There have been many comments about the iPad. Many of them, coming form the geekosphere, are rather negative ones, or if positive, with funny excuses, such as comparing the iPad with Chumby. The main drawbacks, listening to many people, are that it is nothing but a too big iPhone; that there is no VGA or equivalent output, which therefore makes it impossible to display slides; that the absence of keyboard, which makes it impossible to use to write text in a situation of mobility, etc.
Yes, it is true, iPad is not a phone, is not a notebook, is not a computer, etc… As a travelling person, I understand iPad is probably not for me, because I want a computer with a big screen, weights nothing, has a big keyboard, broadband access wherever I am and, of course, fits into my pocket.
Because I love contradiction. At the beginning of my carrier, I was a cartographer. I was surprised to see customers who would come, ask for a map of all southern America, and were surprised not to see the little Inca trail they planned to use to walk to Machu Picchu. Yes, mister customer, you can’t have a single map which is both 25.000 and 5.000.000 scale.
Well, you could not, until comes Google Earth. Because Google Earth allows multiple scale, and perfectly answers the question. Drawback is that google earth needs a physical support.
Like many things in life, any travel starts with a dream. Looking at the map is the begining of this dream, then reading books, etc. Where do we dream ? At home, on the couch while drinking a good glass of wine. In our kitchen in the morning while eating our breakfast. In our bed, before falling asleep. Standing up, a good book on a lectern. In our dining room, sharing some interesting content with friends, family, etc. Everything we already do, either with a good book, or with a laptop. But a laptop folded in two parts, always lacking power, too heavy, not easy to both hold and type… Because it is not the computer which comes to ues, it is always us who go to the computer.
Books, books, books. Where do we have books in our home ? Everywhere. Gaorges Perec, in his famous book “penser classer”, show that there are books everywhere in a home, including the toilets. The only place with few books is the kitchen, where interestingly only kitchen books are found.
So the equation becomes clerearer : I want a dream machine which combines the world opening provided by the Internet, the multimedia richness, the hyperlink facility, but with the easiness of manipulation of a book. I dare to say that the iPad perfectly fits to these requierements. We shall all have an iPad at home, at least one and maybe many. It will lay on the couch, sits on the kitchen table, spend the night by our bed. We shall use it to dream about our next holydays, share web sites with our family, read content to our friends, and, I bet, we shall even take it to the toilets. Whoever has seen a friend getting out of the toilets after many minutes, with a book in his hand, may understand this.
The iPad is not a mobility instrument (so why buy the 3G version ?). It is a superb window opened to the world; an unlimited content that will become our home compagnion, our dream support, allowing us to read, surf, share, talk, and many other things, and be part of the house.
I bet it will be a huge success.