Why The iPad Will Change How We Work

Ben Bajarin / March 20th, 2012

What is becoming more clear every day is the way in which tablets are changing paradigms of computing that have existed for decades. The entire way we think about computers, and computing in general, is undergoing significant change. In the days of the desktop and notebook, computing hardware and software was functionally the same and remained relatively unchanged. Specifically how we used a mouse and keyboard as the main way to interact, work, play, produce, create, etc.

The iPad launched a new day in computing, one where the paradigm of mouse and keyboard computing gave way to touch based computing. In the early days it was programs like VisiCalc which paved the way for computers to move from hobby to office tool. Today we have a slew of apps on the iPad that are being created every day that are proving the iPad is more than a consumption and entertainment device and is a powerful tool in which genuine creation and productive jobs can be accomplished.

I have thought about this for a while and we have written extensively about many of the ways touch computing opens the door to new opportunities. However, it wasn’t until recently, with the launch of iPhoto on the iPad, that I have come to a deeper realization of how profound this change may be. That is why I choose to title this column the way I did. I truly believe the iPad and more specifically touch based computing will entirely change the way we work, create, produce, and more.

Tough Tasks Become Easier

While going through and analyzing the slew of information in the help tips for iPhoto for iPad I came to a profound realization. When it comes to content creation, touch and software optimized for touch, allows us to do with ease, tasks that were either very difficult or extremely time consuming with mouse and keyboard computing. This may or may not apply to all tasks or all software but there are certainly tasks that shine on touch platforms. iPhoto for iPad is one of the clearest cases of this.

I have been into photography since high school, taking photo for three years, and staying active since always trying to make perfect photographs. I also would call myself a advanced user of Photoshop. As I have been using iPhoto for iPad more and more it has become clear how powerful of a tool iPhoto for iPad is when it comes to photo editing. What’s more is that iPhoto, when paired with touch optimized software, actually makes extremely complex tasks much easier and enjoyable than with a mouse and keyboard.

A key example of this is adjusting colors in a photo. If I took a photo and wanted to adjust the color in just the sky for example, I would need to isolate the sky and then tweak the color elements independently. With iPhoto for iPad you simply touch then slide to the left and the software adjusts just the blue skies to your liking. With one single touch iPhoto on iPad accomplishes a task that would take a minimum of 5 clicks with a keyboard and mouse and probably 5 min or so of precision mouse work. This is just one example of many of a way that touch computing will change how we work today and of course in the future.

Mainstream Consumers Can Now Participate

Using again the Photoshop example another realization struck me. If I sat my kids or my wife down in front of the desktop or notebook, opened Photoshop and an image and had them try to edit it, there would be mass confusion. I would have to spend quite a bit of time teaching them several basic things just to get them started.

Mastering a program like photoshop is no easy task for the non-techie, think of all the seminars that exist for software and computer literacy. All of this changes with the iPad and touch based computing. I gave my kids the iPad, opened iPhoto and an image, and let them go. Watching them for five minutes they figured out how to adjust colors, lighten areas of an image and add effects (they are 6 and 9).

They nearly mastered a program in under 10 minutes and began doing professional level tasks in that short time frame. This would be nearly impossible without extensive time and training using a mouse, keyboard, menus, icon palettes, etc.

Touch based computing opens the doors to brining true computing to the masses. Think about how many consumers out there have notebooks or desktops, running software capable of creating amazing things and they never use it or when they do they don’t take advantage of its full potential. Touch computing changes all of this and is the foundation that will bring more consumers to create and produce things they never would have using a mouse and keyboard.

A quote I am fond of is “simple solutions require sophisticated technology.” The iPad, and it touch computing software ecosystem is one of the most sophisticated technologies on the market today. It is no wonder that the iPad is enabling simple solutions and inviting more and more consumers to participate in computing in ways they never have before.

Although I focused this column on how the iPad and touch based computing will change how we work, produce, and create, we ultimately believe that this platform will also change the way we play, learn, be entertained, and much more.

It all boils down to the fact that the iPad is changing everything.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • mhikl

    insightful M Bajarin.
    What a great way to introduce your children to the art of photography. I remember taking pictures and having to wait for eons for them to return from processing. The anticipation was more often the reward. Then it would be on to try to do better. (I struggle to teach anticipation to my children: how shallow would Christmas, birthdays and presents be without anticipation, but in todays hurried world we need to find new ways to teach our children this skill.)
    But back to topic, young heirs learning and skill levels advancing with the immediate feed back iPhoto allows cannot be over stated. The same can be said for GarageBand. What other monster apps can Apple deploy in its arsenal of art and skill?

    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world with an iPad at hand.

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