The debate isn’t just where the iPad fits in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, though I do think it’ll replace the laptop for me eventually, but also if the iPad can be used in creating content rather than simply consuming it. From Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow to John “Daring Fireball" Gruber, the debate picked up the speed even before folks had their hands on the device. As an early adopter and iPad owner, I thought I’ll add my two cents.
The question is: can the iPad be a creative tool? I wouldn’t rule it out just yet.
In Job’s announcement of the iPad last January, the Brushes app was presented as a creative tool. The app is from the same developer that created the Brushes iPhone app which Jorge Colombo used to finger paint The New Yorker magazine covers. An excellent example of a use case that wasn’t realized until someone actually created software for it. I wonder if for some the criticism that the iPad is just a big iPod Touch is actually a boon to their creative process. Granted, $500+ is a bit steep for just a mobile canvas. But there’s potential. And developers are scrambling to find those creative needs and fill it. Even a 13-year old can create and sell one.
I produced a video of my “unboxing the iPad" the day I got it. I had a blast doing it. (And, yes, as difficult as it was, I was able to pull myself away long enough from the iPad to produce the video.) And, no, it wasn’t created or produced on the iPad. The video was shot using a Canon S90 and editing in Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Pro.
Now, could I have “created” this video on the iPad? Probably not… for the moment. Obviously, video editing can be done on laptops, as was mine. But I doubt any mobile device will be optimal and, frankly, I’d rather edit on desktop machines for the most intensive processing for HD video and motiongraphics. Even when one day HD video becomes old-hat, I’m sure 3D video will dominate and editing will require a workstation. But my little Pocket Memories videos are dead simple. Shoot with a pocket camera, import, make subclips, speed it up on a timeline, lay down a track and export. Done.
Can a dead simple non-linear editing be possible? I’m sure the maker of Monle (Mobile Non-Linear Editor) would like us to think so.
In short, it’s too early to tell if the iPad can truly be a creative tool. But I, obviously, have my hopes. There are certainly short-comings in the hardware that hampers this first generation iPad. The lack of a camera is a huge one. But just as in the iPhone, the power of the iPad is truly in the apps and the creative developers that create them.
UPDATE (4/5) - I’m gonna add to this entry any new developments in the iPad app deveopment world that might get people to think outside the (iPad) box: