I WAS RIGHT… THE iPad IS COOL (and buying two will save me $500!)

Before we had a blog on our website, I set up a blog on blogspot.com.  The next few articles are “Technical Musings” that I had previously posted there and am now moving to this blog.  I have not changed to content so some of the observations seem extremely dated!

Original Post:  4/9/2010

It has been almost a week since I joined the fervor at the Apple Store in Lenox Mall awaiting the launch of the iPad. While waiting in line, a reporter from CNN Tech walked up and we talked for about 5 minutes. From that conversation, he pulled parts of two different thoughts to create the quote that was used in his story.

“I don’t know what it is — I just think it’s going to be something that’s really cool,” said Mark Bowling outside an Apple store at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta, Georgia. “I can’t figure out how to use it if I don’t have one.”

At first, I was slightly offended that these were the only two parts of our conversation that he used, but after I have had a week to use (and yes play) with the iPad, I will stand beside the (mis)quote – it is indeed very cool, has the potential to be a transformational device and I am certain we will use it to add value to our projects at BlackSheep Productions and for our clients.

Here are some of my initial thoughts as to why the iPad is cool and why I am glad that I made the investment to “figure out how I can use it.”

  • At a recent trade show I attended, one company was using the iPod Touch to show video and still images of their products in use. I can see how the iPad will help the trade show industry take another step towards eLiterature – the savings from shipping literature for one show alone will more than offset the costs of the devices AND provide for a much more interactive experience. Yes, I know there are other tablet devices that exist or that are on the way that might be able to duplicate the functionality, but I think the iPad will be one of the most commonly chosen devices because it’s size, interface and form factor.
  • The ABC streaming application was a great add and I hope that more channels will follow. This application is good for the consumer and good for the network. Other than sports, the overwhelming majority of TV that I watch has been previously recorded using our Tivo and I will simply fast forward through commercials or I will use the iTivo application to transfer the show to my computer so that I can sync the show to my iPhone (and now my iPad) to watch at the gym. (Using iTivo commercials are actually removed from the show.) So when I watched Lost on Wednesday on my iPad, I probably watched more commercials during that one episode than I have watched all year (I actually remember that one was for Target and one was for the upcoming premiere of Happy Town on ABC). That has to be good for networks! I know that you can do this with any computer or laptop, but using the iPad is actually a more pleasurable experience.
  • I have never owned a Kindle, but I am very impressed with the iPad as an ebook reader. I have already downloaded 3 books (purchased 2 for a total of $25) and read much of the first. Although not part of the iBook application, I downloaded the Toy Story app/book/game and see how this device could be a HUGE boom for kid’s books. I am on vacation in Destin this week and was surprised at how easily I could read on the iPad when sitting under a tent on the beach. I think the Kindle would probably be much better in this situation, but since this will only be a once or twice a year situation for me, I would still go with the iPad because of everything else it can do.  (UPDATE 9/11/12 – I do have a Kindle which I take to the beach or any other location that I want to read in the direct sun.  I really like the WhisperSync feature that will update my location in a book across devices.)
  • I know this is common sense, but watching movies and other video content on the iPad is a far superior experience than watching it on the iPhone (which I was already happy with). As with watching TV using the ABC app, I am finding that it is a much more enjoyable experience to watch movies on the iPad instead of my laptop.
  • I grew up reading comic books and although I don’t read them anymore, the Marvel application is amazing and a great way for the next generation to enjoy. I would not be surprised to see multimedia integrated into the application in the future to further enhance the experience. Yes, I do think this application could kill the comic book resell market – something that prior generations really enjoyed, but there is the possibility that this could actually increase the value of printed versions since fewer will be produced.
  • The applications that are written specifically for the iPad are impressive and most of my “old” iPhone applications work just fine.
  • I am VERY pleased with the battery life of the iPad. After using it for a full day (and allowing my 3 and 4 year old to play with it a bit), I still had plenty of battery life at the end of the day.
  • Depending on the cost of subscription, there is a very good chance that I will subscribe again to some newspapers (Wall Street Journal will be the first when they offer a reasonable subscription price) and magazines (BusinessWeek will be my first there). My biggest problem with traditional print media today is that I don’t seem to have it with me when I have available time to read it. Therefore, I end up having past editions pile up and cancel the subscription because there is no value for me. With the iPad, I will have the content with me and think I would be much more likely to read it.
  • HOW WILL BUYING TWO SAVE ME $500? When we purchased our 2009 GMC Acadia, my wife wanted the factory DVD system installed with the screens in the back of the headrests. The best aftermarket option I have found is still $1400 (plus $100-$150 installation labor) which we would potentially have to replace with another system when we sell this vehicle and buy another. Plus, we would still have to haul around all of our DVDs and face the inevitable truth that at least one or two will be scratched or lost on each trip. Now, I will buy two iPads and fill them with movies, games and books for the boys to use during long trips! Since both of my sons have been able to master our iPhone for well over a year, they have no problems using the iPad!!
These are my initial thoughts – I am sure I will have more in the future!

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