The Apple iPad for Photographers

Feb 1, 2010 – Apple designed the iPad to be a communications and entertainment device that falls into an entirely new category somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop. I wouldn’t classify this as a tablet PC because it’s a closed system and you’re limited to what you can do with it. With only a 1GHz processor, no expandable RAM and limited storage options, you wouldn’t be able to run programs like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture in a production environment. But that’s ok; the iPad wasn’t designed to do that. Just because it’s limited doesn’t make it bad, it just makes it different! So let’s focus on what the iPad does well and why it’s worth considering for your photography business.

The iPad will be a great communications device by providing high-speed access to the Internet for web browsing and email. The large screen will make viewing web pages and emails much easier than a smartphone without as much scrolling or zooming. With the built-in microphone port you’ll have the ability to use VOIP applications like Skype for high-quality voice communications to anyone in the world for little or no cost. Updating your blogs and accessing social networks like Twitter and Facebook will be a snap with dedicated applications like the one’s already available for the iPhone.

Apple iPad

With the release of the iPad SDK, and Apple promoting new iPad apps in the iTunes Store, developers will be updating their existing applications to take advantage of the new OS and format for launch date. With the added power of the 1GHz processing system developers will be able to create more intense applications as compared to the iPhone. Rumor has it the new iPhone OS version 3.2 contains rudimentary support for video calling functions, possible multitasking and file downloading from the web with local storage. Since Apple hasn’t confirmed these findings I don’t know if the rumor is true, but if so they would really expand the iPad’s capabilities.

Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi and 3G cellular networks. If you already have a smartphone and use that to check email, browse the web, update your twitter and Facebook accounts, then you may not want to spend the extra $130 for the 3G connection. For users without a smartphone, I would highly recommend purchasing the 3G model. It’s a small additional price to pay for the hardware and with pay as you go data plans there are no long-term commitments. The iPad is sold unlocked and the 3G models use removable SIM chips, which is perfect for traveling overseas, and utilizing local carriers.

I love my iPhone and use it everyday to manage my schedule and contacts. Everything is synced with my Mac and backed up to Mobile Me. The iPad will work the same way only through a much larger and nicer interface. Scheduling your week and keeping track of new clients will be an easy process with the redesigned calendar and contacts applications. Other applications like SmartStudio will surely be updated to help the Wedding Photographer manage their entire studio right from the iPad.

The ability to play high-quality video and games is a great bonus but where I think the iPad could really shine is with its photo application. The iPad could serve not only as your mobile communications and productivity device, but it could also serve as your portfolio. The large, bright, vibrant, high-resolution screen makes it perfect to display your images. Just open up your stack of portfolio images, start the slideshow and hand it to your prospective client. They’ll love the feel of the iPad in their hands, be wowed by your awesome images and think you’re on the cutting edge of technology. They can easily pause the slideshow and zoom in on an image to see its detail, something that’s impossible to do with a printed portfolio. Of course if you’re selling prints as part of your service you’ll need to show actual samples, but if you’re just selling your photography service, the iPad may be worth considering.

I love new technology; I guess that’s partly why I run a photography news blog. I’m always on the lookout for new products and services that could help enhance our lives for both work and play. I’ll be one of
those people waiting in line to buy an iPad on launch date, even though I already have an iPhone and
I’ll probably spring for the 3G model for the added flexibility. In a year Apple will come out with the next version of the iPad and mine will be obsolete and I’ll want to buy the new one. But isn’t that the way all technology is?

Without advancements in technology you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. Not every new product is right for everyone and that’s ok, but don’t dismiss new technologies just because they’re different.

Photo Courtesy of Apple

Founder of Current Photographer, co-host of The Digital Photography Cafe Show, Designer, Photographer, and overall tech geek.

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  1. Good article. One remark though.
    It uses a Micro-SIM which for quite a while will be rarely available and so there is a high chance for having not much options using cheap local dataplans abroad. This is a bad Apple move (at least with today’s knowledge).

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