The All-New Apple Ipad : Emperor’s New Clothes, Or The Re-Invention of Portable Computing?

Wow. So after much consternation, prediction and hype, the Apple Ipad has Finally landed. 

The Specs were widely predicted, but in the end, rumours of an OLED display were incorrect, while it comes in 16G, 32G, and 64G capacities, with support for 720 telly, but sadly NO flash. It’s been described as essentially an oversized iphone, and so anyone familiar with the existing apple smartphone offering should find its’ 9.7 inch touchscreen interface pretty familiar, and far more expansive, while the 160,000 apps available for the iphone will no doubt be adapted and added to for this gizmo.
Probably equally important, if not more so, was the announcement by Steve Jobs of an Apple ibooks store, which is envisioned to revolutionise the print publishing industry in the same way iTunes changed music consumption. The new tablet and store will utilise an “epub” form – a free and open e-book standard. While it the latter comes as a welcome relief for writers hoping for a future for the industry, personally, I’m doubtful whether this latest must-have accessory is going to be the “kindle-killer” that it clearly hopes to be. Since it doesn’t use the “e-paper” technology of other e-readers, using it will become heavy on the eyes after several hours of reading.
Meanwhile, it’s clearly also aimed at the Netbook market, as a cross between a lightweight laptop and smartphone. However, the rather difficulty of tapping away on-screen means that a keyboard doc has been produced for those who wish to type extensively, pictured thus:

The keyboard itself is similar to that of the sleek-looking kind already offered with full-sized Macs, but the problem for me is that A) It looks delicate, and ready to be snapped or damaged, as does the large touch-screen which cannot be protected from scratches by folding the gizmo shut, and B) It takes away the all-in-one nature of this object which purports to be the gadget to end all gadgets. 

On the plus side, I can see the ipad being a great outlet for games developers, who are already thriving on the Iphone Apps store, thus putting it alongside PSPs and Nintendo DSs.

It’s clearly also intended to be a portable TV / video as well, far better for watching than the tiny screens offered by the nano, classic, and even the Iphone, which isn’t quite big enough. 

What the ipad is for me, created out of an intention to revolutionise an area somewhere between the smartphone, e-reader portable media player, and laptop, but it remains to be seen whether it will manage it. It could applications that are revolutionary, particularly in education, which I think could be key, but it remains to be seen whether or not it will manage to do this – it’s all about adoption of the technology, but given apples’ track record on revolutionising useage (particularly re-inventing the smartphone with the advent of the iphone, and the many apps that have mushroomed in both creation and widespread adoption), I wouldn’t put it past them to manage it. 

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