It’s been 10 days since the release of Apple’s iPad and in an attempt to avoid blind hyperbole I wanted to get at least a weeks worth of use under my belt before I shared my thoughts on it. Here are 5 important reasons photographers should take note of the iPad.
1. It’s More than just an iPod
One of the most common complaints I’ve heard is, “Why pay so much for a big iPod Touch?”
I have to admit I thought the same thing when I first saw Apple’s announcement of the product, but having the device in hand I realized there was a lot more to the iPad (see my next point). One of the main reasons people have this thought, even after trying out the iPad for a short period, is that the vast majority of applications available at the time of launch were iPhone apps. Not many iPad apps were out yet and due to super tight secrecy there weren’t a lot of developers that had access to the device to refine their designs & approaches. The result, only a handful of really well engineered iPad applications have been made available to get a feel of what the device can offer. Tough to see the iPad being something beyond an iPod when you have so few iPad optimized applications to use.
2. Transformational User Experience
If you take one thing away from this blog post it’s “interactivity“. This is the single component of the iPad that converted me from cynic to evangelist. How much different could interaction be between an iPhone/iPod and an iPad? If there isn’t already one I’m sure in the near future there will be a user experience ratio generated to chart impact of touchscreen size to resulting user interaction. My guess is the amount of user interaction squares with the doubling of diagonal screen size. Seeing that the iPad has a screen that is roughly 2x’s the diagonal size of the iPhone, my calculation is that users will interact with the iPad x^2 times more. In other words if I interact with content my iPhone 5 times in one sitting I’m likely to interact with content on the iPad 25 times in one sitting. The iPad is designed to leverage greater interactivity.
The larger screen size enables a variety of new possibilities in relation to user interaction with content. This is really important if you’re a photographer. Whether you think of this consciously or not, you are a content creator and large touchscreens enable viewers to interact with content in completely new ways. At this early stage of adoption there is a lot of experimenting under way to determine future interaction designs and standards. Bottom line… for the first time viewers can interact with your photographic work via touch, beyond the realm of print.
3. New Publishing Opportunities
The iPad serves up a new image publishing opportunities in web sites and iPad applications looking to leverage gesture based navigation. Gesture (touch) based navigation works exceptionally well with images versus text and has the air of cool as this mode of content interaction is so new. In addition the resolution and screen size of the iPad benefits from large image use that might otherwise be prohibitive in standard web displays. Bottom line look for popular publications who are able to leverage the iPad platform to be in search of a lot more imagery at larger dimensions. If you’re a photographer who has it in mind to self-publish you’re going to have a lot of opportunity to highlight your own work in a similar fashion.
4. Think Beyond Apple
Whether you love Apple or hate them the iPad represents the first widely available tablet computer to consumers with a channel to acquire a variety of content (books, music, movies, tv, etc.) The true significance of this for content creators is that once web and application designers latch on to design, display & navigation standards every iPad competitor will leverage these standards as well rather than reinvent the wheel. Whether Apple’s star shines or fades in the tablet computer market their impact will be long lasting. This is something I had alluded to in my earlier post Why the iPad Doesn’t Matter, Yet Matters and it is for this reason that it’s important to track trends and developments with the iPad.
5. Placing Your Bet
How heavily should you invest in the iPad phenomenon? Should you buy an iPad? Should you be developing web content that is iPad optimized? Personally I think the larger touchscreen is as revolutionary, if not more so, than the advent of the computer mouse. Can you imagine trying to create content for a device that uses a mouse with out having a mouse enabled device? I think the same holds true with the iPad. It’s tough to explore the capabilities of a device if you aren’t working with it. I don’t think anyone will be harmed if they don’t jump on the early adopter bandwagon and there certainly will be viable competitors out there that release cheaper touchscreen devices. Whether now or later once you delve into this new format of content interaction you’ll have a clearer picture to the opportunities. While this is an all Apple forum at the moment it won’t be for long.
Worthy of Watching & Reading on the Topic:
Why the iPad Doesn’t Matter, Yet Matters – JMG-Galleries
Sorry, Adobe, you screwed yourself – Sharing the Truth One Thread at a Time
Not Your Typical iPad Unboxing Video (Humor/Review)
[tags]Apple, iPad, photography, photographers[/tags]