By now we’re all well aware of just how useful the Apple iPad is to photographers. We can check our email on the fly, surf the web, keep an eye on the weather, get sunrise and sunset times, sign model releases and use it as a slick digital portfolio viewer. Indeed, it is a sweet piece of technology. All of this leaves me wondering – what’s next?
With it’s beautiful, fairly large screen there have to be some additional uses for the iPad beyond the current crop of “in the field” tools. I did a little digging and found a couple possibilities, both of which I’m very interested in putting to use.
iPad As a Second Monitor – A company called MaxiVista created an app that allows the iPad to function as a second monitor. What a perfect place to move all your Photoshop tool palettes to unclutter your main monitor! I haven’t used it but if it works as advertised, this could be a really cool way to utilize your iPad at home. Inexplicably, the app currently works only on Windows machines. I hope MaxiVista (or someone else) is working on a Mac version.
iPad as Graphics Tablet - This one seems like a natural fit for the iPad. Sure, there’s the pesky fact that the screen isn’t pressure sensitive. Seems even that can be worked around, as evidenced by this hack by Ten One Design. Not down with hacking your iPad? Apple may just be working on making this one a reality. A recent patent application for a pressure sensitive pen suggests that Apple might be looking to take a bite out of the graphics tablet market with the iPad (or a future generation of iPad). I’ve never used a tablet but I’ve heard they’re fantastic. I might make the leap if Apple releases this cool gizmo.
iPad as Portable Photo Storage Drive – I dreamed this one up all on my own. How about a ruggedized iPad with a larger SSD hard drive and an easy way to download RAW images in the field? Sure, it’s bigger than an Epson P7000, but it’s also got a much larger screen that would make it easier to weed out the good images from the bad. The darn thing could even run a mobile version of Lightroom (or Aperture, if that’s your thing). Yes, you can do this on a laptop but if the iPad could do it just as well, I think I’d leave the laptop at home.
Who knows what’s next? The whiz kids at Apple seem to be light years ahead of my simple way of thinking when it comes to future tech. No doubt they’ve got some really cool stuff planned for photographers using the iPad. What apps or functionality would you like to see in the not-so-distant iPad future?