Some YouJustGetMe thoughts on the iPad
The Internet is abuzz after Apple announced the release of what it is calling its "most advance technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price": the iPad. Will the iPad finally break open the tablet market in a way that the Amazon Kindle couldn't, or will this be just another Newton? As Psychster Portland currently consists of two tech-savvy and opinionated twentysomething guys who are fascinated by the ways that technology changes the way people communicate with each other, we figured we might as well throw our hat into the ring.
Both Anthony and Nick of Psychster Portland intended to get Barnes and Noble Nook tablets, and watched news of the iPad keenly. "I was absolutely ready, if the iPad was awesome enough, to immediately cancel my order for the Nook and switch over," explained Anthony. "However, I was pretty underwhelmed." Major concerns included the decision not to utilize e-ink, forcing users to read extended works on a backlit screen. "It'd be one thing if I was a commuter, or had to spend a long time on a subway or something," said Nick. "However, I'd probably use it for things like reading on long bus or airplane trips, and in that situation the Nook's e-ink seems like it'd be a more energy-efficient and readable option."
"When would people need an intermediate device between their Smart Phones and their laptops?" Anthony asks. Ashley Lewis, One of the YJGM's all-time best guessers, pointed out that the iPad could have a great use in education and the classroom. Anthony also pointed out that it's a perfect transitional device for PC-minded people to start getting used to a Mac platform - at around $500 with no requirement to jump on the 3G plan, it could convince fence-sitters to jump to the Mac side.
Some experts, though, are already sold. "I think it's cool because it makes mobile computing a lot more user-friendly and accessible for the vast majority of prospective users," explains MJ Petroni. Petroni, Principal of CauseIt Inc. applies his academic training as a cyborg anthropologist to coaching, consulting, and branding work with small business teams. "What the iPad provides from an interface perspective is the ability to do almost all the normal tasks of mobile computing without without 90% of the clutter associated with other devices," such as a laptop or smart phone.
"Speaking on the design and UI interface, it's fantastic in that it makes technology accessible to people who don't otherwise interact with it. A great example would be people who've put off integrating computers into their everyday life, such as older users and users with limited patience for learning around technology." Petroni also points out that the iPad could be the missing link in technological accessibility for the differently-abled. "This will be a wonderful interface for a friend of mine who recently had a stroke."
The "magic" that Apple posits about its iPad may come from the device's doing away with the final separation between themselves and the interface: the cursor. "Devices like this are fundamentally tactile and experiential," Nick says. "Unlike, say, Google Wave - which is revolutionary conceptually - the iPhone is revolutionary in terms of the physical experience. As opposed to interacting with it via a cursor, you interact with the device using natural movements." Petroni concurs: "People start to relate to it as though they're directly interacting with the data rather than the tool. Because the interface integrates intuitive gestures, layers of translation are removed."
Getting down to brass tacks: will we buy an iPad? "Absolutely!" exclaims Petroni. Nick and Anthony of Psychster Portland are less enthused - "I'd definitely need to touch it first before I'd consider buying one," says Anthony. "Also, you know that the second generation is going to be really astonishing, and will work out a lot of the kinks in the first." Perhaps Christmas 2010 will be the Season of the iPad for the YJGM team!
Special thanks to MJ Petroni of CauseIt Inc.
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