsing a website that uses flash, you'll just see a small blue box that doesn't do much of anything.
Ok, what does the iPad do?
- It allows you to read digital books
- It allows you to carry thousands of books with you on one small device
- You can surf the internet
- You can check your emails
- You can load and play your music through iTunes
- You can easily browse your photographs on a nice 8 x 12" screen
- You can watch video files you've transferred to the hard drive and browse YouTube
- You can access Apple's app store and all the features, games and tools that third party developers dream up
- You can do all these things from the comfort of a couch rather than in front of a computer.
Why do I need one?
- The present model has a fair amount of redundancy if you already own an apple mac, apple iPhone and apple iPod. It comes in a portable package bigger than the iPhone but performs fairly similar functions as an iPhone or one of the later video-enabled iPod touches.
- You can't save, print or project standard word processor, spreadsheet or presentation documents so it won't replace your netbook or laptop. But you can take it to places, like the back of the car to entertain the kids or to a client dinner to showcase some cool things your company has created.
There are other eReaders available, and mostly the eBooks you buy can be transferred across eReaders, but the others aren't internet enabled and don't have access to apple's industry-leading app store.
It's worth investigating, particularly as Amazon have just announced that the Kindle online books are now outselling traditional paperbacks.
The device lends itself to managing multiple electronics such as a conference room digital input manager or home network manager; it could even work well as a handheld video conferencing device if it was manufactured with an inbuilt camera. But no, we'll have to wait until fan bois and early adopters have helped apple recoup the set up costs buying iPad 1.0 before there's a version that will tick more boxes for us professionals to need.