The Apple iPad
What Does It Portend For
The Digital Frame Industry?
What is it?
Well, it’s here at last--the long-awaited Apple iPad! It appears to be a multi-functional touch screen tablet PC. However, with its web browsing, gaming, emailing and social networking capabilities, it could be deemed a glorified Netbook. It can also easily function as an eBook Reader--and with full color! Although this product could mean serious competition for any number of single-purpose electronic devices, I do not believe it poses a threat to the digital frame industry.
Can it Function as a Digital Photo Frame?
It is true that when the iPad is placed on its dock, it can turn into a very nice looking digital frame. But a photo slideshow running on your iPad while it is charging is not quite the same as a dedicated photo frame running your collection whenever you desire.
The digital photo frame function lasts only until you want to use it to read books, play games, or perform any number of its multiple functions. The same scenario occurs when displaying photo slideshows on a personal computer. The slideshow only works as long as you are not using the computer for anything else.
Because of the diversity of its products, the digital frame industry should be able to hold its own against this latest entrant into the electronic marketplace. The stand-alone digital frame, with its ability to store and display digital photos (without having to print out and keep them in albums and boxes), will always have a place in today’s homes and businesses.
The better digital frames of today are very stylish and use very little power. The cost of these items keeps coming down even as the manufacturers of these devices continue to provide a higher quality and greater variety of features to their frames. It is now possible to play music and video, pull RSS feeds from the Internet, even connect to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter on the latest digital frames.
Transferring & Displaying Images
Transferring images directly from cameras or other peripherals cannot happen with the iPad because it does not come equipped with a USB port (unlike the Netbook, which comes standard with at least 2). It is possible to order a Camera Connection Kit from Apple, which allows importing photos and videos using a camera’s USB cable as well as through an SD Card reader. Photos can also be downloaded from email or synced from a computer. As a general rule though, it is much easier to import photos to a digital frame directly from a camera or memory card with no additional equipment.
Additionally, a photo display is limited to the number of photos that can be stored in its internal memory because this product does not have a memory card slot. Since its capacity cannot exceed a total of 64GB (most expensive model), this product is seriously limited in the amount of photos that can be stored and displayed.
On the other hand, the number of images a digital frame can display is only limited by the size of the inserted memory card(s). Displaying photos on a digital frame does not have to depend on internal memory (although many digital frames do have the capability of storing large numbers of photos).
This new electronic product looks almost identical to its predecessor, the iPod, though much larger. It is 9.56 inches high x 7.47 inches wide x .5 inches deep. The Wi-Fi model weighs 1.5 lbs and the Wi-Fi +3G model weighs 1.6 lbs. A built-in speaker and microphone and a headphone jack are included.
If is meant to be used as a portable device. Input is done right on the touchscreen or with an additional purchase of a keyboard dock, if desired.
IMAGE DISPLAY QUALITY
The high-resolution, 9.7” (diagonal) screen has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at 132 pixels per inch.
Like the iPod Touch, the screen images will change from portrait to landscape and back depending on how it is held.
Brightness, Contrast and Color:
An ambient light sensor is included. It should display sharp, rich color and contrast as is available with the iPod Touch.
A wide 178 degree viewing angle is possible with this product due to IPS (in-plane switching) display technology.
Screen Backlighting Display:
LED–backlit glossy widescreen multi-touch LCD display.
METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY
Since it does not come equipped with USB ports, a dock must be used to connect to optional accessories such as the Camera Connection Kit and the Keyboard dock, as well as to charge the battery. A power adaptor for direct charging is packaged with the product as well.
A rechargeable Lithium polymer battery is built-in and is touted to have a 10-hour battery life. The processor is a 1 GHZ Apple A4. Please note that the battery is fixed and the RAM cannot be upgraded. The choices are 16, 32 or 64 GB only. (A basic Netbook has a minimum of 160 GB of storage capacity).
SUPPORTED FILE TYPES
Memory Card Formats:
No memory slots available.
JPEG, Tif, Gif
MP3 and a wide range of other audio formats are available.
Support for MPEG-4 video and .mov files as well as others.
Text & Messaging Files:
Viewable document types include Microsoft Word documents, Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel documents among others.
Works with email providers such as MobileMe, Yahoo!Mail, Gmail, Hotmail and AOL.
A wireless (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) model and a Wi-Fi + 3G model which utilizes the AT&T 3G network are available. (There is a monthly charge for this connection).
FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Full color web and multimedia capabilities exist with access to and ability to run iPhone apps as well as access to the iTunes store.
There is no camera or webcam. It cannot yet run flash, which is required for many browser-based applications and flash-driven content found on the Internet. (This would leave out playing certain browser games such as Farmville on Facebook.)
As is the case with many of the digital frame manufacturers (such as Sony), which are dedicated to environmental initiatives, the display glass is arsenic-free, it is BFR (Brominated Flame Retardants)–free, has a mercury-free LCD display, is PVC(PolyVinylChloride)-free and has a recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure.
Windows 7, Windows Vista or WindowsXP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later.
Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later.
Dock Connector to USB Cable, USB Power Adapter.
ADDITIONAL AVAILABLE ACCESSORIES
A range of accessories, allows content on TVs, projectors and displays to play on it.
The 16GB Wi-Fi enabled model starts at $499 to $829 for a 64GB Wi-Fi+ 3g.
I see one very important difference between the iPad and the digital photo frame. One is more of a personal digital device intended to entertain and supply information to its user. The other is a device devoted primarily to sharing--photos, information and photographic experiences--with friends and family.
At this point in time, I feel that the iPad will prove to be far more of a disruption to the Netbook and eBook manufacturers than to those in the digital frame industry.
WILL IT HURT THE E-BOOK READER?
The e-book readers of today use a display known as electronic E-Ink, a low power thin display made by E-Ink Corporation. E-ink can be manufactured using the same process used to mass-produce LCD screens. It is much a much crisper display than LCDs and is much easier on the eyes. E-ink displays do not need a power backlight source and do not produce glare. An e-reader with E-Ink display can be read in low light situations and from almost any angle. At the present time, E-ink is only available in black and white.
Though vibrant color is available, it does not use the E-ink process. When used to read e-books, it will look washed out in bright daylight and will need some kind of anti-glare treatment.
WHAT ABOUT THE NETBOOK?
At a price much lower than the least expensive iPad, the Netbook of today is able to utilize Windows 7 with a real keyboard, has a 250GB hard drive for multi-tasking and comes equipped with standard USB ports for connectivity. That’s just a few features that at this point in time puts it way ahead of the first edition of the Apple tablet PC.
It is always exciting to see what marvels the next level of technology will generate. I am sure the iPad will eventually morph into a more affordable model with an even wider array of features and applications. At the same time, research and development of digital frames, as well as that of e-book readers and netbooks, continues to move ahead with very positive steps.
Several newsworthy updates pertaining to the Apple iPad are noted below:
The A-Frame This is one of the first holders available for purchase. It can hold the device in both landscape and portrait modes and is specifically designed to be at a wrist-friendly angle in order to make it more comfortable to surf the Web or read emails. The stable, aluminum frame has a non-slip rubber cradle for connecting to the dock. This will enable charging and syncing the product while working on it at the same time.
The Hyundai Equus Manual The latest luxury sedan to be manufactured by Hyundai is going to be really hi-tech! No more paper manuals. An eco-friendly iPad will be on board the Equus instead! Wireless services on the device will make it easy for customers to schedule vehicle services appointments as well.
Not Immediately Welcome in Israel Unfortunately, the device does not adhere to the wireless technology regulations in Israel. In Israel and Europe, Wi-Fi enabled devices are not allowed to broadcast at the higher power levels allowed in the U.S.
So distributors to Israel have their work cut out for them before they can make any deliveries to Israel. In the meantime, importation of these devices in the country has been blocked by the Communications Ministry and customs officers have been ordered to confiscate any of these prodeucts brought in from the U.S.
Please note: As of the end of April 2010, the restrictions have been lifted and confiscated prodcuts will be available to reclaim. It seems Israeli officials have provided Apple the needed data to safely work around the signal issue.
As a Turning Signal?!
It seems that several people have been putting their iPads to use as signaling devices!
As you will see in the picture below, the device can be strapped to a cyclist's back with wearable sleeves called "Sprocket Pockets." It can be turned into a signaling device through special applications. When the cyclist leans to the right, the display shows a right turning arrow, to the left a left turning arrow. If the cyclist leans back, a stop sign shows up on the screen.
Interesting and maybe even practical! What do you think?
You may not be surprised to see that someone has actually built an iPad into a kitchen cabinet! After all, digital frames have been integrated into refrigerator doors for quite some time now. Please see Samsung Refrigerator with Wi-Fi Digital Frame and the CEIVA for Whirlpool Brand Refrigerators with Centralpark Connection at CEIVA.
Someone figured that this electronic device could also find its place in what is usually the central meeting place of the home--the kitchen.
While surfing the Net for news and listening to music while cooking is intriguing, this is a touch-screen product. Fingerprint smudging from soiled hands may not make this new idea as kitchen-compatible as the manufacturer of this electronic kitchen cabinet originally thought!
Mercedes Benz Dealerships to Use iPads to Close More Sales
Mercedes Benz will be providing 40 of its dealerships with the Apple product. They will be preloaded with the Mercedes Benz Advantage application.
This application will be used by sales people to provide answers to financial questions and to help begin loan application procedures.
The benefit for the customer is that the sales force can enter the car's VIN into the device which will enable access to the latest discounts and incentives available for that particular car.
iClothing the Latest Trend?!
Yes, it's here...clothing designed for the trendy technology geek! This concept was introduced by 2 Australians.
They have designed a wide range of clothing articles which incorporate large pockets for storage, thus allowing for "hands-free" moving about town!
Careful when attending a party should you spill a drink on your new iPad pocket shirt!
More Options for iClothing!
The iPad suit is an example of another addition to the iClothing market craze! This suit, designed by a Manhattan tailoring firm is made with a large inner pocket designed to fit the device. These suits are currently being custom-made as per customer request. One of these suits was worn by a participant during a recent Grammy Award ceremony.
The device itself weighs approximately 1.5 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how the tailors are getting around the possibility that the suit may cause a bit of a lopsided look for its wearer! By the way, a suit like this could set you back $600!
But do not despair...another company has designed a tote with a clear plastic pocket for the iPad. That product will only cost around $50.
The Resurrection of the Classic Mac!
For those of use who have been around long enough to remember the classic Macintosh computer, its resurrection as a stand may give us pause to reminisce.
If you are tired of the ever-diminishing size of the latest electronic devices and their holders, the Macintosh Classic iPad Stand may be a winner for you.
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