Is the iPad really worth $500? Watching Steve Jobs unveil the details of his company's new game-changing tablet yesterday, I admit I'm not so sure.
My first impression of the device was more in line with those who thought it was an extra large iPhone. Clocking in 1.5 pounds and a half-inch thin, the 9.7 inch screen makes it roughly the size of a small stack of paper. As more information emerged about gaming on the iPad and iLife compatibility, I was intrigued, but not convinced. Then again, I also own a laptop, a netbook, a smartphone, and an iPod Touch - I can fit a mobile studio inside my messenger bag.
In order to add another gadget to my daily rotation, I'll need to to see what the iPad can do that my other devices cannot. Here are five ideas:
I signed up for Vapors magazine digital delivery two years ago, but could never really get into it. Even though engineers programmed a clear interface and even included a pages turning sound, it didn't make up for the portability (and foldability) of its "real world" predecessor. Reading it on my home PC simply wasn't working for me.
Ages ago, I read a sci-fi novel that featured a cool in-world item: a reloadable magazine. Every time you wanted a new issue or a different magazine, you placed a small chip in the back of a blank template, and the words and ads would appear. According to Women's Wear Daily, Conde Nast titles like GQ, Wired, and Vanity Fair are all developing applications for the iPad. If it makes it easier for me to consume a lot of different magazines without dragging them all around, I'm there.
Online Comic Books & Manga
One of my favorite cellphone applications is Mangadroid, which allows me access to thousands of manga titles, already organized by genre. The only problem? The controls on my screen are all squashed together, so trying to scroll to the side accidentally changes the page, and trying to enlarge takes me to an ad page. Frustrating.
The iPad gives the major comic and manga companies the opportunity to develop more user-friendly comic software, and move fully into the digital age. However, if comics are going to work on the iPad, there cannot be content embargoes, late release dates, and incomplete collections. Publishing companies need to embrace the technology fully, or leave it alone. A half ass effort to scrape some revenue from their archives without adding in new content will not be successful.
I'm thinking of an attachment that would allow me to take notes as if I had a pen and paper. Apple hints at this type of functionality with their Brushes program (which is kind of like fingerpainting), but I'd love something like the Smart Pen that writes directly on the pad in my own handwriting. Or some adaptation of the pen tablet to have a wireless pen that works directly on the device.
This is going to be tough, considering the iPad doesn't appear to have a camera. However, the little prop up frame that Apple displayed with the device would be perfect for video conferencing while traveling. Considering Skype is in the App Store, this should be a given.
I know that Flash doesn't work with the iPad at the moment, but if the Apps Store can get the license for Lexulous (aka Scrabulous), and Bookworm I'll buy it on principle.