Thanks to my job I have spent some time over the past few weeks with a fully loaded iPad which has been enlightening to have the chance to experiment with it and confirm my feelings about how useful it would be for me. Putting my feeling about Apple’s application creation and approval process aside I can see it’s potential but in it’s current form with the current portfolio of applications I still feel that it’s the spork of computing.
To be fair, the one thing I consistently liked about it was the size of the device useful on my train ride into New York City because the seats are like an airplane and too close together to let you open your laptop comfortably. I could surf the parts of the Internet that worked on it but it didn’t come close to being able to become a light weight replacement for my laptop. I was frustrated that I was never able to do any real work on the thing aside from starting to write a few blog posts through the WordPress application.
I did experiment and try out a lot of applications and was really disappointed to see how many of them like ABC News, Gilt and Wired were just iPhone applications with new layouts or repurposing print content with a little interaction sprinkled in. The one application I was really impressed with was Flipboard and you may recognize the development crew from the mobile sales tool called Square (new video here). The application is only for iPad and takes your data from Facebook and friend’s Twitter photos and links to create your own personalized, social media powered magazine. I love the concept because each ‘edition’ of the Flipboard application is unique based on the fact that every person is going to have a unique collection of friends. Should you have boring friends there are also a few collections on various topics that Flipboard has put together similar to what you would find in an application like Cool Hunting. So in the end this new take on the magazine that is powered by dynamic media is really interesting and starts to pay off on the potential of the iPad. I only hope more publications bring this kind of innovative thinking to their digital versions and applications.