Apple’s new iPad – game changer?

Apple's iPad game changerApple announced the iPad recently. It is a hybrid of an iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle and a Mac. At long last, we have our beloved Newton and a graphic tablet all rolled into one.

Early reviews are mixed, with many people impressed and some pundits less than enthusiastic – the latter critical that Apple has modified and added its iWork apps to the device. Here’s a bit of office productivity and yet they would complain if there were no productivity apps.

Apple is now the “world’s largest mobile devices company in the world” – bigger than Nokia, Samsung and Sony (in the mobile devices space). Apple introduced the world’s first modern laptop in 1991 with the introduction of the PowerBook – with a raised keyboard, palm rests and an integrated pointing device (track ball). Then came the Newton PDA, which was introduced in 1993; and in 2007, Apple reinvented the cell phone with the iPhone.

The iPad represents a third category, according to Apple, between the smart phone and portable laptop. Apple is insisting that this middle category’s key tasks are better than smart phones or laptops. The key tasks are browsing, email, photo sharing, video, music, games and ebooks.

NetBooks, according to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, aren’t better at anything – they’re just cheaper PCs. Apple claims that the iPad is a magical and revolutionary device.

I have been dragging around laptops to meetings since the early ‘90s – apologizing to attendees while waiting for the laptop to start up. Next, I got a Newton and apologized while I had to re-enter the cursive writing because I hadn’t learned to “write” correctly. Finally, I moved to a Palm Pilot as my main PDA. Since that time, I have continued to use spiral bound paper notebooks. They’re easy to start – simply open and start writing. However, searching the content means flipping physical pages and it’s difficult to email – unless you tear out the page and scan it as an image.

That all changed when the MacBook Air and iPhone came out. The notes app, contacts, calendar, IMAP email and syncing with Mobile Me are total productivity boosters for me! I can leave the office and captain my whole business with my iPhone – from the backseat of a street car. I have the latest iMac on my desk, a MacBook Pro 13” in my briefcase as well as a couple of Xserves.

The iPad is the device that we have all been longing for – productivity and portability. With 3G access, I can even run my business from the cottage (thanks to iPhone tethering.) And let’s be honest, the iPhone is too small to read a book on – most annoying if you wear bifocals!

Newspapers and magazines can now concentrate on delivering content (and ads) in a new media way. Gone is the static presentation of news and current affairs. I will miss the books from the ‘60s that say “one day man will land on the moon,” but now you’ll have instant access to Wikipedia’s take on man’s exploration of the heavens. News will now update as quickly as your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Right now, my partner and I have five iPhones – my main cell, my partner Carol’s, two iPhones for the grandkids to play games on and I’ve had my oldest iPhone since November 2007 (imported from San Francisco) and gladly sold my Blackberry for $25 at a garage sale. Yes, I’ve been annoyed by all of the iPhone’s shortcomings – What!? No copy and paste!? (Hey, I used to have three Newtons so I know about patience). But at the end of the day, the iPad is a unix driven device that you can easily carry around and watch movies while you’re on break! Don’t worry, Speck will make an awesome case and OtterBox will make a weather-proof case for the bathtub as well. In the meantime, use a ZipLock bag to keep it dry.

iPad Features:

  • High-resolution, 9.7 inch LED-backlit, IPS display
  • Wide, 178° viewing angle
  • Multi-Touch screen
  • Just 1.5 lbs and 0.5 inches thin
  • 10-hour lithium polymer battery technology
  • Wi-Fi, built-in 802.11n and Bluetooth
  • Available in a 3G model
  • A4 chip inside iPad custom-designed by Apple
  • Choice of 16, 32 or 64GB flash storage
  • 30-pin dock connector, charge or connect the Camera Connection Kit or the Keyboard Dock
  • Powerful, built-in speaker produces a full, rich sound
  • iPad will run almost 140,000 apps from the App Store
  • iWork productivity applications, Keynote, Numbers and Pages
  • Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Maps, Notes, Calendar and Contacts
  • $499 – $839 USD.