The iPad is out, now what?

Apple iPad

With much anticipation, Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, hit stores and homes nationwide on April 3rd. Though initial opening sales are said to be in the 300,000 range, there is still some controversy surrounding this new device. There are debates over its current lack of flash support and whether or not this tablet will be a true laptop replacement. I think some people are missing the big picture.

Apple has created a device that demystifies using a “computer”. There is no mouse, no up or down, no wrong way to use it; the iPad works however the user feels most comfortable.

Why is this a big deal?

Students

Students now have a note-taking device that lasts the entire school day and could contain all of their textbooks. Not only are these books available, but also all the text is searchable and can be bookmarked for later reference.

Schools like Seton Hill University are already giving an iPad to every full-time student.

“Seton Hill University is redefining the educational relationship between the professor and the student. They are eliminating the monologue and promoting the conversion — and ensuring that the flow of information is cooperative. I believe that technologies like the iPad are well suited for this task.”

Source - Huffinton Post

Medical

The iPad for medial use

Image Source

I can see the iPad replacing medical charts and being used as training devices. Instantly a nurse or doctor could have access to a patient’s medical history, allergies, vital stats, and a myriad of other details all in one interface. Custom apps can also be developed to calculate probability scenarios based on a patients current condition and help guide critical medical decisions.

Business

The sqaure app for the iPad

With companies like Square, the iPad can become a low cost point-of-sale solution for merchants.

With the 3G version of the iPad, organizations that rely on location-based computing tasks or reporting can take advantage of the rich development platform made available by Apple.

Media

The opportunities for the magazine and entertainment industry are huge. Video, interactivity, and social can all be used to create stories and articles that are engaging and promote two-way conversations.

Look at this example of an app in the works for Wired magazine.

Home

The Apple iPad in the kitchen

Image Source

The iPad could replace that dated television sitting on the kitchen counter, or that aging stack of barely used cookbooks.

For the family that is looking for a laptop replacement or a second computer, the iPad provides easy ways to check email, read, or do some light typing.

Other

I spoke with a pastor that sold his Kindle DX to get an iPad because he saw it being a great presentation tool in his services. All of his notes, books, and references would be available at his fingertips.

There is even a guy that has already installed the iPad into his car.

So what’s the point?

When we stop thinking of the iPad for what it isn’t and rather for what problems it solves, the use cases become more relevant.

Does it make sense to buy a laptop, when I only need to accomplish light tasks?

Would an app be a better solution to your a business issue than the alternative?

Do you need all of the bells and whistles?

Can we make our processes easier, thereby reducing the time it takes to do necessary tasks?

This is not a pitch for everyone to go buy an iPad, because the reality is, it’s not for everyone. However, I would hope that if you haven’t started thinking about how technology can improve your school, home, or work that now would be the time to do so. We’ve reached an exciting time where technology is not only powerful, but also easy to use.

Maybe the iPad isn’t the answer.

This tablet computer has only been available for 6 days, so the potential for failure is still there. However, with over 1,000 iPad specific apps already available, the iPad could prove to be as big as the iPhone.

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