Friday, May 07, 2010

Why the iPad Matters

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.


  1. Thanks, Matt, for gathering together such a nice collection of videos demonstrating just some of what the iPad can do. I was especially touched by the poem composed by the 99 year old lady whose world has just been hugely enlarged by this device. How exciting. I agree with you about being disappointed by Apple's proprietary stance, but I guess they are in the market to make money. They do offer many educational resources for free. I have the iPhone - just might be tempted to get an iPad, and give up the phone with the additional $30.00 per month internet access. I assume the iPad has access where ever free wifi is available?

  2. Thanks for the comment Carolyn. I was touched by the video as me this is a great example of how technology can empower people to overcome barriers.

    Yes, you are right regarding the wifi on the iPad. It will connect to any WiFi hotspot-coffee shops, libraries, homes, school, etc. They do have some intriguing pay as you go kinda plans for the 3G enabled iPad...perhaps this is something you might consider.

    I look forward to hearing more about your iPad adventure if you end up going down that path! It clearly is going to be a technology platform that has a huge impact on learning.