In a series of short posts, I will start to lay out the case for how and why I think the iPad will change photography. Now before you get too excited, I’m not talking about major change, but IMPORTANT change.
Part 1: You’ll stop thinking about files and start thinking about pictures.
Looking at the feedback I received from the previous two iPad posts I wrote, (Post 1 andPost 2) I began to understand what some people are missing about the iPad. They are trying to push a round peg into a square hole. Some want the iPad to be an iPhone. Some want it to be camera. Most want it to work like a laptop. It’s none of those things nor should it be. As I’ve said in the previous posts, if you want a laptop buy a laptop. We already have things like a laptop available to us. This is a NEW thing – a new category. And it’s designed to get you focused on CONTENT not FILES.
One photographer wrote me a very, very, very long email (3000 words or so) explaining how the iPad was a failure, etc.
He kept saying things like – “It won’t handle RAW files.” “How will I move files from the iPad to the computer?” His constant use of the word FILES got me thinking. This guy doesn’t understand Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs doesn’t talk about files. He talks about pictures and music, etc. After all, these FILES (in the context of this post) are pictures. It’s the pictures that matter not the files. Apple makes products you can DO stuff with. And in this case, you can use the iPad to look at and share pictures, not files.
Interacting with PICTURES on the iPad is going to be very different from the way it’s done on a computer. There’s no mouse. There’s no trackpad or trackball. There’s no programming involved. There’s no learning curve. Three year old kids will start using an iPad successfully within three minutes because the iPad is about the content – and the interface that lets you access that content. More on the interface in my next iPad post.
In this series, I will start to lay out the case for how and why I think the iPad will change photography. Now before you get too excited, I’m not talking about major change, but IMPORTANT change.
Last week I mentioned that the iPad is a CONTENT machine – aimed at consuming it not creating it. Today, I want to talk about the interface.
The iPad doesn’t come with a pointer, a trackpad, a trackball or a mouse. It relies on multi-touch technology. If you’ve seen the Tom Cruise movie where Cruise uses his hand to interact with a computer while hunting for a criminal you understand multi-touch. If you have an Apple iPhone or laptop you probably use multi-touch right now. And that is one very crucial factor in the iPad’s ability to share photographs.
Millions (and I do mean millions) of people are already familiar with Apple’s multi-touch technology. They use it every day. So that means the iPad will come to their door ready to use. No training required. Heck, you won’t even need to read the manual.
Laptops, tablet computers and such are much more complicated. Small children can use a mult-touch device right out of the box – as can elderly folks who think “learning” a computer is too big a task.
I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. When I first got the iPhone I put a portfolio of my wolf pics on the phone. I knew my neighbor’s five-year-old daughter loved wolves so I just handed her the phone and asked her if she wanted to look at some wolf photos. She got excited, literally grabbed the phone from me, turned it horizontally (since the first pic in the show was horizontal) and started enjoying the photo. Then I simply said, “Go on to the next one now.” She looked at me funny but then back at the iPhone and sure enough, she just organically knew to try swiping the image. When it worked she let out a little yelp of happiness. I then showed her (one time) how to pinch to zoom in and within a few minutes she had mastered the whole thing.
This is the stuff Apple does very, very well. And you can bet it’s going to make the iPad one of the most consumer-friendly pieces of technology we’ve ever seen.
Apple has worked to expand multi-touch on the iPad. There are numerous new “gestures” planned for the iPad.
Bundles (or piles or stacks) can be made by holding a finger on one picture and then tapping others to group together.
New Resize handle makes it easy to tap and grab one or more images and resize them.
New page navigation sidebar lets you see thumbnails of pages to select.
New context-based keyboards will automatically resize to fit the app you’re using.
There are many more like floating control panels, optimized views, more spread and pinch options, popovers, dragging to create lists, etc.
And this doesn’t even count all the new gestures we’ll see once the third-party developers get into writing new ones.
In short, I see the ability to interact with the iPad via multi-touch as a new opportunity to show off your photo portfolio with flair. Not only will you be able to show pictures, but if you become skilled at multi-touch gestures, you’ll be able to do it with style.
The ability to use the iPad as a portable portfolio is probably my main attraction to the device. And portability is the next thing I’ll cover in part 3 of the series.