I’ve been living with my iPad for a year now now. I’ve been carrying it in my satchel pretty much non-stop and it strikes me as being a tool that is far better suited for day to day – pull out and work with – activities than my Netbook ever was. I found that I simply stopped carrying the ASUS around. The keyboard is too small and the screen tiny – no 3G means needing hotspots. It seems positively primitive when sitting beside the iPad.
I have been using the iPad pretty heavily as a communication device, LimeChat for IRC and the iPhone version of Skype. I have set up email and various social networking apps. I’ve used, pretty extensively, Netflix and downloaded video. I’ve also been playing with YouTube on the tool quite a bit. I’ve spent time reading PDFs, iBooks, and Web pages.
I’ve come to some conclusions
- This, despite my resistance, seems to change the rules. Mobile computing is shifting from the laptop and mobile phone to slate-like devices. Once you play with one of these things, you will understand. It is NOT a giant iPod touch. It isn’t a laptop. I’m not sure what it is – but I use it in similar ways as both my mobile phone and a laptop.
- It is an amazing video player. It is a more pleasant experience than watching video on a laptop. My grantmaking background is largely in performing arts, having largely developed the system used for WESTAF’s TourWest program and having manged the program itself. Performing arts samples were shipped to panelists on HP tablet PCs – the iPad would be better – one could set up a series of HD YouTube Videos in a library limited to only the panelists. Without having to load each iPad up with the media, a panelist could access the media anywhere they please. AT&T doesn’t require a contract for 3G – so month to month for nearly ubiquitous service (at least in the US) is a reality.
- The browsing experience is quite remarkable. Any Online Grants system that ignores the possibilities of using an iPad to access the jurying process would be foolish – the touch screen could make this the easiest way to access an online jury form. Jurying systems in general should be considering this. Again, I was central in devising the Zapplication (sm) Art Jurying system and I believe if the iPad had existed when I was thus engaged would have changed my approach to the system’s design.
- Reading on the iPad, while not as good as reading on the Kindle, is still a good experience. I wish that the screen weren’t so glossy – sunlight can get in the way of text – but it still doesn’t stop a person from accessing text. The additional features that an iPad sports are such that it overcomes this weakness nicely. So, applications for grants should be very readable on the iPad. It is just about the right size for reading.
The main downside, currently, to the iPad’s experience is lack of multithreaded computing. That is to say you need to shut down one application before starting another. I have the development version of the iPhone OS on my mobile – it has given me a taste of what this might look like on the iPad, and I believe it will mitigate this shortcoming quite nicely.
While the iPad, on its own with no special application, seems to be a pretty good option for reading, scoring, and reviewing samples out of the box, at this juncture I would seriously consider writing a iPad application that accessed a web-based grant system API to circumvent the need to move from application to application in the review process.
I think, in the right hands, the iPad could become a game changer in the grants world. The question is, will anybody embrace it?
#ipad #grant making #mobile