iPad – the saviour of journalism?

Apple today launched the much hyped iPad in Yerba Buena. Resembling a large iPhone, the device carries a lot of hope on its shoulders, least not from publishers who envisage it as the future of news delivery.

Here are its basic stats:
– 0.5 inches thick
– weighs 1.5 pounds (0.7kilos)
– 9.7 inch multitouch display
– 1GHz Apple A4 chip (built in house)
– between 16GB and 64GB of flash memory

Martin Nisenholtz from the New York Times demonstrated at the event the iPad’s capabilites in terms of advancing existing ebook technologies. The NYT app is a rough facsimile of the paper itself, navigable in ways more familiar from a website. It all looks pretty swish yet there seems to have been a generally cool response from bloggers.

Steve Jobs commented at the launch that “Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of product, between a laptop and a smartphone? There’s a pretty high bar… but we think we’ve got the goods. We think we’ve done it.” Yet why would anyone want to invest in a new device, more expensive, more bulky and only slightly more versatile than the existing iPhone 3GS?

I for one will be sticking with my current smartphone. For a start the iPad just looks far too impractical. How are we meant to hold it? I simply can’t imagine watching an entire 2 hour movie on my lap. What’s more, how are we meant to carry it round? Am I the only one who thinks the device has ‘mug me’ written all over it? Maybe the truth will be in testing the device in reality. I initially had reservations about the touch-screen on an iPhone and whether I really needed the web in the palm of my hand. It is now essential to my micro-journalism and arts coverage.

For now here are some images from the Guardian website:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gallery/2010/jan/27/apple-ipad-tablet-computer?picture=358610473

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