On April 3rd, the iPad will finally be available. Over the past year there has been much pomp and circumstance centered on the iPad. This is in large part is due to Apple's enigmatic CEO -- Steve Jobs. It's undeniable that the iPad will have an impact in the way content is consumed and shared. How profound that impact will be is a complicated question -- wrapped in content availability and access to the Internet.
Apple has explained that the iPad will change that way we read books, listen to music, play games and surf the Internet. It has been touted as a media pad but I see it more as a productivity platform. An industry that might see the biggest impact is the education market.
I had the great pleasure of speaking with Kate Worlock, of Outsell, Inc. Kate is director and lead analyst -- she covers educational publishing for Outsell. I asked Kate what are her thoughts on iPad penetration in educational publishing:
The education market moves glacially slowly. Education is a very heavy and print reliant market place. In terms of the iPad specifically I don't think, in the short term, it will have a great deal of impact. Largely because in an educational setting -- it's difficult for schools and educators to think about delivering content through devices until those devices gain a mass market status.
It was not until the iPod gained mass market status that you began to see professors delivering content through podcasts. Education will not spend money and time on putting courses together -- if they are not going to hit 90% of their intended audience.
What might be a strong possibility is the application of the iPad -- linking it to an interactive white board. I can see a professor using the iPad in the classroom to display notes to the class. I also see the potential for older students and professional market places.
Kate is spot-on with her assessment. There must be massive adoption -- not only by educational institutions but education publishers. I am not so concerned about student adoption -- especially college level. Since they adopt smart phones, in this case the iPhone, rather naturally.
"There is no doubt that the iPhone is very popular with all its applications that college students love," said Michael Hanley, an assistant professor of journalism and director of Ball State's Institute for Mobile Media Research.
I firmly believe that educational institutions and education publishers will adopt the iPad at an accelerated rate. This is largely due to the successful penetration of the iPod, iPhone and iTunes.