The iPad : Cool Toy or Usable Machine?

By Bill Martens

Apple, Inc. this past month introduced a machine that everyone is talking about in one respect or another.  While the coolness factor of the machine has been undeniable from those who have had them in their hands, there has also been a lot of negative comments about the machine.

Firstly, the iPad has not even been put on sale yet, however, it has generated more buzz than almost any machine in history outside of the iPhone.  This alone is a reason to stand up and take notice.  Not necessarily for the capabilities of the iPad but for the marketing machine that Apple, Inc. is.  Steve Jobs has been a dynamic salesman when it comes to the companies products.

But this is not about the man, it is about the machine.  Thats right, the one machine that in my predictions will change the way that we handle our day to day computing tasks.  While many people are lambasting the machine for the lack of key items such as a camera or multitasking, I for one am looking more at the potential the machine gives the user.

Number one, the machine makes computing truly portable and visually appealing.  This means that not only is the machine the size that can be taken almost anywhere without seeming to be a large overgrown appendage, but it is a size that has been shown by comedian Stephen Colbert to be cartable in one’s jacket.  Of course, the machine is not the size of the ever present iPhone or iPod Touch.

Secondly, the missing items will be included at some point.  Looking back to what the iPhone was at the beginning, it has come a long way in the enhancement category.  The iPhone now includes software implementations that one would never have dreamed of when the machine was first introduced.  Apple over the years has shown an uncanny ability to adjust midstream and include items that people scream about on several levels.  This too will happen with the iPad over the coming year.

Storage on the iPad is one area that I beleive will need to be even further enhanced over time.  Currently, the maximum size is the 64gb model at a time that the largest Solid State Disks are 256gb, it seems like a no-brainer that the larger disks will be included in time or that the machines will be upgradable.   We must not forget that this has been the case with almost every machine Apple has made, excluding the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle.

The biggest area that I believe will benefit from the iPad is the educational and the medical arenas.  the iPad could act as a testing element which is controllable and allows teachers more freedom in creating testing materials as well as classroom materials.  Doctors will also be able to use the iPad for easy access to medical records, thus eliminating the need to have the paper carte that has long been associated with the profession.

Obviously, the iPad is not a perfect machine, YET!  However, in time, we may look back at January 27th as the day that changed the computing world.  This is the case with the iPhone and if history is any kind of teacher at all, we should definitely learn the lessons that the iPhone have provided.  The iPad will become one of the most used products in computing history.

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About the Author

Bill Martens

A.P.P.L.E. Chairman of the Board and Club president -- Bill worked for the founder, Val J. Golding and A.P.P.L.E. from 1981 to 1982. In 1999, he began archiving the materials which were distributed and sold by A.P.P.L.E.. That project led to the group that remained of A.P.P.L.E. Bill was involved in the financial industry in Tokyo and has over 20 major office infrastructure projects to his name. In March 2001, he retired to write books and to spend more time pursuing personal interests. As the president of the users group, Bill is in charge of distribution of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine as well as the organization of this web site. Bill currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and Shelton, Wa splitting time between the places.