Anybody who says that the iPad is the end of user-generated content or the internet does not know what they are talking about

Emily posted a link to an NPR story from yesterday I missed, “Apple’s iPad: The End of the Internet as We Know It?” Here’s a tease quote:

On its Web site, Apple boasts that the iPad makes you “feel like you are actually holding the Web right in the palm of your hand.”

Paul Sweeting, an analyst with GigaOM, sees it differently. “With the iPad,” he says, “you have the anti-Internet in your hands.”

Please.  Buy a clue.

Oddly, the review on GigaOM’s web site of the iPad seems pretty positive to me, so I’m not sure where this Sweeting guy is coming from, other than he gives good sound-bite and NPR took the bait.  In any event, as an iPad expert (for I have had one now for going on four days), let me point out some obvious things:

  • The iPad is not a computer. It is not a substitute for a desktop or laptop computer anymore than an iPhone or an iTouch are substitutes.  It might be a substitute for a netbook for some users, but that’s a debatable point.  This is not to say that you can’t do a bunch of computer things on an iPhone or iTouch (email, listen to music, surf the web to an extent, play with/use apps, etc.), and it is also true that I think that the iPad generally handles these tasks better than its smaller ancestors.  But no one should think that they can get an iPad instead of a computer.  That’s just dumb.
  • No one is stopping you from uploading your own music and videos to the iPad. Again, just as is the case with the iPhone and iTouch, you can put whatever music, podcasts, or movies that iTunes can handle on the thing, and that includes stuff ripped from other sources.  Like everyone else in America, I have music on my computer that I did not pay for (most of it is stuff I checked out from the library) and I have a few videos that I ripped with the help of Handbrake.  I transferred them to the iPad, played them, and the Apple police have yet to knock on my door.  And of course, if you create the music or video content yourself, you can play that on the iPad too.
  • No one is stopping you from making and distributing your own ePubs that are then readable on the iPad. And while I haven’t done this yet, there are a number of pretty easy to use conversion tools out there that will take that novel that has been rejected by every publisher out there and turn it from a .doc file into a .epb file.  From there, you can just slap it up on the web at your own site or use one of the various distribution networks for such things and completely bypass the Apple store.  Users can download your ePub, import it into iTunes, upload it to their iPad.  Done.
  • The iPad has some pretty cool apps for actually making content as it is. Pages and Keynote are both pretty slick, and when it comes to layout, the touchpad might make it easier for novice artists like me to move around images and stuff by just touching them instead of dragging them with a mouse.  Plus I’ve got Brushes (a paint program that I wish I was more talented to use better), Draw (simple drawing program), iAnnotate PDF, Dragon Dictation (though I don’t know how well that one works yet), and Whiteboard.

Honestly, I do not get what the haters are getting at.  It ain’t the end of anything; at best, the iPad is the beginning of something else.

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