In this linktastic edition of geekytalkythinky I’d like to run through a few of the surprising amount of niche markets that have been crying out for a device with a user interface that “just works” for them.
Of course we’re talking about the iPad… but for many of the below there’s simply not been anything else that just works for them. Through a stupid amount of research, I’m going to sum up a few fields where there’s definitely been both a need desired and a solution in the iPad. I’d be more than happy to hear of others and your experiences.
Lawyers seemed to be the first to grab the opportunities available to the iPhone and are following that with iPad usage. They’re loving the iPad for general usage, and despite the jokes about them, there’s some pretty bright cookies there who know how to use technology. The always useful but mostly iPhone related, iPhoneJD has been having a lot of iPad related information of late. Specifically they directed me to the newly formed tabletlegal.com which gives a nice rundown of all the best apps for lawyers and various other information.
At the very minimum, businesses are looking at the iPad for businesses to meet the ADA requirement in the US (and the equivalent in other countries). In addition, the always wonderful ATMac blog has an excellent roundup of all the blog posts on how various disabilities are making use of the iPad. Particularly of interest is this post from the mac-cessibility network on the great possibilities of the iPad for the vision impaired community.
Apart from the usefulness in dealing with disabilities above… there’s quite a lot of interest in the iPad in the enterprise, Even businessweek got in on the act. I expect with the addition of the support teams (listed below) there’ll be a lot of them appearing in the standard corporate structure.
With medical textbooks on the way, and also lots of apps, I expect there to be many hospitals accepting them as standard. Not to mention that keeping keyboards clean is a constant problem and the iPad works just fine when sealed in a ziplock bag. It’s very easy set up a system to securely access a hospitals system to access patient data, scans, and drug related information as has been done before. There’s a good review of medical iPad options available should you need it.
What most people don’t realize about light plane pilots are that they need to keep a ridiculous amount of detailed information available to them at all times with flight charts, weather information, airport databases, general hazards and lots of other stuff. With a GPS and very good screen included, it’s no surprise that almost as soon as the iPads was launched there was a plethora of Aviator apps available for the iPad and many pilots have written some great iPad related posts. With the addition of the iPro Kneeboard (which I personally would love for long journeys) it makes for a perfect pilots companion. As a bonus, larger airlines have been looking at whether the iPad can change the way the airlines do business.
So far, with the Testing and market audience it seems that the silver surfers (internet users in the elderly market range) could be some of the big winners with the iPad. The locked down, virus free environment is a boon for them and the lack of flash, multitasking and USB support bothers them not a jot. As long as they can print their emails (joke) then they’ll be fine. ;)
I’ll be following up more on this in the sequel to my “why my Mum needs an iPad” post, coming soon when she gets one.
Bloggers and reporters
The mobile reporting crowd seem to be loving the iPad in general. With a nice wireless keyboard or even with the onscreen one it can be used quite well to capture a decent amount of text from anywhere. The always excellent (if somewhat verbose (though I should talk)) Andy Ihnatko from the Chicago sun times has been waxing philosophical on the benefits and flaws of the iPad as a blogging/writing tool. A plethora of posts about the general blogging capabilities of the iPad, and overall good reviews. In addition there’s notes about the iPad as a conference laptop which are quite entertaining and useful.
Weirdly, the IT professions who have most decried it as a locked down horrible platform have also been the ones raving quite venomously about it. There’s been some general thoughts, Chuck Hollis of EMC has some interesting thoughts on using the iPad in the family, and many, many other posts on why a nice wireless device that can do VNC fairly easily can be exceedingly useful for a support tool. I’m just waiting for Citrix to build a nice iPad client.
The very useful Ipad4EDU has some really interesting uses right out. In addition to supporting ePub format right out, I expect many textbook companies to on iBooks in no time flat. I’m hoping for an iPad in most students hands by the end of the year.
Seriously, I’ve seen posts from Dive instructors, real estate agents, Roleplaying GM’s, travellers, photographers, Hospitality experts and even apps for people doing Data collection. The absolutely amazing RanaJune always blows me away for her iPad DJ skills. and I’ve seen various reviews for power users. A surprising amount of youtube videos have popped up on first time usage, and many more blog posts on the subject both young and old, and at least two posts from the amazing programmer Frasier Speirs on 2 weeks with the iPad and the iPad in the classroom which both contain a wealth of information.
To sum up, I think the iPad is perfect for a whole lot of stuff that people haven’t even considered. It’s not a laptop, not a computer, not an iPhone. It’s an appliance to do specific things and do them very very well. In conclusion I’ll link to one of the best summaries of what the iPad is all about… again by Frasier Speirs even before he got his hands on one.