Apple’s iPad is the innovative company’s latest attempt to fill a gap in our modern lives, even if we didn’t know that gap existed. It will finally transfer media consumption from the home office computer and into the living room. Then, when you’re on vacation, you’ll be able to bring that same device with you to lighten the load and to open up more doors to knowledge than ever before.
As it exists in this initial version, the real potential for the iPad would seem to be as an interactive replacement for paper guidebooks. No need to lug one around for each new destination you plan to visit. Just upload the latest copy with the latest peer reviews onto the device overnight and away you go in the morning. Sync everything up to Google Maps and you find exactly where you are in relation to that highly recommended restaurant with suggested walking routes to get there. Since the iPad weighs less than two pounds, your back is sure to be thanking you.
If you have to travel long distances or have a long layover somewhere, the iPad will function as your on-board entertainment device. Watch your favorite films or download art and music from artists who live where you’ll be visiting. Want to get some feeling of the local flair? Then have the iPad auto translate the local newspaper website on the fly!
The iPad has the potential to become your child’s all-in-one learning device. Even when on vacation, they’ll be able to get assignments from school, interact with the teacher, and submit homework for grading straight from the device. This will make it easier to go off and learn things about the world without feeling guilty about missing a couple days of school.
With iWork and similar applications, you will be able to download photos off your camera and organize and edit them while you’re on the road. With iBook, you can have all your favorite reading material with you, not to mention the NY Times and loads of other magazines.
Another great ability would be to take a picture of some writing, say on a map or sign, in a foreign language and have it translated on the spot for you. You never have to worry about not getting all the details ever again!
So, will the iPad change the way we travel forever? Probably not. However, it is proof of concept for devices that could.