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Thursday, January 28, 2010

So let's talk about Apple's new iPad

First things first. Don't think of it as a dedicated ebook reader. Don't think of it as a handheld supercomputer. Don't think of it as an oversized iPhone. The best thing to do is imagine that it's an iPod Touch with a 9.7" screen, multi-touch support and the ability to do anything a Touch can do, but easier on the eyes.

Now, does that mean you can't read with it? Nothing of the sort! I've got a 1st-gen iPod Touch and I have loaded it with Stanza, eReader, Kindle 4 iPhone and the Barnes & Noble ereader. I read books with it - but I have always complained about it's teensie-weensie display. The iPad will give me about 6 times the screen area of a Touch; not bad for reading.

But I can also use it with the SD-card or USB adapters to import photos from my digital camera and the Photoshop app to do immediate editing of images while I'm in the field. My primary editing computer is a large Gateway Core 2 Quad w/21" monitor and there's just no way I can haul that outdoors to field sites. I think, therefore, the iPad will also do well for me in this area.

Further, the iPad's screen is large enough and the flip-case versatile enough that I can use this as an "I'm away from my desktop" writing computer - and if I get the 3G version, I'll even be able to connect to the internet wirelessly and do any research I need to perform.

All in all, not a bad combination.

Now we're already hearing that people are upset by the lack of a built-in camera and no ability to directly use it in iPhone mode. C'mon! First off, who it their right mind wants to stick a large, heavy device up on their shoulder to make a call??? This is not a PHONE!!! Further, the size and weight of the iPad precludes it from handling well to take photos, so the idea of a built-in camera on the back is ridiculous. Now it would have been nice to have a front-facing camera for those who actually USE a webcam, but I'm not one of them - and having to hold it 'just right' to keep myself in the frame doesn't make sense either. And if the iPad is in it's dock, there's enough room along the top edge to clip an external webcam in place.

I think that one area this will work is as a replacement for those textbooks and netbooks that kids need in school. Wait and see, but I bet Jobs has already thought of this.

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