iPad – the Newton reborn?
So Apple have finally pulled the wraps off the long-awaited iPad, and pretty cool it looks too. I say this as a recently converted Apple fan, having bought an iPhone 3GS back in December and bored friends and colleagues ever since with endless app demonstrations.
Industry pundits seem to agree that the new device is likely to be a ‘gamechanger’, if only because Apple appear able to sprinkle magic marketing dust on any new product they launch.
But maybe success isn’t so certain. In recent years Apple’s Cube computer was a sales flop, with consumers unsure as to who (and what) it was aimed at. And perhaps more pertinently, going back to the early 90s, Apple released a much-hyped early PDA with handwriting recognition built-in called the Newton. Again, at the time no-one (apart from Apple fanatics) really ‘got’ it.
So will the iPad be another iPod / iPhone or another Newton? Difficult to say. On the one hand, it hits the ground running by virtue of supporting most of the 140,000+ apps which already exist for the iPhone. On the other – well, although I will of course simply have to get one, if I’m honest I’m not sure when I would use it. We already know that even the 3G versions won’t work as a phone (and you’d feel pretty foolish holding one up against your ear anyway), so that potentially compelling reason to take it everywhere won’t apply. And it’s perhaps too small and compromised to function as an alternative to a ‘proper’ laptop.
That said, by the autumn we’ll probably be starting to see them in the hands of students and show-off colleagues (you know who you are!) If it does turn out to be a gamechanger, this will clearly have implications for teaching and learning. Watch this space.