Tablets remain the industry’s hot talking point and, with at least one new device announcement every month since Apple launched its first slate, you now have more than a dozen to choose from. Though, for many people I speak to, the overarching question remains – why would I want one?
When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad, he said how he was looking forward to seeing what kind of apps people would create for it. An odd statement at the time, I thought, but fast-forward a couple of years and it’s the variety of apps that give people a reason to buy. Want The Times in digital form? The iPad can do that. Want an interactive cookbook in your kitchen? The iPad can do that. Want an educational astronomy tool that allows you to point at the sky and detect stars and constellations? Yep, the iPad can do that, too. In fairness, so can a few other Android-based tablets. However, I recently used one app that demonstrated where tablets could be headed.
Let me set the scene. Last month I had two tickets to a Paul Simon gig for my wife and I. For reasons relating to pregnancy and tiredness (they seem to go hand in hand, I’m finding out), we didn’t make it to the gig. However, remembering that iTunes was ‘live-streaming’ the event to an app that you could download to the iPad, I engaged myself into geek overdrive and not only presented this amazing feat of technological invention to my wife, but wirelessly sent the live gig to play through my 55-inch TV and 5.1 surround sound system. I was impressed. My wife, more so.
During weathered renditions of the Graceland album, I thought about how the tablet was integrated with the TV. The tablet was talking in real-time to the TV regarding a real life event, so who’s to say this couldn’t be employed in other areas? Direct shopping links to products you like the look of in TV shows and adverts; voting for alternative storylines during an episode of Doctor Who; newspaper video reports displayed on your TV while reading the daily? A supercharged remote control, if you like.
Tablet technology is still in its infancy, but is developing at a serious rate. It will be years before they become as omnipresent as smartphones. But what we’re using them for today could look rather different in the future.
My Gadget Life by Luke Peters