Designers must understand that user interface as well as ease of use are the two most important features of any electronics device. The more intuitive the device the more likely people are to keep using it. As a first generation Ipod touch user and an iphone 3gs owner I see the value of simple, intuitive confident design.
Looking at the itablet (ipad) what I see in this design are three key qualities, ergonimcs, ease of use and versatility. All of these combined make this device one of the most interesting on the market at the moment.
The smooth, slick design reminds us of the macbook air but without the keyboard.Â As it is a laptop we will expect less from it but get more out. The macbook air is running the same OS as the Macbook Pro therefore we expect it to do the same things but when it cannot then we say it underperfoms. The tablet doesn’t have that problem. It’s sold as a slate that has a touch screen that can serve as a multimedia device.
Ease of use is another key feature. When you’re using a netbook, an N97 or many other devices you need some understanding of how things work. You need to understand how to configure an exchange server, you need to type the right character to complete the word and if you want to transfer files you need specific software. Of course the tablet has the same thing, you need itunes to do this. That’s an advantage and a dissadvantage. The advantage is that whenever you connect to any laptop (With the right library key) you can update podcasts and other content intuitively.
The second advantage is that the app store is so much easier to use on the mac than other platforms. We are used to buying apps and music on that device. Who hasn’t downloaded 10-15 apps for their iphone or ipod touch already? Imagine the facebook app on the tablet, or the flickr app.
In fact think about the day after a party. Hundreds of pictures were taken and you want to show them to friends, and have a good laugh. With the computer you can do this but you’re stuck at the desk, or you’re sitting down to be more comfortable. With the Ipad you hold it comfortably and a few people can stand around to see these images. Of course it’s less intimate than showing them on an iphone ;-). It’s also a way of demonstrating yourÂ picture portfolio or yourÂ multimedia showreel. Â
Versatility is the last point of interest for this device.Â If you want to use it for picture viewing then it could double as a photo frame, if you want to use it as a calendar and e-mail client then you can.Â If you want to play games then the larger screen means that all the games you already have for the iphone and ipod touch can be used.
Finally you can dock a keyboard to the screen and it becomes a 750 gram laptop. The advantage of this device’s keyboard, bought seperately is that you now have a laptop. You’re free to tweet, blog, sort through pictures and edit documents if iworks works well on the device.
Now the question you’re wondering, would I buy one? Not until July 2010 after the summer keynote. I want to see how they implement these new features into their line of futre laptops. Will they give us a dual screened laptop where the keyboard and mouse are replaced by a second touch screen or will we get the conventional keyboard and monitor where the screen is now touch based? That’s the point at which we can decide whether the tablet or a new laptop make more sense.