Now that we’ve all had a few days to let the dust settle, feel the smoke clear and generally regain our wits about us, I wanted to see if we could spin a little positivity into what many seem to be “underwhelmed” and “unexcited” about; the forthcoming first-generation Apple iPad.
Truly unfortunate name aside, there is much to celebrate for the current iteration of this device and most importantly, the future of this device.
Let’s head back to the first generation of the iPod; which launched nearly nine years ago in October 2001 with a (get this) $399 pricetag (!!!!). Came in 5GB and 10GB sizes. Firewire connector (no dock at this point). Physical click-wheel.
Fast forward to the most recent generation of (non-touchscreen) “Classic” iPods – the sixth generation models that were introduced in September 2007. These models come in 80GB, 120GB, and 160GB sizes. Shows videos. Offers the ability to play games designed for the format such as Scrabble, Bejeweled, UNO and more.
If we consider the arc that the iPod has taken over the course of its existence, we can expect that Apple’s dedication to constantly tweaking, modifying and improving their products will eventually deliver us a life-changing piece of hardware. Even though there’s no USB port, or that it only runs the iPhone OS doesn’t mean that future versions of the iPad won’t migrate to utilizing these technologies. We could guess that even better technologies will emerge that will supercede what people perceive as crucial missing elements to this first edition of the device.
Let’s talk about some potential uses of the iPad that will not require any significant hardware or operating system upgrades to handle.
On Scott Hansen’s ISO50 blog, he wonders if the iPad could possibly replace the 4X more expensive Lemur controller made by JazzMutant. What a brilliant use for the iPad! To be able to mix and control various multimedia sources in a live performance context at the iPad’s reasonable price is monumental.
As the post suggests, the folks at Hexler/TouchOSC are already at the forefront of using the iPod Touch/iPhone for controlling external music programs. One can only guess that in this sixty day window before the iPad ships Hexler will be upgrading and optimizing the TouchOSC for large format use on the new hardware.
Currently excellent apps such as Beatmaker and FourTrack will only thrive in a larger format with more room to add in-line mixing consoles, audio plug-ins and more. The former could easily takeover the need for having to bring an MPC to a gig if the software was brought to a 10inch screen. Easily my biggest complaint of an otherwise awesome piece of software is having to flick through a few pages of options to make on-the-fly sound tweaks due to the tiny screen real-estate limitations of the iPod/iPod Touch format.
What if the future’s Doctors offices utilized the iPad to have instant cloud-based access to patient’s stats, history and test results? What if all the stethoscopes, scales, blood pressure readers and measurement devices in the office had bluetooth connectivity that reported back to said cloud about each patient? Could we get closer to finding more accurate statistics about our health over time and how it relates to our changing human bodies?
There was a great post on the forums at MacTalk AU on Friday regarding this very topic. I love the idea of having a bedside visual aid to help patients see a prognosis and what future processes need to occur to fix the problem. Up-to-date medical reports, drug interaction charts, and past history all at one’s fingertips is just enlightening and will pave the road to the future.
It’s truly difficult to imagine a time when more possibility was at our fingertips than it is right now.
Let’s save our judgments till all hands are on deck on this one.
As pointed out in the comments of the ISO50 blog post, looking back to forum posts on the day that the first generation iPod was launched provides a very interesting parallel to much of the criticism we are seeing from the announcement of the iPad.
iPod images / tech stats via the Crutchfield iPod Generations Chart.
UPDATE: Emergent By Design had a similar, yet far more thorough and awesome post about this topic yesterday.