Apple was not the first, but they sure as heck mastered the Tablet
Apple was not the first company to launch a tablet style computer, indeed it was Microsoft who promoted the form-factor early this century with its stylus-driven ‘Windows XP Tablet PC Edition’ OS.
Despite the delightfully creative title, the OS never really took off and the format has largely been dormant until the launch of the iPad; “if Microsoft couldn’t do it then no one could” was the fields motto, but with a little bit of Apple ambition…
A major reason for this was that the OS Microsoft used was a stunted version of Windows which was inappropriate for a tablet device and the CPU and RAM just couldn’t keep up, I won’t even get in to the video (in)capabilities. It was based on needing a pointing device for input to move the arrow on screen, which necessitated the use of a stylus or mouse.
With the iPad and iOS, we now have a tablet style computer on which the physical design, OS and applications work seamlessly and produce a device which works and offers users a new type of mobile computing. The launch of the iPad is a paradigm shift as significant as the transition from command line input to the mouse. This is why it is difficult to understand and pigeonhole. However, comparing it to netbooks is likely to limit its potential for teaching and learning. Netbooks offer a school more of the same of what it already does, the iPad offers the potential of transformation in technology - new methods for new learning.
But for those among us who use the traditional way of doing things for work and such, the you will find that adapting to the iPad is quite hard to adapt to, it’s just a completely different rule.
The choice is yours dear reader, but please don’t be one of those people that knock Apple before they try it!