As you’re probably aware the iPad is on the way and its going to save the world! All will be right again when the Apple iPad hits the streets in early April. Nikon and Canon photographers will sing Kumbaya together, dogs will get along with cats and newspapers will again be profitable… well you’d think that would be the case from all the hype. I’ve had several conversations over the past several weeks with friends about the iPad and as a huge fan of Apple I will hold no punches in saying I’m underwhelmed with the device that has turned out to be nothing more than a mega-iphone less the phone. That being said there is one thing about the Apple iPad that has grabbed my attention and it has nothing to do with the device itself.
I’ve read various blog posts to the effect that the iPad will usher in a:
- new era of photography – bzzz! nope.
A new digital medium of display isn’t going to transform photography, but it might add to the “cool” or “hip” factor of a photographer as they show their work. The Apple logo on a touchscreen mobile digital photo frame will surely wow a few folks, but it won’t “change photography”. Display devices don’t change photography.
- new era of image responsibility -bzzz! nope.
Image theft is pervasive because of a wide spread attitude that content online is free. Digital files don’t have value because they’re intangible. No alarm is going to sound when you walk out a storefront because you have an image on your laptop, iPhone or iPad. A new device isn’t going to usher in a new era of responsibility. That cat is already out of the bag and I’m hard pressed to believe its ever coming back. Deterrents such as financial penalties provided by copyright law, image tracking software (PicScout IRC, TinEye, etc.) and other innovations ideally should keep this in check.
What has grabbed my attention is an undercurrent of buzz in relation to content. What the iPad offers is a color display, a supporting network of content distribution via Apple’s iTunes store and broad market appeal. Whether the iPad turns out to be the next iPhone success or Newton failure its mark will be left in how content is crafted, displayed and consumed. This is why the iPad matters, yet doesn’t matter. It’s launch is the landmark, not the device. While Apple will certainly make a shiny penny in selling the iPad it will have the longest lasting impact on content creators & publishers.
- Why the iPad doesn’t matter
After the launch of the iPad, Apple will have set the mark in cool and user experience pointing the way for competitors to emulate. Device sales will be a brand war and nothing more. The edge in relation to sales will be given to companies with complimentary services & software. No doubt Apple will have the competitive edge as they’ve exemplified with the iPod/iPhone. What makes the iPad irrelevant is that it’s also a WiFi device. Content can be pulled from any location or distributor that has web presence.
- Why the iPad matters
What makes the iPad relevant is that it will shape expectation in how online “books” are formatted & presented. As the first color displayed tablet/ebook reader that is made widely available, the iPad will have a substantial influence on consumer expectation in relation to how one interacts with digital content. The iPad’s WiFi capabilities gives content creators and publishers of all sizes equal footing. Seeing that iPad friendly content can be hosted anywhere on the web, content creators & publishers should take note of the format and presentation standards for people viewing their work via an iPad or equivalent.
What’s your opinion? Is the iPad the savior of photography, a means to a content standard or something else entirely?
[tags]photography, Apple, iPad[/tags]