I'd like to start out by saying I'm not an iPad owner and I'm a HUGE critic of the tightly closed platform. However, this category of computing devices that offers a multi-touch interface bundled in a highly portable form factor with great battery life truly is a game changer.
Here are the reasons why...
First and foremost, the iPad is making content and information more accessible to folks on the fringe. Don't believe it? Check out the following two videos. The first is of a 99 year old woman who has been unable to read books due to vision problems - this changed recently when she read a book on her iPad-I'm guessing the brightly lit screen along with the ability to customize the font size helped make this possible. The second video is from a toddler interacting with an iPad - the intuitive and natural touch interface is clearly increasing the accessibility of this platform to very young children.
The iPad is changing our concept of the book. Instead of simply reading a book, we can now become part of the story. Below is the highly interactive Alice for the iPad application. Imagine other stories coming to life with a format like this.
Finally, the iPad is making musical instruments more accessible. Check out these two applications-these are just FIRST GEN apps! What will gen 2, 3, 4 and 5 music apps look like?
Squiggle from Henry Chu on Vimeo.