Friday, March 26, 2010

Will iPad or won’t iPad?

verizon-prepping-the-ipadReaders of this blog know that I’ve commented (longingly perhaps) on the significance of Apple’s forthcoming iPad device.  I’ve described the features, benefits and “game changing” characteristics and have even been so bold as to predict the eventual significance of this technology on society.

But the question has been: will I actually buy one?  And if so, right away… or will I wait for a second or third generation version?  The answer is forthcoming.

But first, industry analysts have been tracking the pre-sales of the iPad, which won’t be available until next Saturday (April 3rd) in wifi version and then later in the month in 3G (cellular connectivity), utilizing obscure methods based on the sequence of Apple’s order number distribution scheme.  If you can believe what these folks have been saying, the iPad is going to be big.  Huge, in fact.  That hundreds of thousands of individuals would order a device without actually seeing one or physically touching it bodes well for a product from a company whose products typically induce even more lust once you do see them in person and physically handle them.  In short, very soon, you’re going to see Apple iPads on the train, at airports, in Starbucks and all around us. 

I’m getting one… though I have decided to wait for the 3G version because the lure of all-the-time connectivity is more appealing to me when you’re actually connected all-the-time.

Why did I flash the plastic?  Six reasons:

  • I like convergence.  It seems that increasingly I’m packing my blackberry, an iPod Touch and my laptop wherever I go.  I take periodicals, instruction manuals, the newspaper (or two), and depending upon my destination, one book or more.  The iPad will allow me to scale all this down significantly.  And I like that iPod and iPad peripherals (earbuds, AC adapters, etc.) will be interoperable, allowing me to cut down on the miscellaneous paraphernalia that increasingly accompany my main cargo.
  • I’m going digital anyways.  I read the Globe on my computer via paid subscription, I take notes in a computer program called Evernote, I actually do read books on my iPod Touch, and I frequently prefer on-line forums and content over magazines and physical hardcopy.  For me, paper isn’t dead… but its blood pressure is really, really low.
  • Not just for play.  Some are estimating that the greatest use of the iPad will be for personal use and fun and games.  I’m not a gamer.  My iPod Touch is great for playing eye candy visual games but it’s not something I do.  I do, however, take notes on digital devices (and have since the late 80s, often annoying people in meetings who think I’m checking stock quotes, reading emails, playing sudoku… when I’m really taking notes… really) and use Gotomypc software to access my work computer from other computers.  Gotomypc isn’t available for Apple devices (my guess is they’re working on it) but Logmein Ignition (a competing product) allows for full access to your work computer from your iPhone, iPod Touch and now, iPad.  Why carry a full laptop when you can carry an iPad?  Speaking of which…
  • Why do I even need a full-sized computer?  This is a legitimate question.  Given the above point, I’m increasingly wondering how or why I’ll want to have more computing power with me.  Apple is readying their version of Microsoft Office (called iWork) for $30 for the iPad.  I use iWork almost exclusively (don’t get me started on Office) and the thought of being able to use it on a small, handheld and lightweight device is tantalizing.  All the social networking stuff?  Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter all have free and very functional versions available for iPhone and iPad.  Browsing the web?  Check.  Emails?  Check.  Online banking?  Check.  Digital photography?  See below.
  • Digital photography.  The iPad version of Apple iPhoto, a program I use, is going to be nice.  Others are developing complete versions of their photo manipulation programs for this platform as well.  Apple will sell an inexpensive kit that will allow users to upload photos from their camera’s SD or CF cards directly to the device where they can be manipulated and then uploaded directly to hosting sites.  And I believe that the iPad will become a preferred means of showing photos to others.  Slideshows will be far more compelling on a bright and glossy 10 inch screen you hold in your hands than with any other technology.  We’re going to get used to seeing photography via this platform and all other vehicles are going to seem old school and outdated by comparison.
  • It’s just cool and I can’t wait.  Hey, I’m honest.

User reports will follow.  I’ll be posting soon.  From an iPad, of course.

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