iPad or not to Pad

Hype, criticism and speculation.

The iPad, Apple’s much awaited tablet platform, currently draws almost as much speculation as it did before it received a formal announcement. The hype, criticism and speculation didn’t end with the announcement. Criticisms run the gambit and, some are properly laid. A few key things might, however, make this a very useful tool for the trial attorney.

iWork Keynote will be a huge boon to conducting presentations in Court. If the video out will allow dual display the same as Macbooks, i.e. you can view a ‘presenter’ display while using the projector for the slide, it’s almost a no brainer for court room presentations.

Also, if the iPad can multi-task, this would make the remainder of the iWork suite worth exploring on the tablet platform, although questions remain the ergonomics of typing and mousing about with a cursor. Since it is a touch interface, does the user move their hand from thetypevsmouse keyboard to the screen to change the cursor location? If so, and given the awkward angle shown with the keyboard attached, it doesn’t seem like a very functional workflow.

OmniGroup, makers of OmniFocus and OmniOutliner, two of the most frequently used pieces of software by Maclitigator, announced plans to port their entire suite of applications to the iPad.  This, also, is a huge boon. OmniOutliner is a really great application for deposition outlines, including the ability to Quicklook attachments from within the outline itself. Maclitigator long ago lamented the ‘Battleship’ atmosphere a laptop creates between a deponent and the examining attorney… it’s already hard enough to conduct a meaningful deposition in the adversarial process without also erecting a physical barrier between yourself and the witness. So, taking a deposition with a tablet is finally a reality with the iPad. But, as above, this raises the question of what file system and syncing capabilities the iPad will allow. Even with the best of preparation it always seems inevitable that you dig through the file on your laptop looking for a reference mid-deposition.

Finally, Frasier Speirs column over at Macworld makes the best argument for iPad as a device which will succeed, both among professionals and neophytes. He points out that the iPad, with its simple interface and elimination of the typical ‘techie’ problems will solve the bane of all computers …

… the infantilizing effect of high technology on adults. From being in control of their world, they’re thrust back to a childish, medieval world in which gremlins appear to torment them and disappear at will and against which magic, spells, and the local witch doctor are their only refuges…..

That article sums up why the iPad confuses (and frightens0 so many ‘techie’ types… it will make technology usable, accessible and meaningful without needing to ‘think’ about using it. As soon as Dragon/Nuance port a full blown dictation system to the iPad, it may be close to over for the laptop as we have known it.