Apple unveiled the latest iPad this past Wednesday, and though the third generation, Apple will not call it the ‘iPad 3’. Indeed, one of the interesting sideshows of the product’s history has been the sturm und drang over its name.
But for its form factor, the changes are both incremental and market-shifting – typical Apple, really. In one of our, we discussed how the iPad will pretty much create a mobile computing market – and it has. The device has opened up consumption of digital materials in ways more convenient and lucrative for publishers, game-makers, and app developers.
Whether the new iPad is worthy of a purchase or upgrade for you personally, we defer comment. But what you need to think seriously about is how the iPad is going to move your nonprofit’s workflow and communications strategies – whether you use one or not – because the latest iPad puts the stress on your productivity, not just consumption.
The improvements are internal and will not present a feast for the eyes – at least not until you turn on the screen. The processor is the faster and cooler-running Apple A5 dual-core chip with a separate graphics quad core. The camera is up to 5 megapixels with video capture at 1080p at 30 frames per second (offering near cinema-quality smoothness on all but the fastest movement). And the more expensive cellular models offer 4G/LTE transfer speeds (a standard the iPhone must now catch up to). You will be lugging around an extra 7.04 ounces for all this stuff compared to the iPad 2.
Once turned on, though, the latest iPad shows its stuff. The so-called ‘Retina Display’ has a whopping 3.1 million pixels on its portable screen, which – according to Apple – makes the colors and image detail better than the top-of-the-line HDTVs. The screen’s detail, powered by the A5 chip, is where the iPad will reconfigure workflows and consumers’ expectations. The power of the latest iPad makes it much more of a production machine than it has ever been. Indeed, what has kept this tech enthusiast from buying an iPad is precisely the question of how I could do production work on the device. Though the touch keyboard still is a concern of mine, what stressed this past Wednesday is how to create content on the latest iPad.
Apple pushed its own iOS5 and iLife suite at its keynote address, of course. But Adobe has been moving to the mobile platform as well with the release of ‘Photoshop Touch’ a week or so ago. Other professional-grade applications will be moving toward the mobile platform as we move deeper into what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls ‘the post-PC revolution’. These apps are more modular than their desktop counterparts, and less expensive in so far as one can buy the modules one wants, rather than the entire suite. And they will allow great video, photographic, and of course text production on tablet devices.
Which is why nonprofits must be ready to face this post-PC world. A nonprofit that brings some degree of tablet savvy to the workplace will be able to record fieldwork, adjust the website, and post a viral video without leaving the field. Imagine the excitement that nonprofit’s donors and friends will generate when they share their efforts while they pursue their efforts – inspiring others to get involved in the very project they are watching develop in almost-realtime. No more carrying around a dedicated camera to collect information to take back to the office computer to prepare next week for the monthly eblast on the 30th. The iPad (and the competitors who will try to catch it) can just about do it all in situ, and with ever-improving network speeds, even an open (likely ‘urban’) wi-fi network won’t be a necessity.
The newest iPads cost the same as the previous generation (depending on memory chips and connectivity options), and though inexpensive in contrast to a laptop, they are still a chunk-of-change in this all-but-Recession economy we are in. Whether your organization is ready to buy the iPad or not, you must be moving yourself and your charity toward this revolution. Soon enough it will be a mobile world – don’t get caught in the post-PC moment. Apple won’t be calling it that much longer.