Monday, June 7, 2010

Print is Dead, Long live the iPad!

Or how I learned to love the computer that isn’t a computer after all…

Ok, so I have lived now with my iPad (named Ruth) since the release date.   (Yes, I was an early adopter who convinced himself that he didn’t want 3G.   I still stand by that conviction.  This thing is dangerous enough with just Wi-Fi.  But read on.) Now, a while back, some of you may recall, that I blogged about how Print was dead when the Kindle came out.  I stand by that assertion even more now.  But I do intend to amend my earlier stand on the big newspapers.  The reason, the iPad may just end up saving them??  This little device is amazing!

I have learned one huge thing about the iPad in the months that I have had it.  That is, quite simply, I would be lost without it anymore.  The reason?  It truly is all things to all people.  I know, I know, that’s a pretty heady thing to generalize.  How can I make such a blanket statement?  Easy.

This device is going to change the world.

That’s right, I said it.  I feel better too.

Why will it change the world?  (please Bill, tell us why you think this.)  Ok, I’ll tell ya.

#1 It will teach people that it is ok to be a content consumer and not a content creator.  It is my belief that that too many people and companies have believed for too long that in order to be a part of the “internet society” you have to add to the miasma of stuff that is out there on them interwebs.  The sheer number of blog-o-sites that used to infect the internet has finally calmed down, the cream risen to the top (i.e. Huffpost, Boing-boing, Mashable…) and the rest have fallen away.   The iPad will demonstrate to people that it is ok to just view, consume and use the internet, you don’t always have to contribute to it. (Disregarding FaceBook, twitter and baby-blogs (like me!))

#2 It is an internet enabled application device.  Notice I did not say it was a computer.  In my view, it really isn’t a computer at all.  Oh sure you can do word processing and spreadsheets, even presentations, but is that really it’s focus?  I think not.  There is a great video on YouTube of a guy that put Velcro on his iPad and then stuck Velcro all over his LIFE.  When he was in the car, the iPad was his navigation device, on his motorcycle, it velcro’d to the tank, giving directions again.  In the kitchen, it was stuck to the cabinet letting him read recipes.  In the bedroom it was stuck to the wall to watch movies.  Although this was a funny video, it drives home my point.  It is not so much of a computer as a useful application device.

#3 It will not replace your laptop on trips, or will it?  Let’s be real for a moment here.  When you pack your laptop for the trip your taking, do you take it to do a) lots of business related spreadsheet and document creation or b) solitaire, e-mail, twitter, YouTube, CNN, more solitaire, a movie, a TV show stream etc?  I’ll bet most of us answered B.  I know I did.  Here’s why, if you’re on the plane and the spreadsheet you’re working is still not done, chances are your too late to get it done right anyhow.  I know, I know, some of us are always working and that time in the plane is perfect to get a lot of office stuff done.  (I think you’re the exception, but then again?)

#4 It will manage and consume as much of your life as you let it.  Trust me on this one.  It will handle your calendar, your to-do lists, your shopping and everything else that you download the app for.  You could conceivably run your entire digital life from it.  Or, you can just use it to make the things you enjoy a bit more enjoyable.  It’s your choice.

#5 Don’t listen to the Nay-Sayers who whine about the no flash memory slot, the lack of drives, no output connectors etc.  Computers need those, and this is not a computer.  Get over it!  It is NOT A COMPUTER. It will do a myriad of things that a computer will do,  but it is not a computer.  The Apple Haters will continue, but I don’t care, because it is immaterial to my point.

I said this device will change the world, and it will.  I have not said that it will be the first/last of its kind.  As I write this, every silicon valley company is desperately rushing a tablet to market.  In Taiwan I hear you can buy tablets by the dozen,  cheaply.  Who knows what the offerings from Micro$oft, Google and HP will be like?  They might be lame, or they might be better, but here is the deal.  One way or the other, Tablet computers are here to stay and there is now a bar to aim for.  The iPad may end up the winner or the whiner, but it certainly has changed the face of computing for everyone.  Everyone is now forced to make a competitor.  Who knows, something may come out that is way better, but we all win, no matter what happens.

Cases in point.  I just had to do an online class for business.  I did it all, almost exclusively on my iPad because it was web based.  My friend Mark and I play war-games (The board game type, not the shoot-em ups on computers).  I have been able to put most all of the rule sets we  use on the iPad for reference during the games.   It is incredibly handy as a reference during the game.  Using GoodReader to view PDFs, I can search for the terms we need to look at.  It’s a huge timesaver.

So, in summary, this pseudo-review ends by noting the last great thing this device does.  Read books.  It has completely replaced my Kindle, not in the least because Amazon made that happen.  They released their book reader software, made it completely compatible with the iPad and then made it so that all my books magically appeared from my Kindle onto my iPad.  Do you think Jeff Bezos at Amazon see’s something coming too?

I think so…  The iPad has changed the world.  The computer is personal again... Now let’s all sit back, watch and enjoy.