Like millions of others I’ve been wondering about the impact of iPad on the future of the internet and computers. It appears as if Apple has hit a home run, although there are a few caveats regarding its impact. First the positives. The interface is remarkable and it is the first great eReader on the market. Tablets, and especially the iPad, is ending print media (books, magazines and newspapers). We’re seeing technology come to what many of us have been imagining for the past many years. First Wolfram|Alpha came out last year and now the iPad. Combine the two, wait a few years for incremental improvements, and you will have a computer straight out of Star Trek, Minority Report or Avatar.
Now for the caveats.
Tablets, including the iPad, are not designed for heavy-duty data entry. For it to replace laptops keyboard tasks will have to be improved. I don’t think this is much of a problem as it is a simple incremental step to improve the screen keyboard.
The iPad is a mobile device and will take a beating. How durable is it? Will the screen take the punishment without breaking too often.
It’s still too bulky. It needs to fit easily into a pocket and then expand to the necessary size. This will come in time. And sooner than you think. Laugh if you will. When modem speeds increased from 9600 to 14.4 to 28.8 people laughed when I answered the question “How fast is fast enough to load a webpage?” with the answer “As fast as it takes when you’re changing channels on your TV” or “As fast as it takes from flicking on the light switch until you have light.”
I’ve heard many complaints that the iPad doesn’t use any Microsoft products; that you can’t make phone calls, or use it as a camera. If the iPad catches on, which I think it will, those features will be included soon enough and shortly these complaints will be a thing of the past.
I think this is the first tablet that will capture the imagination. I do think that the lack of an external drive is a problem – for the moment.