The advent of the iPad has undoubtedly further cemented Apple’s prominence in education circles. During today’s keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the iPad an “incredible learning tool”, currently available for 80% of the US high school curriculum and for 2,500 schools in the US. A great aid for educators has been the iBooks Author app, which enables teachers to create their own interactive textbooks for the iPad platform. It was very fitting that Apple announced today an update for iBooks Author.
This update can be put squarely into the column of things that do not surprise us at all. Not only was an enhancement expected, for anyone who deals with education or who spends time with kids the impact that the iPad has had on education in the US and also internationally has been mind-boggling.
The update brings new features: integration of custom fonts, addition of mathematical expressions and improved audio support, as well as easier upload to iBookstore, and promises to make creation of a text book an even easier and pleasurable experience.
I got this lovely Father’s Day themed promo email from Apple this morning – touting the iPad as ‘The gift Dad won’t take his eyes off of’ – and featuring Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Wrecking Ball, as well.
My dad’s no longer around, and if he was I’m certain I’d have got him into the iPad before now. As for me, well of course I’m set in terms of iPads and I’ve already got a number of the songs from Wrecking Ball in Spotify playlists – so my family might have to get their thinking caps on. :)
Are any of you planning on gifting an iPad to a lucky father this year?
I very rarely spend a day without spending good chunks of time with the iPad. My family and I take very rare and very short vacations over recent years and generally my iPad comes along with us and I still work a little during down time.
So today will be a bit of a strange day. My wife and daughter and I are heading to Sea World for a day trip to celebrate the end of the school year. We’re all very psyched up for the trip – especially my daughter who is going for the first time ever. And the iPad will not be coming along, as it’s going to be a long, wet day.
I’m pretty sure Sea World will provide more than enough fun to keep me from missing the iPad. Oh, OK – maybe I’ll miss it a little. I should be back to regular posting on Friday.
Tim Cook did a lengthy interview at AllThingsD’s D10 conference last night, and of course he had lots of interesting things to say about many of Apple’s leading products. He had plenty of interesting things to say on the subject of tablets as well.
When Walt Mossberg asks him about Windows tablets due out later this year and mentions how Micosoft’s vision of them is as a sort of continuum from the PC – and that some of them will be ‘just tablets’, some will be clamshell from, some will turn around to make them a tablet, Cook responds that in his view the tablet and the PC are different and adds:
You can do things with the tablet if you’re not encumbered by the legacy of the PC, if you view it as different.
He also mentions that if you pull over too much of the ‘leg weight’ of the PC market then maybe you end up with something not too far off the tablet of ten years ago. And of course that’s the sort of tablet that never gained any traction with users and never had any great market impact.
Cook also talks about how Apple did not invent the tablet – but quickly adds ‘”We invented the modern tablet”.
The whole video is well worth watching, and I think Cook’s points are very well made, and to me suggest that Microsoft still doesn’t really ‘get’ the tablet arena they’re about to enter.
John C. Welch has written a very good article for arstechnica about the iPad as an additional tool (rather than a straight-up laptop replacement) for sysadmins and IT professionals.
Welch gives a very good rundown of what the iPad is capable of, and what it can’t (yet) be used for – where it can prove useful day to day and where a laptop or desktop PC is really needed. It’s interesting to see that in some cases the limitations are due to lack of appropriate apps for a task, rather than it being impossible to consider the iPad for a particular job.
Here’s just a small excerpt from his piece:
The iPad, on the other hand, is quite enjoyable to use for sysadmin tasks. For one, the size is just about perfect. It’s big enough that even my ape-like paws can type at a reasonable speed, manipulate screen elements, etc. It’s not so big that you can’t easily carry it, but it’s big enough that you can wedge it into a rack or prop it up on a CD tray so the display is easily accessible. … Don’t get me wrong, I love my 17” MacBook Pro and am definitely a fan of that beast. But there are times when it’s just too big for the situation and an iPhone is too small. The iPad’s superior battery life is also of no small comfort when you’re in a situation where you won’t be able to plug the device into AC power for some time.
I worked as a network engineer, network manager, and IT consultant for many years – and I would’ve loved to have had an iPad as an additional tool, for some of the very same use-cases as Welch talks about.
The whole article is a very good read, check it out at arstechnica when you have a chance.
During the question and answer segment of today’s Earnings Conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook made some interesting comments in response to a question of what the company thinks of their competition on tablet market. What follows is a paraphrasing of his direct remarks.
He began by stressing that Apple was happy with the 15.43 million iPad units sold in the final calendar quarter of 2011, explaining that it was consistent with their long-term belief that the tablet segment is a huge opportunity for Apple over time. Indeed, he explained that they believe that the tablet market will be larger than the PC market; tablet sales are already seeming to exceed desktop sales in US.
With regards to the competitiveness of the iPad, he feels that the iPad is in a class by itself. Their focus is on optimization of apps that take advantage of larger canvas. The iPad has a wealth of quality apps available, compared to only a few hundred on competitors’ offerings.
He closed by saying that they don’t see limited function tablets such as e-readers being in the same category as iPad. These limited-function tablets will have customers and they will sell a fair number of units. However, he opined that people who want an iPad will not settle for a device with less functionality.
He delivered a smile-inducing full stop to his remarks, saying that last year was supposed to be year of the tablet. Rather it was Year of the iPad.
The news today that Apple has sold 15.43 million iPads during the final calendar quarter of 2011, means that the total number of iPads sold for 2011 (that’s sold not shipped) is just over 40 million. The last quarter’s sales are 111% growth compared with the same quarter in the previous year.
These are mind-boggling stats no matter now you slice it.
With these solid numbers in hand, the future looks bright for Apple and iPad. Stock price is currently over $420. iBookstore is now being fed by ebooks created on the new iBooks author and iTunes U is free to fly.
So much for the year of the iPad killer.
In case you were questioning my math – here it is from the horse’s mouth:
Jim Dalrymple has an excellent post up at his site, The Loop, titled ‘Modern tablet concept is Apple’s; everything else is just a feature’. It sums up perfectly the current state of the tablet market, why the iPad is dominating, and why its rivals have fared so poorly.
Just a few lines in his piece that I think are spot-on:
Apple didn’t invent the tablet, but they did perfect the way we use tablets in our modern lifestyle. The concept of the tablet is now Apple’s. … The proof is all around us. Look at Apple’s competition — everything being released today looks and acts exactly like an iPad.
Some tablet makers and OS developers are trying to convince people that their products are better than the iPad. The fact is, all they are doing is adding features to Apple’s concept. Anyone can copy a concept and then add small things to it, but Apple still owns the original and consumers identify with that. Nobody is being fooled.
The whole post is well worth a read, check it out HERE.
Tablets used to be synonymous with styluses (or stylii). These ancient writing utensils made a big comeback in the day of PDAs, Windows Slates, and pre-smart cell phones.
Then the iPad came along. Sans stylus. Designed to be used without one. An aesthetically pleasing, functional machine that works by personal, intimate touch. No stylus needed. Still, as with many things that Apple probably did not envision would happen with the iPad, manufacturers started making styluses for them. And so the question: to stylus or not to stylus. Continue reading →
Of all the things that make the iPad an amazing device, its power as an educational tool has always been one attribute that stood out above others for me. I’ve seen this first-hand with my own daughter, kids of family and friends, and in online discussions.
I’m glad to see that this is something that has hit home for my old friend Dawn as well. Dawn and I worked together a million years ago when both of us were first starting out in the tech arena (doing tech support by phone and similar). She’s one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, and she’s got a lovely toddler-aged daughter who is growing up as part of what Dawn describes as ‘The iPad Generation’.
The little one is one of the first in a generation of kids that will be growing up with the very accessible touch technology of the iPad.
Dawn’s post about the iPad generation highlights the impact the iPad, and some great apps, have had on her daughter’s development. It’s a great read and rang many bells for me, as my daughter Zoe also thoroughly enjoys the iPad as a learning tool.
What I didn’t realise until recently, is what a brilliant job these apps do of teaching her the basics in a way that works well for her and at a pace she can dictate herself. The iPad also has the advantage of not needing to be set up. We don’t have to sit at the kitchen table and worry about her drawing on the walls with pens and crayons. It is a totally clean tool!