The iPad Has Huge Potential
While the iPad may have sounded like a dud originally, it certainly is selling very well – certainly better then expected by many. 9to5Mac is estimating around a half-million iPad have sold so far. This is excellent news not only for Apple but for the companies who are investing a lot of time and money into iPad development. The iPad may not look or sound like a game changing device to many geeks, but the fact of the matter is it holds so much potential for a number of industries.
I’m not just talking about the publishing industry either. The iPad will advance mobile applications and platforms and dare I say will improve users overall web experience, if Apple has their way (more on that later). The iPad will be used by students and throughout education. I see the iPad replacing a number of traditional tools used both at home and work. A photographers portfolio? It’ll be on their iPad. Grandma’s recipe’s which will be passed down to another generation? It’ll be on her iPad.
Before the App Store the mobile applications market was seriously lacking. Sure you could download apps from your carrier, but they were crippled and had extremely poor user interfaces. Not to mention the selection of apps was far from plentiful. Apple turned the phone back into a platform – one to be reckoned with, too. Not only for apps, but for gaming too. The iPad now has the potential to build and improve on that. We have already established a very nice software ecosystem in the desktop market on both the Mac and PC side of things. So the next logical step would be to create the same abundance of software in the mobile market. Until now, there hasn’t been a true mobile device with a large enough screen to replicate the kind of experience you would have a desktop or laptop. I expect to see the iPad change that. The iPad will allow users to enjoy the same rich experience they would on a desktop or laptop on a mobile device.
When it comes to the lack of Adobe Flash support on the iPad it may actually end up being beneficial for the end user in the long run. If Apple is able to sell enough of these and they do turn into huge media consumption devices, Adobe will have two choices when it comes to Flash, 1.) Fix the issues with Flash regarding CPU/RAM usage or 2.) Fall behind to other upcoming technologies such as HTML5, Silverlight, and any other possible replacement technology that could appear in the future.
The iPad in education will be interesting. Apple finally has a product that falls in a price range most students can afford. Put that in conjunction with the ability to add textbooks onto the device and take notes with iWork – Pages, Numbers, Keynote for a mere $10/each (and I’m sure we’ll see more office productivity apps in the iPad’s App Store eventually) makes it a very compelling option for students. The iPad will eliminate the need for heavy and expensive textbooks. It will make it easier for students to follow along in class, highlight important parts, and add notes. I prefer to read material on a screen (and I know many students who would agree with me) so reading a textbook or book on an iPad would be ideal.
When it comes to the iPad replacing traditional tools at work and home, I think we will see an interesting set of applications start to appear. If the current photo gallery software built into the iPad isn’t good enough for photographers to showcase their work to potential clients, I’m sure we will see alternatives in the App Store. Recipe books will be readily available in the kitchen with the iPad – you will no longer have to flip through an entire book to find that one recipe, simply search for it. I also expect to see companies to develop in-house applications for the iPad. For example, Architectural firms could benefit from the iPad by being able to easily view and manipulate blueprints.
The advantages of the iPad in the publishing industry are also very real and hold huge potential. The iPad will allow for interactive advertisements which would be much different then current print ads we are all accustomed to. Publishers will be able to offer additional “extra” content such as video interviews, music, and links. Just imagine the possibilities, Rolling Stone could include a free MP3 with the current issue, TIME magazine could include video interviews along with the written versions, and for once publishers would have the ability to directly link to other content.
I think the linking ability is huge. Often times many websites will constantly link back to older articles for SEO purposes and to get readers to view older content as well, the same logic could be applied here. While it may not benefit publishers directly with regard to SEO, it will allow them to get their readers to view older articles of relevance. By linking to older articles that are relevant, it will increase pageviews and traffic and therefore will allow publishers to charge more for advertising or offer some kind of packaged deal if they have the ability to track it properly. What am I getting at? Lets say, you know you will be publishing an article on the iPad and you want to link back to your previous post about 10 reasons to buy an iPad. From what I have read, advertisers can purchase X amount of pages on the iPad edition of these publications. Now obviously some people will click these links to the other story, so why not throw in that article’s page to the advertiser for half the price or something along those lines?
There are so many options and possibilities available with the iPad. The only limit is your creativity.