Will the Apple iPad Be a Dream Machine For Writers?

As I write this, Apple has announced that they are taking orders for the iPad. It’s a wonderful device that allows people to surf the net, listen to music, read books and a variety of other things with maximum portability. The iPad is smaller than a laptop — even smaller than a net book — and yet is a powerful and flexible device. It will likely sell in the millions.

The iPad has a lot of potential for writers because it is small enough to carry a purse or a big coat pocket, so they can do research, read books, and even use the device as a word processor in almost any setting. There are several models that come with built-in Internet connections, so it is a truly flexible device. Writers will love that kind of versatility the iPad offers — not only as they create books and articles, but as they see a wider market consuming them.

The iPad is set to make a product like Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader obsolete. The iPad has a bigger screen, and color, so the merits of the relatively high priced Kindle will fade rather rapidly.
But there are those who say that the iPad itself will be obsolete even before it is released. Sadly, it’s true. People may rush to buy the iPad, but they will be buying a machine that is severely crippled in several important ways. Writers will want to think twice before they buy one.

What cripples the iPad? Two main elements. One is the fact that it does not have Apple’s normal computer operating system, as you would expect. The software behind the scenes of the iPad is a beefed up version of the iPhone operating system, and it has severe limitations.

The other main element is that the iPad will not allow you to view any Adobe Flash content. The iPhone/iPad operating system does not allow for that. That is a major bit of technology to be forced to sacrifice since 85% of the top traffic websites rated on Alexa utilize Flash. 75% of all the video on the web is in Flash format. You will not be able to view videos on YouTube or watch clips on news sites with an iPad.

What is the alternative if you want to be able to view the entire Internet? There are a lot of promising iPad-like devices about to be released, but the most significant one may be the Hewlett-Packard Slate. It’s the same size as the iPad, sells for the same price, but utilizes Windows 7 as its operating system, so it is a true computing device. It will run Windows software that you may already own, and of course your access to Flash-based sites is not blocked.
Of importance to writers, who are normally also world-class readers, is the fact that Hewlett-Packard has inked a deal with Amazon.com so that amazing resource will be available to Hewlett-Packard Slate users. iPad users will be forced to access the more limited offerings that will be avilable in the new online bookstore that Apple is building along the lines of their iTunes store.

Writers will want to get one of the iPad- like devices. But wise writers will not rush to buy until they have had a few months to allow the dust to settle. By the end of this year, there will be a wide range of products that offer greater functionality at a cheaper price than the initial iPad offerings.

About the Author

Donald L. Hughes is the editor of ChristianWritingToday.com ( http://www.ChristianWritingToday.com ). He has over 30 years experience as a Christian writer, editor and publisher. ChristianWrtitingToday.com provides information and inspiration for Christian writers and those who want to become one.

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