What makes the iPad appealing and why do we need a tablet computer if we have laptops? Aren’t they the same thing? It may seem a bit confusing as to why there is such a huge buzz surrounding the release of the Apple iPad. So why were millions of people anxiously awaiting the arrival of their pre-ordered iPads? The answer lies in the innovation: the iPad is offering the newest level of user interaction.
It Started with the iPhone…
From the beginning, we have used standard input devices such as a mouse and/or keyboard to issue commands to a computer. With the rise of touch-input, there are extraordinary new possibilities for overall user experience. When Apple came out with the iPhone, it introduced us to a new type of touch-input employing the use of natural hand gestures to evoke a response (not to mention the high level of touch sensitivity for the most accurate and efficient experience). The acts of ‘pinching’ to zoom or dragging your finger for scroll give us the ability to naturally and intuitively accomplish tasks. When you see something you want to click on you simply touch it! It seems simple enough, but giving users the ability to interact through such easy and natural methods enhances the human-computer interaction dramatically.
Tablet Computers: a Dream Forever…Why Now?
The creation of a tablet computer is by no means a brand new idea. When Laptops were developed the tablet didn’t seem to have as much importance anymore. After all, a tablet is basically a portable computer fulfilling the same basic function as a laptop. The major function a tablet can offer is to fulfill the role of a cheaper laptop, but this technology didn’t seem important enough and the market certainly wasn’t huge…until now. Multi-touch input is the reason the iPad has been received with so much enthusiasm.
A Multi-Touch User Interface Broadens the User Experience
As a developer, designer, marketer, or technology enthusiast you start to wonder: what will the iPad change for us? This new wave of technology has every business asking the same question. Using a mouse to interact with a computer is very limiting when compared to the physical interaction with objects displayed on the screen. Scrolling, zooming, page turning, searching, and many other tasks become completely natural with the use of hand gestures on the ultra sensitive touch screen.
One area that will change forever is the world of printed media. With the emergence of touch-input, magazines, books and other printed publications have new freedoms and the ability to be more creative then ever. The iPad operating system stimulates a shift from flat images and text to a world of rich text, imagery, animation and interactivity.
Wired Magazine creative director Scott Dadich discusses the huge opportunity the iPad technology has given to magazines. Wired is embracing the new technology and taking the opportunity to expose their brand in a more creative and engaging multi-dimensional way. In their iPad application, they include a feature called a “scrubber” to quickly browse through every page in the issue and they’ve also added rich social features so users can easily clip and share favorite articles. Advertising in magazines will also be a completely new experience. Advertisers can sell their products through short films and 360’s (view a product from all angles).
Conveniently following in the footsteps of the iPhone, the iPad and tablet technology have finally found a market. The innovation of multi-touch interaction on a larger screen gives the user the ability to feel it’s full power and capabilities. Media is changing dramatically with the ability to reach audiences in new ways. With the release of the iPad, we all have the opportunity to take advantage of this new user experience and come up with our own fresh ideas to engage an audience.