Apple’s announcement of their latest product category – the iPad – left me rather excited. As pointed out in a previous post, I was hoping they would come up with a tablet device that would act as a mega-PDA, mirroring the functionality of the now defunct Newton.
I think they’ve managed to do that, and a lot more to boot. So what am I excited about?
1 – The email, address book and calendar functionality means that the iPad could be all I need for many of my client meetings. Traveling around London with just an iPad, rather than my MacBook Pro, is an attractive proposition. Apparently, the iPad can also be connected to external projectors – so combine this with the Keynote presentation application and I have all I need to run a client briefing or workshop. I do a lot of these, so this has me rather excited.
2 – The iPad comes with an ereader and will have an iBook store built in. I’m hoping this will do for ebooks what iTunes did for music. Readers will know I loves me my ebooks and I was delighted to learn that Apple have adopted the epub file format as their standard, rather than a new proprietary format. Therefore, I should be able to read all my existing epub formatted ebooks (and I have many) on the iPad. This should replace my Sony ereader, which by comparison looks like something from the Ark.
3 – The fact that you don’t have to sign up for a now mobile data contract is great. I already have several running contracts with mobile firms and definitely don’t need another monthly bill. Wifi is everywhere in London, much of it free. I’m also planning on getting a MiFi solution, which will mean I will have a mobile wifi hotspot with me at all times.
4 – The future of application development. The iPhone showed everyone the enormous creativity and innovation among application developers. There literally is an app for nearly everything at this stage. With a lot more real estate, developers will be able to bring out some amazing apps for the iPad and , due to the similarity with the iPhone environment, in a very short amount of time.
5 – The price. Seriously. This came in at about half of what I was expecting. And I’m not alone here. I’m hoping to get a wifi only model with 64Gb of hard drive space. The saving has already begun.
I do still have some questions – I’m sure everyone who saw the announcement would agree that Steve Jobs and team left out some critical details:
1 – How will the iPad play with Mobile Me? I know it will synchronise with my Macbook Pro over a USB connection, but what about interacting directly with Mobile Me’s data while I’m out and about and connected to the net over wifi?
2 – How will the iPad handle documents outside of its iWork apps? It comes with up to 64Gb of space, so I’d like to store docs apart from ebooks on it – commonly used documents for work and my doctorate, such as PDFs of product specs or journal articles. Will I be able to use the iPad in ‘disk mode’ and simply drag and drop files from my Macbook Pro?
I have many more questions, but these are the two burning issues at the top of my list. I’m hoping we’ll learn more from Apple between now and launch day, as well as hear from plenty of developers with updates on the new and improved apps for the iPad. I think Apple have announced an incredibly exciting device, and despite what many of the critics say, I’m sure it will sell like hot cakes.