Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Will the Apple iPad be a paradigm shift that will change the way we use portable computers?

On January 27, 2010, Apple launched the iPad, a device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, photos, watching videos, playing games, reading e-books, and even more. The device has a high-resolution Multi-Touch display that can be described as a bigger, more refined version of the iTouch. Although the tablet computer is not necessarily new, other computer companies have offered similar tablet products before, the success of the Apple iTablet, along with the Amazon Kindle for digital book and iPhone/iTouch that had haptic interfaces, indicates a paradigm shift in portable computer usage. This could also be another major change in the way that people apprehend portable computers, considering the following major changes: graphical user interfaces in making the computer software accessible to everybody, portable music players in the way that people listen to music, and portable computers for giving the opportunity to have a portable office, as well as the Internet's refinements in breaking the wall and connecting and making everything available to everybody, and finally mobile phone's in making it technologically possible to connect anybody to everybody almost anywhere. Even though we still need to physically experience the exact behavior of the iPad, we can anticipate the following major changes in user behavior.

-Reading from a vertical screen to physically changeable position in the way user wants to view or read.
-Cut and paste versus keyboard data entry.
-Direct access to desired application versus free navigation.
-Multi tasking all the time. We can already see that many people have their eyes usually focused on a small screen of a handheld device even when they are walking or talking to someone.

Thus what would be the impact of this device on user behavior? And what are the other changes that we should expect to see soon? These are the questions that HCI experts will need to research.
"International NEWS - March 2010 - Number 40"