Monday, February 1, 2010

iPad Thoughts

After the Apple announcement of their upcoming iPad device, I wanted to take a couple of days to think about what was unveiled and how the device could fit my lifestyle.

Honestly, when I first hear that Apple was working on a tablet device, I was starting to get intrigued about the possibilities. I'm not an Apple fanboy by any means and don't own a single one of their devices. I've been interested in getting an iPod touch a time or two but never pulled the trigger.

The announcement has been been received with mixed reactions. Some people love it, lots hate it. I've been on the fence since reading about it.

For me, I subscribe to four magazines presently. I know that there are digital subscriptions for most magazines and that they come in a pdf type format. In a device like an iPad, I'd be hoping for something that would allow for digital delivery of my magazines to my device when they are ready from the publishers. To go along with that, interactive table of contents to click and go directly to the article you're looking for. An advertisement that links directly to products website. And with lower subscription rates than regular print prices would be the grand idea. Can the iPad deliver these things? Time will tell since Apple hasn't revealed much of the functions of the iPad besides it being a larger iPod Touch with an iBooks app.

On top of that, my father gets newspapers delivered to the home everyday and another that's delivered three or four times a week. If Apple can make a device that would be easy enough for him to use and automatically update in the morning with new newspapers for him to read, that would be the ultimate device to get more people involved.

The problem as of now for Apple and the iPad is something that's been beaten to death over the past few days. The lack of Flash and multitasking. These are both things that Apple could easily solve with an update. For the commuter that travels to work for an hour or so on train, the iPad could be the device to make their commute much more manageable. Imagine being able to download your morning paper to your device for the ride in. Sure, most info can be found on newspaper websites but if people believe that newspapers will all continue to be free to read online, they're not seeing the path being blazed by Wall Street Journal. Some people also like the newspaper format when it comes to articles and local flavor. The websites of newspapers don't have the same feel. And with a device that could play your music while you read the paper on the way to work, it'd be one less device to carry. However, as it's currently constructed, the iPad might not be able to do this. Without multitasking, the abilities of the iPad are limited and especially when a lightweight netbook could do the same. If you add multitasking, well then you have 3G capable device that you can listen to music, chat on AIM and read a newspaper/magazine for under 2 pounds. Add some VOIP apps and you have an inexpensive cellphone as well for $30 a month. Not possible as constructed, but possible in the summer maybe with an iPhone OS upgrade. The Flash thing is a problem that Adobe and Apple will never seem to work out, as of now. Apple wants to steer people to HTML5, which, along with Google, is something they are trying to pioneer. Meanwhile, thousands of websites implement flash for videos to be played directly on your device of choice and not compatible with most mobile devices, which the iPad falls under. Cleaning up that situation helps take the device a longer way to appeal to a bigger crowd.

I'm looking forward to stores getting demos so I can take a look at one up close. Being able to actually get your hands on one to put it through the paces is more valuable than anything the press can provide. And without details as to what Apple plans on doing with magazines and not just ebooks, the iPad is an incomplete right now.

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