I was hoping that by the time this article is published many of you would already have an iPad. Unfortunately, as I write this Apple has made it known that it will not be shipping the iPad internationally until late May. I spoke with a client while she was standing in the New York City Apple store and she told me that there was a 45-minute wait to buy an iPad. As I write this, the iPad has been available in the U.S. for two weeks.
Let me tell you what the first two weeks of owning an iPad has been like. I wasn’t really that unfamiliar with the product as I have been developing applications for the iPhone and iPad for some time now. I had already been able to work with the concepts by the time I got my first iPad. However, that didn’t really prepare me for the actual experience of holding one in my hands.
A few months ago, I wrote that I thought the iPad would be a game changer. I am now pleased to say that was an understatement and that, in fact, the iPad is a truly transformational object.
“It’s going to have an enormous impact on the publishing industry just like desktop publishing did,” says Diane Hall of 2 For Life Media. “It is causing us to change our workflow and how we package content. It reminds me of when we got our first Mac and there wasn’t going to be anymore paste up.”
To begin with, it has a beautiful display. Webpages and text look more like images than they do on other platforms. As a result, every application, movie and image is extremely easy on the eyes. It’s true that the iPad doesn’t do anything that you can’t do on a smart phone or a computer, but it’s not only a device for consuming content; rather, it is for experiencing content and creating more. Every day new creative applications appear on the App store for creating images, retouching images, making music and more.
“It looks better than print. It’s consistent. [it] has the ability to consistently deliver your content. With the iPad, you know what your work is going to look like. You’re not wondering what kind of monitors it can be viewed on. It’s about control of delivering and it’s so widespread,” continues Diane Hall. “As a delivery form, it is most like print from the point of view of the intimacy between the reader and the content. That is what print has always been famous for. It lends itself well to our base, which is delivering an experience content package for readers and advertisers alike. For us that’s what print does and why it’s not like book publishing.”
Some technologies come out slowly and then become ubiquitous over time. This list would include the personal computer, the laser printer, pagers, the Internet, the iPod and smart phones. It usually takes some kind of catalyst to make the idea reach a tipping point. In many ways, each of the aforementioned have affected my own life and my work. It’s only been two weeks and I find myself reaching for the iPad constantly – more than my iPhone and MacBook. Each of these are extensions of mind and experience – how I reach out and take in the world. I can already envision having one of these everywhere; in the living room, in the kitchen, in the office. In the living room, I use the iPad to read my email, browse the Internet, make notes and read news. In the kitchen, I use it for recipes and watching online video. I use it to do crossword puzzles in the bath. In the bedroom, I use it to read email, browse the Internet and read books.
Initially, it was hard to describe what an iPod or iPhone was. Not just a music player and not simply a phone. The iPad is also not just the Internet in your lap and it is also not just an e-book reader. It is e-books, calendar, contacts, email, Internet, business applications, Word processing, recipes, games, movies, music, note taking, Encyclopedia, star charts, Web forms, business portals all synced with nearly all of the information that you need to have at your fingertips. It is about the experience.
“The iPad is so exciting,” says Edna Clay, founder of Wedding Bells magazine, who is now in her 70’s. “There are so many good things about this for our industry.”