At the long-awaited Apple iPad unveiling today, Steve Jobs claimed that the much hyped tablet from Cupertino is "the best device I've ever seen for enjoying and sharing photography." That may be a bit of a stretch (one could argue that viewing photos on a big, fat flat-screen TV is a lot more enjoyable), but there's no denying that the digital photo interface is pretty slick.
The beauty of the iPad photo experience is that it's incredibly simple and intuitive. The iPad's new Photos app is essentially a beefed up version of the iPhone Photos app (yes, the one that's so easy my daughter figured out how to use it when she was barely 10 months old). There are some nice new touches, such as displaying the albums as stacks of photo thumbnails photos. You can use the pinch/spread gestures (a la iPhone) on these stacks to quickly peek through or open your album altogether, and then flip through your photos with a flick of your finger, just as you would on an iPhone. And as with the iPhone, the iPad's accelerometer rotates your photos automatically as you turn the unit between landscape to portrait orientation (or even when you flip it 180 degrees--something the iPhone doesn't do). A slider bar of photo thumbnails at the bottom of the screen allows you to rapidly scroll through photos to locate the one you want.
The Photos app can grab metadata from any PC or Mac, and can also get Events, Faces, and Places info from iPhoto, so you can sort your photos accordingly. The Places interface shows a map of places you've taken photos (so long as they're appropriately tagged of course) and lets you open up an album of each location by clicking on the respective map pin.
Built-in slide shows are even simpler to set up than in iPhoto (which is already pretty darned simple). Just select your music, select from various transitions, and then hit Start Slideshow.
Apple has also announced a couple of photo-friendly accessories: The iPad Camera Connection Kit includes a tiny SD card reader that allows you to import photos or videos directly from your memory card to the iPad, as well as a connector that allows you to import via your digital camera's USB cable.
And finally, the iPad Dock allows you to use the iPad as a digital photo frame while the unit is docked and charging (though only in portrait orientation).
Of course, viewing photos is only a fraction of what you'd use the iPad for, but since Jobs put it out there: