iPad, WhyPad, MyPad

So, here I am on a long train journey back from Liverpool after a very productive meeting with a new client. I’ve caught up on my emails, updated our intranet, written up extensive notes from the meeting, typed up concepts for a viral game pitch we’re working on and also tried my hand at a bit of sketching.

For those that think the iPad is just a big iPod Touch well they need to think again. I’ve done all of this work on my iPad as well as present to the client during the meeting using the very same ‘overpriced, under specced and unnecessary’ device. The laptop is great, but once you start using the touch screen, everything else just seems a little contrived. And I think that’s the point. Surely we’re working towards a far more intuitive way to work with technology and, whilst it may not be the definitive answer to the ultimate personal computer device, it certainly feels like it’s a big step in the right direction.The educational benefits and opportunities beyond your early adopter, creative or techy type are also phenomenal. The iPad allows children (and adults) to intuitively use and engage with technology to benefit them in the real world without the necessity to learn new and over complicated software as eloquently described by Fraser Speirs earlier this year:

“The Real Work is not formatting the margins, installing the printer driver, uploading the document, finishing the PowerPoint slides, running the software update or reinstalling the OS.

The Real Work is teaching the child, healing the patient, selling the house, logging the road defects, fixing the car at the roadside, capturing the table’s order, designing the house and organising the party.”

That’s where the iPad really connects, making technology more equitable and developing the ways in which tech touches and enhances our lives.

Of course, it’s also great for the unessentials in life and, as a gaming console, it has huge potential. I spoke with an independent games developer last week and they were raving about the opportunities to develop games on a platform that is both cost effective (to create and market their products) and innovative (in terms of touch screen and potential new audiences). Watch this space for a potential iPad collaboration.

OK, I know there are those that have the opposite view, that the iPad is closed source, that Apple are monopolising the market (sounds like Microsoft 20 years ago) and that the whole proposition is a dumbing down for the masses.

“Listen to the pundits extol the virtues of the iPad and time how long it takes for them to explain that here, finally, is something that isn’t too complicated for their poor old mothers.”

That’s fine and, actually, more than that, it’s a healthy counter argument that will hopefully push Apple and its competitors to continue to improve. Certainly, once the software developed for the iPad starts catching up then we really will see an increase in competition of that I’m sure.I understand both points of view although in order to make technology more equitable it has to be available and usable to all, regardless of the technical knowledge of the individual. Those with an enquiring technical mind will look at ways of developing apps for the iPad. Those without such a technical mind will read, email, browse, play and enjoy engaging with technology that truly is for the masses.

If you think it’s just a big, over priced iPod Touch then don’t buy it. Use something else, develop something better.

If you love it, want it, need it, then buy it. Simple.

Now, let’s see if I can kill Mr Moustache before I get back to Northampton…

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