Opinion please – Apple’s latest iGet

Discussions about the pros and cons of Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad, are raging on the internet. Is this tablet computing device revolutionary, or just a hype?

“It certainly isn’t revolutionary”, says ict expert Willem van Valkenburg, of the university ict department. “With the iPhone, Apple astonished the world. The whole user interface was new. For the first time, for instance, you could control everything using only your fingers; you could zoom in or out just by moving your fingers. With that device Apple also set the trend of buying apps – special programs for iPhones. Android phones and Blackberries followed that trend. With the iPad, Apple just continues on the same path.”

The iPad may not be revolutionary, but that won’t hold Van Valkenburg back from buying one. “I still think it’s quite cool. The mail program is very efficient – a lot better than existing email programs. With the iPad you can really have a paperless office; you can always carry all your documents with you. The device is as thick as a bloc note and a lot lighter than a laptop.” Critics say that you can’t multitask with the iPad. “That’s true, but you can stop a program and launch another one very fast.”

Mobile service communication specialist, dr. Mark de Reuver (Technology, Policy and Management), even thinks Apple has deliberately chosen for a limited functionality to keep the iPad clean, simple and user-friendly. Another thing he notices is the closed character of the content. Apple has developed its own platform for electronic publishing.

Is the iPad likely to cause a stir in the publishing industry, similar to what the iPod did with the music business? Inald Lagendijk, a professor at the multimedia and signal processing section (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science), thinks that that is what Apple is after: “Technically speaking, the iPad isn’t revolutionary – there are many comparable devices – but it has the Apple design and image. It’s surrounded by an aura of success. Publishers have been talking for twenty years about digitalizing their content. Maybe Apple will bring in enough aura and money to change things. There’s no industry as conservative as the publishing industry. So it would be quit a feat of Apple.”

Is Lagendijk going to buy an iPad? “I’m not that much of an Apple adherer myself”, he says. “Many people identify themselves with Apple’s gadgets. It’s almost something religious. I have a pda with some smart features, which works fine for me. Maybe this has something do with my generation, but when I have to work, I prefer to sit behind a desk and have a proper keyboard.”

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