So Apple have brought us the iPad, the 'magical and revolutionary product' that everyone is talking about. Love it or hate it, we want to talk about how it can benefit you and your business by highlighting some of its uses in day to day activities. Let's skip the obvious aesthetics and get straight to it...
- The iPad provides almost-true A4 landscape and portrait display in your hands, for a comfortable reading experience.
- Like the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad sports a slim multi-touch screen for ease of use and comfort. Pointing to objects and moving them feels more natural.
- Using the iWork.com service, the iPad can work with Windows based documents such as those created by Microsoft Office.
- With a generous ten hours of battery usage, the iPad can provide a full working day of use. No more having to plug your laptop into a power socket allows you continuous and unrestricted use wherever you are.
- Apple Apps help the iPad to be fast and responsive - but don't expect it to be compatible with many of the billions of applications you might already be using on other platforms (not yet anyway).
- The iPad makes for a great visual tool, perhaps for demonstrating video procedures or filling out forms.
- Video output allows presentations to be presented directly from the iPad to a projector screen (additional dongle required).
Potential drawbacks (in our author's opinion):
- The iPad provides Wi-Fi network and server support, but currently has documented trouble connecting to the internet.
- Multi-tasking is available for the iPad, but only for bundled Apps. True multi-task freedom still requires a laptop or non-Apple smart-phone.
- No means of dragging and dropping files to and from your computer or laptop ... the iPad is iTunes dependent (love it or hate it).
- No USB or HDMI sockets means more adaptors and dongles to carry around.
- Millions of websites are incompatible (at least in part) with the iPad due to licensing policies and device constraints. For full internet compatibility, you still need a laptop or modern smart-phone (at least until more websites are built for devices such as the iPad).
- Using the iPad can obscure websites, diverting attention from services or advertising revenue. Precise pointing can also be problematic for bigger hands as can learning operational gestures.
Touchscreen technology is really coming of age right now, and Apple have done an excellent job with the iPad. With most of us being comfortable with touchscreens on our smart-phones for some time now, it is nice to see how this technology can further enrich the business working environment ... we just need to be aware that this is in fact a new technology within the working environment, and with that comes the need for new learning in order to fully take advantage of it.
In a future article, we hope to explain why devices such as the iPad are incorrectly being compared to computers and to provide you with some suggestions as to how to best promote your business on these new devices.
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