Industry Perspective

Industry Perspective

Is the Apple iPad a Photographer's Tool?

by Ron Leach

As serious gadget freak, as well as a photographer, I've been giving some serious thought to the potential of Apple's new iPad as a tool for the traveling photographer. Admittedly, my experience to date with this new device consists of reading the specs and playing with the iPad for about 30 minutes at a neighborhood Apple store. Like many of you, ever since Apple announced the iPad I've wondered about what I could do with a 1.5-inch thick tablet with 10 hours of battery life, a high-resolution 9.7-inch screen and up to 64GB of storage capacity.

My first question was "How to I get my images into the device and share them with others or upload them to my computer?" Fortunately, Apple offers an optional camera connector kit enabling you to download images from the directly from your camera using a USB cable, or a from an SD card via it's card reader. Another option is to use one of the currently available Wi-Fi enabled SD cards to transfer images directly from your camera to the iPad. Other built-in transfer options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and the iPad's 30-pin docking connector.

What immediately struck me is that the iPad's 9.7-inch, 1024x768 backlit display is really gorgeous, and makes the unit a really nice tool for portfolio presentation and sharing images with friends. Apple somewhat strangely opted for a 4:3 aspect ratio, which confounded many of those expecting a 16:9 format. For photographers, however, the 4:3 aspect ratio makes more sense (with none of the wasted landscape that results from display standard 4:3 images on a 16:9 screen). Another presentation option is connecting the iPad to a digital projector using the docking connector.

In the future we'd like to see Apple combine the iPad's high-resolution display with it's potential as a portable storage device. Imagine a 500GB iPad as a travel companion that you could use to download your cards and view images in a format that would actually enable you to make editing decisions-as opposed to the small LCDs on many of today's portable storage devices. Knowing Apple, that possibility is not too far off in the distance.