I have mixed feelings about the iPad. I think it looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see what people will do with it. I’m ecstatic that it will be just as good for viewing HTML5 and web pages as it will be for custom-made apps (although … where be ye, Flash? I think those capabilities are probably coming soon).
But what I don’t like is that it seems to be aimed at content consumption over content creation. That’s not to say that the iPad looks like a passive device, but…
- No camera? Really?
- Maybe people will get used to the touch-screen keyboard, but it will never be ideal. (Yes, people have written novels on old-school cell phones, but that’s not because it’s ergonomic. They are adapting to the technology. Is it too much too ask to design technology for the ease of content creation?)
Apple traditionally has been all about making it easier for users to create. Just look at software like iMovie, iPhoto, and Garage Band. Yes, it may not be the most powerful editing software, but it was free and it worked and it let people who otherwise wouldn’t have had access to media software make and edit movies, pictures, and sound.
One of the things I love (and I do mean love) about the Internet, and especially that glittery murky Web 2.0/Web 3.0 thing, is that it encourages EVERYONE to produce content. It’s stupid easy to turn yourself into a publisher. That frightens a lot of journalists, but it excites me. (And as an aside, this is why I favor mobile web over apps. Apps have a higher barrier of entry. Anyone can make a web page — well maybe not my grandfather — but few can make apps.)
So maybe the iPad isn’t meant to replace a desktop or laptop computer. Maybe it’s meant to fill the in-between spaces so that we can always, always, always be wired. But … I have a feeling that for many users it will quickly become their go-to device.
How will this affect the ability for users to create and share content? I hope I’m feeling apprehensive about nothing. Maybe that keyboard attachment will do the trick.