Will iPad be a Game Changer or the Next Newton?

Much has been written about the new Apple  iPad recently. I wanted to avoid getting in to the discussion until I actually got to try one out, but realized I was spending too much time tweeting and commenting other places about it. So here is my take on the worst-named device in the history of Apple products:

  • The biggest reason not to buy one: no Flash support. I’m no Flash lover, but how on Earth can you expect to surf the web without it? Even if Flash dies, it will be years before you can get around without it. Can someone please tell Steve Jobs to get over himself?  His anti-Flash rants are just sounding silly.
  • Multi-tasking is pointless on an iPhone (or any smart phone).  I mean really – why would you want to do multiple things on a tiny screen? So what that you can’t listen to Pandora and write an email. Just turn on iTunes (you’ll get a better song selection, anyways). But on the iPad – kind of impossible to think of really using something that large without it. Another big gaping feature hole. Right next to where the camera should be.
  • For that matter, why not just go with a regular OS instead of iPhone OS?  Well, one reason really – $$$$$. Can’t make money in an app store if people are free to install whatever program they want.
  • Everyone keeps asking why get an iPad instead of a full featured laptop. My question with full featured laptops has always been “why do I have to buy all of these features I don’t use?”  Full featured laptops are usually overkill. And bulky at that. Get me the features I need in an easy to use interface like the iPad has, and you have a winner there. I can see the iPad becoming a laptop replacement for people that don’t want everything and the kitchen sink.

Will I get one? Probably not. I will probably wait for the Google Chrome OS to come out in a multi-touch pad device. The combination of an iPad experience with the openness of a fuller OS sounds killer to me. Not to mention cheaper.

So, a note to all educators pondering Kindles, Nooks, or even iPads for their schools/classes/etc: wait for the followers to come out with better ideas. Just because they haven’t been able to do that with iPhone doesn’t mean they won’t succeed here.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.