The Apple iPad will hit stores in about two months, which means that developers, accessory manufacturers and clever entrepreneurs will be clamouring to release new products that complement and enhance the tablet’s features and functionality. There’s money to be made in the iPad ecosystem and as creative manufacturers with good products are on a cusp of a gold rush.
Just like with Macs, iPhones and iPods, the new iPad is certain to have a ton of accessories available right after it begins shipping. There will be screen protectors, cases, stands, sleeves and a variety of docks and they will likely be expensive. If the iPhone and the iPod Touch have taught us anything is that the “Apple Tax” we pay for these products almost always extends to any accessories they may have. If we’re shocked at paying $35 for a plastic iPhone case, expect to pay the same, or likely more, for similar iPad accessories, its all part of territory.
We’ve already seen a number of iPad accessories announced just a few days following the Stevenote. Scosche, who sells a number of iPod and iPhone solutions, announced its first iPad case. The KickBACK case with a stand uses a patent pending locking feature that enables both vertical and horizontal viewing and has a low angle setting for an optimal typing position. Scosche also included molded grips on the back of the kickBACK for more secure handling.
iLuv, another manufacturer of Apple accessories, has already previewed an entire line of iPad cases, bags, screen protectors, power solutions and even remote control devices. Same for Griffin Technology, Incase and Kroo which announced their own product lines to support the iPad. Another manufacturer of durable iPhone and Mac products, Incipio, has also revealed a full complement of cases for the iPad.
iPad is made of Potential
A year or so ago, when Apple launched version 3.0 of their iPhone OS, they specified that they would support third-party devices that would extend the functionality of the iPhone. Named in the launch as some of the examples were medical diagnostic instruments and car audio connectors. With the iPad’s more powerful processor, larger screen and enhanced multi-touch area these possibilities become even greater.
We can now imagine a full featured car-computer and entertainment center in the iPad or even a really large GPS device (although lack of multitasking will limit its functionality), DJs and musicians can also use the iPad as a musical instrument, virtual turntable or effects box. Sales reps can be given the 3G enabled version of the iPad to take on the road to run specific functions and sync information instantaneously over the web and we can’t even begin to imagine what the iPad can do for students.
As a learning tool, the iPad is comparable to notebooks but may possibly be even better for students and schools to adopt. Long battery life, constant Internet connectivity, the ability to dock and add a keyboard when necessary makes the iPad an ideal and almost revolutionary educational tool. Lessons, reading lists and even books can be distributed directly to the device at any time. That’s less money spent on physical books and less effort lugging these around from place to place. New edition comes in? No worries, simply get the updated chapters or revised sections—you don’t need to buy the whole book.
Again, the only problem we see with this is the lack of multitasking, student’s lives are complex and demanding and the iPad may need to evolve further to seize this sector but its already well suited for education. On the flipside, since it is a closed and controlled environment, you can pretty much standardize hundreds of iPads to run the same programs quite easily, which will suit many schools, businesses and organizations just fine.
It will be interesting to see how the iPad develops and evolves from gadget du jour to a vital tool used in different scenarios. Its ecosystem is still new but is almost guaranteed quick growth and incredible profit.
Are you picking up an iPad when it launches late March? What is the first accessory you will be getting for it? Hit us back at WhatsYourTech.Ca.