Students and the Apple iPad

Apple announced its iPad tablet computer today. The device seems to be mostly a large-screen iPod Touch. The intriguing aspects of the iPad, at least to me, were that Apple says that for the 3G versions ($130 extra over the WiFi-only versions) these devices will be unlocked, and that Apple has arrangements with textbook publishers for EPUB content. It seems that Apple was able to wring some few concessions from AT&T concerning the unlocking and the two tiers of data plans. While the data plan costs are not cheap, they manage not to be exorbitant.

I saw that some other commentators were perplexed about the time taken in the announcement to show Apple’s iWork applications as they are ported to the iPad. I think, though, that a major market for the iPad might just turn out to be among high school and college students. Consider the points made and that market:

– Light enough to carry around in the backpack (If a student can skip carrying even one textbook and carry an iPad instead, they will be lightening their load.)

– 10 hour battery life, good enough for the school day

– Low cost applications that will be good enough for note-taking and in-class analysis

– Capable of holding and displaying full textbook content in color plus supplemental multimedia

– Cost low enough that it is compatible with current budgets for textbooks

– WiFi for on-campus connectivity and research

The fact that it also does a bunch of multimedia service plus gaming will be seen as a plus, at least by the students if not their parents.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

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