The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 27 January 2010]

The iPad: It’s for education

Thoughts on the iPad after the announcement.
Source: Apple.
Click for larger version.

First, some impressions on the iPad:

  • Yes, it’s basically an iPhone on steroids. Which, in fact, is great move.

  • Starting price of $499 for the WiFi model is a lot more aggressive than I’d have imagined. Bully for Apple.

  • According to Ars Technica, it supports Bluetooth keyboards. Hell to the yes!

  • Using ePub format for the book reader is brilliant. I really, really hope there’ll be a way to sync ePub books not bought through the iBookStore (or whatever the official name is).

  • Not pre-loading the iWorks apps feels a bit stingy and effectively tacks on $30 to the purchase price. Although I have a feeling Google Docs will work just splendidly on the iPad. Will probably try that first.

  • A little bit of a bummer to not have a video out port. An iPad would make a nice presentation machine. But that’s enough of an edge case I can see why Apple left it out.

  • Will it be able to print?

  • No camera. Which is good. You’d look like an idiot trying to take pictures with this thing.

  • Wow, calling your own device “magical and revolutionary” takes some brass marketing balls.

All that being said, I think I know why Apple priced the device as aggressively as they did. No, it’s not because Uncle Steve wants to give you a big hug. Think education. Both for K-12 and universities, the iPad is the Real Deal.

At a cost of $499 (and probably a touch less after an educational discount UPDATE: There is no education discount on the iPad. /UPDATE), it’s cheap enough that schools can work up one-to-one programs and scrap their—usually aging and decrepit—computer labs. The price is just little enough higher than crappy netbooks while providing top-shelf quality that it would take a seriously inept school administrator to not see the worth. (Not that there aren’t plenty of seriously inept school administrators out there, mind you.)

And for school IT departments the win is massive—no more fleets of beat-up iBooks to manage. Oh, the happiness.

As a matter of fact, my daughter turns eight in May, and if the thing is out by then, I’m pretty sure I know what she’s getting for her birthday.

Did I mention that I’m sometimes very jealous of my daughter for growing up in a time when this kind of technology is available?

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