I've been hearing a lot about the Apple iPad, what is it and should I care?

The iPad is Apples latest creation. The device is what is known as an Internet Appliance (although Apple are calling it a tablet, and many people are mistaking it for a computer).

The device is aimed at the home market (although there are some possible business applications, read below). Much like you switch on your TV to watch a programme, your DVD player to watch a file or your HiFi to listen to some music, you switch on your iPad to surf the internet (although it does do a lot more).

For casual surfing at home, the experience promises to be much like the iPhone or iPod Touch, only bigger. Page zooming looks flawless, the pages render quickly and images and text look crisp. The iPad is lacking Adobe Flash, commonly used to provide animations and game on the web. This will disappoint some users, but as said in their keynote speech at the WWDC 2009 the number one causes of browser crashes is plugins. With the web moving toward HTML5 at a rapid pace (thanks to both Google and Apple), I doubt many users will notice the omission.

The iPad can also run iPhone apps, with the ability to have the app at it's native size and centered on the screen, or with pixel doubling allowing the app to use the entire screen. I believe both these modes look odd, but Apple has recently provided a means to allow apps to make use of the entire screen, in the hope that app developers make use of this.

Possible use in Business

At the Apple Keynote where Apple announce the iPad, they showed the iPad running Apple's office suite, iWork. This is an interesting move, as the form factor of the iPad means that is an ideal size to take notes in a meeting, or to connect to a projector to display a presentation. Apple also provides a dock with an integrated keyboard, allowing much easier text entry.

Various companies have found interesting uses for the iPhone and iPod Touch in business, with companies such as Salesforce.com and Xero.com releasing their own iPhone apps or web interfaces.

As happened with the iPhone App Store, people have thought of Business uses that no-one could imagine, and while I can't see the iPad replacing your computer for day to day tasks, it will certainly be an interesting device to keep an eye on.

Keep reading the Diggory Lifestyle Bulletin and we'll let you know if anything more develops!

Chris Hawes - auxillio.com