Introducing The iPad

By Bliss Davis, Bowling Green State University Journalism Student

Photo courtesy of Apple

I’ll admit, when I first saw the tweet from @TheAppleBlog when the iPad was unveiled, I was more than unimpressed. First, I wanted to know who came up with the name, and not to congratulate them. Next, as an iPhone 3GS and MacBook Pro owner I wasn’t convinced having an iPad was that big of a deal. My sentiments were confirmed after looking at various news and blog outlets and their traffic commenting on it.

Here are the physical specs for the iPad, per Apple:

Height: 9.56 inches
Width: 7.47 inches
Depth: 0.5 inch
Weight: 1.5 pounds Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds Wi-Fi + 3G model

More specs are at Apple.com/iPad

Pricing starts at $499, with the priciest model (64 GB with Wi-Fi+3G) at $829. The highest price is much less than the anticipated $1000 estimate circulating when the iPad was a mystery. Even so, it doesn’t quite sound all that spectacular. Listening in on the unveiling it appeared Steve Jobs focused heavily on convincing everyone why they should get it. Was he wondering the same, perhaps?

Whatever he was wondering aside, the following are the ideas that grew on me in the hours surrounding the announcement:

Wandering through Twitter I came across one person in particular who was very excited about the iPad. Photographer @JeremyCowart had this to say about it, “I’m pumped about the Tablet announcement today cause it’s really going to help the photography industry I think. Especially editorial.”

This makes perfect sense. In terms of front end content, the iPad is on to something. Delivering content is the meat of what the device can do, and it’s meant for those with specific goals in mind. I can easily envision a reporter using it to look up news RSS feeds before morning meeting. Sure, you can do this on a smart phone or take a quick look at your computer when you arrive at your destination, but the screen in the former and the need to get to information quickly in the latter is remedied when an iPad steps into the picture.

An iPad would also be useful in the field, though I admit I would still prefer my laptop until I got a hold of one to test out. With a combination of Wi-Fi capabilities and the revamped version of iWork, the iPad is ideal. Its pricing is fairly competitive compared to other tablets out there, though an only issue would be it’s lacking innovation. If Apple wasn’t synonymous with cool these days, it probably wouldn’t stand out too terribly against its PC counterparts. Combine that with a lack of camera, and it’s even less impressive. I’m definitely eager to get my hands on one in a few months to see how it stands up to other tablets.

Another idea that crossed my mind was it’s potential usefulness in areas where a way to access the internet and transfer info is crucial. If you’ve ever followed Haitian news closely, you know that there currently isn’t much Haitian generated news to follow. Haitian journalists in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region have had very little resources to work with since the January 12th earthquake. If Apple made a “rugged” version of the iPad (akin to the Panasonic Toughbook tablets often seen in hospitals), they would have my vote as something field-worthy. Thin may be in for now, but to be useful in the field it likely needs a more heavy-duty backbone.

Only time will tell when it comes to Apple. Known for new models and updates with features consumers wanted in the first place, the future looks optimistic the iPad. For now, we’ll have to see how content creators take advantage of the it. Are these possibilities even exclusive to the iPad? We’ll see come spring.

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