My Impressions of the iPad and How it Will Impact Education

These are times in which the market is saturated with new gadgets and advances in technology.  Every week, new tools come out which promise better entertainment and some level of value-add to everyday living.

Interestingly, only a few of these gadgets ever stick long enough for folks to get excited.  Tivo comes to mind.  So does the iPhone which brings us to this post.  Before I talk about my impressions of the iPad, consider how amazing it is that millions (tens of millions?) of people around the country even know about the iPad much less care about purchasing one.  Apple's marketing prowess is broader than any other company, even Google.  It's a machine which gets fanatics more emboldened and those on the fringe curious.

I was a true-blue PC guy up until a year ago.  Now I can't imagine going back.  With three Macs and an iPhone, I can honestly (and I'm not even kidding) say that my life is better as a result.

On to the iPad.  We purchased several through work as a demo for how we think we'll be using them with admissions and recruitment.  We are really excited about the potential that the iPad brings to the world of education.

Let's first review how those in education are plotting their own interaction with the iPad:

My impressions:

  1. The screen is lovely. Yes, it picks up a lot of fingerprints but so does the iPhone.

  2. The device is a bit heavy. If you've used a Kindle, the iPad will feel somewhat bulky.

  3. The speed is delightful. Even with the WiFi version, it's very snappy.

  4. The App Store for iPad has a long way to go. Still too many apps to make the iPhone to iPad conversion leap.

  5. Accessories are a must. Like the slippery iPhone, you'll want a case for the iPad, not only to protect it but to make it easier to hold.  I'm concerned about how I'll transport the device. It's very holdable but as to how it will travel, we'll have to see.

  6. Battery life is impressive. You can drag a full 12 hours out of the iPad. Very nice.

  7. Keyboard is difficult to use. I'm hesitant to write this because I had a hard time, initially, with the iPhone keyboard but unless you're in landscape mode, the keyboard is pretty much about hunting and pecking.  As someone who types 75 wpm, I'm struggling with the keyboard.

I was shocked when I read Michael Hyatt's post about the device.  He compared it to the Segway- remember those?  I understand why after having used it for a few days.  It's truly impressive and yet I'm not sure how I'll use it in the long term.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy its beautiful design and continue to explore its potential.

What are your initial thoughts on the iPad?