It’s tough to miss a new product announcement from Apple these days—the company is playing a major role in reinventing the ways we interact with media and data, with an emphasis on mobility. Most of the attention paid to the iPad has been around the subject of e-books and whether Apple’s hotly anticipated device will be a “Kindle killer.” What’s more interesting to us as photographers is the potential of the iPad to be the must-have mobile companion for reviewing, editing and sharing our images.
Along with high-profile accessories like a keyboard dock and a case that doubles as a stand, Apple quietly included something really excellent for photographers: a pair of connectors that allows you to download images to the iPad. One of the connectors accepts SD memory cards; the other allows you to tether your camera to the iPad via your camera’s USB cable.
The concept isn’t entirely new. A few earlier generations of the iPod were compatible with a similar accessory, but the idea never really took off, mostly because of the iPod’s small screen at the time. The iPad’s 9.7-inch screen, with a resolution of 1024×768, offers a lot more real estate for viewing photos larger, organizing shots and even applying special effects using third-party apps. The screen offers a wide, 178-degree viewing angle, so it looks good for everyone huddled around it.
ROOM FOR BACKUPS
We’re big advocates for making frequent backups of photos on your camera’s memory cards, especially when traveling. Stuff can get lost, left behind or snagged, but cameras and gadgets are replaceable—your once-in-a-lifetime shots aren’t. The iPad is available with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of storage—ample room for backing up photos when you’re on the move. If you also plan to use the iPad for viewing movies, TV shows and playing music, you might want to opt for the larger-capacity storage.
Along with photo downloading, reviewing and backup, the iPad’s brilliance is that it can connect to your favorite websites or send photos by e-mail practically anywhere in the world. All iPad models have Wi-Fi built in, so you can get online at coffee shops, airports and hotels—even some cities are offering free municipal Wi-Fi these days. There’s also a version of the iPad that adds the ability to connect to 3G cellular data services. The best part of this deal is that there’s no contract to connect; you pay for a month of service in advance and can cancel anytime. Buy it when you need it and skip it when you don’t. In the U.S., two monthly plans are available through AT&T: $15 for up to 250 MB of data or $30 for unlimited data.