So today is the final opportunity to get your entries in for the chance to win a brand spanking new iPad from On Sugar. I'll be honest with you, I am desparate for one. I believe I might be lucky, its good to be optimistic. If I don't win, that's ok, at least I had a chance. The iPad represents so many possibilities. I was browsing MacRumors over the weekend and came across some posts about third party applications that are targetting the iPad on launch day. Bento, a database management system developed by the makers of FileMaker Pro database software (which is also a subsidary of Apple Inc.), Mixr and iMockups. Is this revolutionary? I would say no, but its definitely a new opportunity to really create interesting experiences.
I believe the iPad is a winner (not because its sold out), but because what it is doing for users. Its about being as natural as much as possible. Right now I am composing this post on a keyboard. Yes, the iPad has a keyboard too, but its a soft keyboard. Using it only requires me knowing how to type, using my fingers. There is no added need for a keyboard or mouse or some other input device. In my previous blog post, I discussed my reasons for wanting one, major points being my computing habits have changed over the past few years. The 80's brought a tidal wave to computing, it was this new thing for everybody own their own computer. Instead of sharing one, or accessing one at a school or in a room as big as a stadium. The ability to prepare your own documents, spreadsheets, presentations was an exciting thing back then. The 90's focused on simplifying the experience as much as possible. Operating Systems became easier to use, install and configure. Applications focused on standardizing their interfaces, so that once you learn't one, you learn't the other.
The idea of graphical user interfaces was still new in the early part of the 90's so developers had to be cautious about how they made changes. Making it easy was always the aim, making too many changes between releases of an OS or app could easily isolate users forcing them to seek alternatives. This is one of the things I applaud the iPad for not succumbing to. Yes, its based on the iPod Touch, so once you know how to use that device, you will definitely learn how to use the iPad. But I believe the iPad takes some very bold steps by moving away from the convential idea of the UI (user interface). Its about being as bold, as natural, as unique as much as possible. Bento doesn't need to look like Bento on the Mac or a traditional Mac app, the Mixr app does not need file menus to access settings. Its all natural in its presentation. Mimicing what you see in the real world is one of the things Apple realized was gonna be key to making computing so much fun. They started in the 80's with the Mac. Microsoft also realized with Windows.
The metaphors of the real world is something we experience from the day we are born, so why not apply it to a non-tangible experience called software? The iPad is the closest we will ever reach to touching 1's and 0's. The iPad is the closest I have seen to the real world on a computer. Its not about life like icons or a beautiful wallpaper anymore. Its about knowing something from the start without needing a manual, without looking it up on the web. The iPad to put it simply, is about being yourself.