Were you one of the ravenous Apple fans who had your new iPad by lunch on Saturday? If so, you’ve probably played with it in the past few days as much as a child does a new toy on Christmas morning. Unlike the child though, you’re not likely to grow tired of it and move on anytime soon.
Whether you’re in the crowd that thinks Steve Jobs can do no wrong and the iPad is worth every ounce of hype and maybe more, or you’re in the crowd that thinks it’s completely overhyped and asking “why are we still talking about this?”, there’s no denying that this little piece of technology has the potential to revolutionize the way students do business on campus.
As far as college students are concerned, the iPad’s e-reader technology makes it incredibly applicable to their lifestyle. The iPad has the potential to free students from lugging weighty bags of expensive textbooks to and from campus. Weighing about 24 ounces (or 1.5 pounds), the iPad can effortlessly be taken anywhere you go. Slip inside a satchel bag, handbag or backpack, it’s thinner and lighter than probably any textbook you own.
With the iPad, you can skip the long lines, grumpy cashiers and ridiculous prices and exchange policies and just let your fingers wander over to the iBookstore, where there are tens of thousands of titles ready for download. There are even free books available, thanks to the epub format, the most popular open book platform. The epub platform makes it easy for publishers to adapt their books to an iBook version.
Other features that help sell the iPad as an ideal student companion, the hi-res LED backlit screen makes it easy on the eyes to cram an all-night reading session in before the exam. Vivid colors that make illustrations pop and crisp font (that you can change and resize) bring the books to life in a way no textbook can; you thought those biology graphics were nauseating before! You can bookmark pages for later reference, and when you’re finished reading the iPad will bookmark the page where you’re leaving off. You can also choose landscape view and hold the iPad as you would a book to view two pages at once, or choose portrait view to read one page at a time.
One other remarkable feature is that the iPad gives you text and audio books in one. Using the VoiceOver feature, the iPad will read the book aloud to you, freeing you to take notes.
While the iBookstore isn’t currently stocked with textbooks for iPad, we believe publishers will spend summer vacation prepping for the fall semester. Several publishers are already on board to make their books available for the iPad, including McGraw-Hill. The iBookstore is, however, stocked and ready to serve students who are looking for the more leisurely side of reading. You can download a new novel, magazines or even your newspaper subscriptions.