Unless you have been under a very remote rock today (and, of course, if you are a photographer you might have been… ;-) you heard about Apple’s announcement of the iPad, their new tablet computing device. I’m not going to rehash all of the specs, but I have thought a little bit about how this might (and might not) fit into the lives and work of photographers.
I think that one possibility is that many who now may create content (like some of the articles and/or photographs seen on this blog) may find an avenue for publishing in a more book-like format and perhaps even distributing content via the iTunes (or is it iBook?) store. While the big publishers are getting the initial press for porting their collections to electronic versions, if the iTunes store is any guide there will be some great opportunities for small runs of electronic books. In the same way that some musicians and bands now self-produce creative work and then sell it through iTunes (or eMusic and so forth) this may provide a way for photographers to distribute electronic versions of their photography and their related writing. Advice: if this makes sense to you, start working on it now!
The iPad might also be a wonderful way to carry around and share a large portfolio of work. Imagine that you have been asked to show some work to a potential client. She has some specific work in mind. You bring along a traditional portfolio or other method of presenting some work in this area. The conversation diverges to other areas of mutual interest and you realize that you have some additional work that the client might want to see. Imagine that you have a very large collection of your work organized and ready for immediate search and display on the iPad.
If the iPad will allow connections to cameras – and there is some information suggesting that it may – it could also be a very small and lightweight device for backing up memory cards on location, and it might also serve as a usable display device for these images while in the field. I can also imagine the possibility that it or something like it could serve as an attached “external viewfinder” for cameras with live view and similar features. (This is admittedly speculative – I don’t know whether the connectivity of the iPad will allow this yet. It is also worth recognizing that with a maximum memory of 64GB that the usefulness for external file backup would seem to be a bit limited.)
Finally, photographers (like lots of other folks who travel) may find that the iPad is all the computer they need in order to stay in touch on the road. While a small laptop is great, an even smaller device with greater battery capacity could be better for many of us… as long as we don’t need to have our copy of Photoshop or Lightroom ready to roll. Those don’t work on the iPad as far as I can tell. Along these lines, I’ve been intrigued by the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but I haven’t quite felt compelled to make the purchase because a) I have wanted a larger screen, and b) the cost for cell phone access with the iPhone seems exorbitant to me. The iPad seems to address both of these issues – it has a screen that is big enough for real online access and it can come with (if I understand correctly) a much less expensive form of data-only access to the ATT cell system.
I wasn’t certain how I’d feel about the tablet concept, but after seeing what was actually announced I’m more intrigued by this device, and I’m sure there are other applications of the device for photographers. Other ideas, anyone?
Updates: Over the first few days after the announcement I’ll add to and modify this post rather than spawning a series of iPad posts at this blog – so don’t be surprised to see some editing here after the original post.
- I knew I wouldn’t be the only person thinking about this – Right away there was this post at Photofocus.
- Michael Reichmann on The Apple iPad: What it Means for Photographers.
- D-Day for Tablet Freaks at A Photo Editor.
- Will the iPad Save Photography? by Bastian Ehl at Black Star Rising
- I see that Greg A. Lato also has a very interesting post on this subject, too.
(And another update in mid-July: I finally gave in and order an iPad. I should arrive by early August or so, at which point I’ll be able to update this post with – wait for it! – actual use reports!)