write...about the new iPad! write...about the new iPad!

Summary: I tried...I really tried...but I just had to at least say a few words about my latest acquisition and the implications for ed tech.

TOPICS: iPad, Mobility

Everyone's had a weekend to live with the new iPad. Or not, if they didn't pre-order or snag one from the limited stock at Apple stores, Best Buys, Walmarts, and other retailers. And everyone has blogged about it. And I'm doing my best not to join the chorus of "Holy Crap - this display is amazing!" Because, honestly, the display alone is enough to make me forget about every other tablet I've used (many of which I've really liked).

Also read:

Obviously, from the articles above, I'm not the only one floored by the new Retina display. It's stunning and the uses in higher education, ranging from a study aid for medical students to data visualization for computer science students are easy to imagine. It's overkill at the K12 level, where the iPad 2 (and countless other Android tablets) are great mobile internet devices, but there is one aspect of the new iPad that will make a difference for students everywhere: it's easy to read for long periods of time.

Since the advent of the original Kindle, people have argued the merits of e-paper and e-ink that simulate the printed word and help avoid the eyestrain that can result from staring at a bright LCD for hours at a time. The new iPad doesn't negate the need for some smart ergonomics, the use of computer glasses (I'm wearing the precursors of the Wi-Five model as I write this), or occasional breaks, the truly incredible crispness of the screen is an undeniable asset for people (like students) who need to read a lot.

In fact, although I always carry around a Kindle Fire or Motorola Xoom with me, the new iPad is the first tablet that has ever made me reluctant to break out a computer and put the tablet aside. Looking at a regular LCD (even those on my MacBook Pro or MacBook Air) is just disappointing. I downloaded the Khan Academy app on Friday and, even though it's not optimized for the new iPad's display, side-by-side comparisons of the app on the new iPad and my son's iPad 2 made me very glad he'd inherited my previous-generation model.

$500 isn't something that everyone can cough up and it certainly isn't within reach of many public schools (at least not at scale). Even $400 for the iPad 2 just isn't going to happen for many students. The $200 Kindle Fire is far more realistic. However, this is one tool that, especially for college students enduring countless late nights of study and reading, should probably be on the short list of requested graduation gifts or targeted for those handy student loan refunds.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The display is trruly amazing

    I friend brought his to my home today. The new display is truly amazing.
  • I don't think crispness has anything to do with it

    Is there any evidence that jaggies and eyestrain are associated? I think the brain can process blocky text just fine. The issue with eyestrain is background illumination, and the new iPad does nothing to address that. It remains a decidedly inferior eReader.
    x I'm tc
    • Pixilation makes you tired much more faster; there was scientific research

      ... about that. "Vision analysis" part of the brain always gets overstrained when it sees regular resolution screens, including all kinds of eReaders.

      [b]iPad is the first device that completely eliminates this problem. [/b]

      Also, there is no problem with background illumination, there is problem with people using crazy levels of brightness which most of them consider to be "normal".

      In reality, the rule for brightness adjustment is that you have to get a blank sheet of paper, and placing it along with your tablet, adjust the brightness to the level of white which is reflected by that blank sheet of paper.

      This would mean actually really low brightness level, not average to which people used to on screens.

      Then there will not no problem with background illumination tiredness.
  • IPad HD still doesn't fix the bug that IPad2 had

    The music lyrics is not shown on iPad2, I thought it was bug hoping to be fixed in the new Ipad HD, but this bug continues to live in new release, iPhone doesn't have this bug. I read lots of such complaints for IPad in Apple forums but Apple seems totally ignore it who doesn't care at all.

    There is other bug-like issue that unknown mystery 'Other' occupying too much memory space on the device, which still stays in the new IPad release.

    Disappointing of the new Ipad on these issues...
  • Still too big for prolonged holding

    That is the key ergonomic factor for me. I have carpal tunnel to some degree, and holding anything more than a few ounces for any length of time aggravates it. It does not matter what the screen looks like, or what OS is on it - all those 9"-plus tablets are simply out on that basis, along with a lot of the heavier 7-inchers. E-ink tablets are generally much lighter, and thus easier to hold, along with 5-inch Androids like my Dell Streak 5 and defunct Archos 5 (actually 4.8" screen, but close enough).

    And, for the color backlit models, when I set the scheme to night mode with white-on-black, and dim the backlight, I find them quite readable for long periods of time.

  • Last time ZD Education was a $999 Ultra book, now its a $500 Pad.

    You people are funny!

    Education needs to get off this merry-go-round of getting the hardware needed then the software needing more advanced hardware so education gets the hardware needed only to have .... and the thing how people allowing themselves to be convinced how they always need the latest - greatest of everything.

    In this case the 'more hardware' is a sharper screen ... what does this pad do the $1000 Ultra Book won't do?

    OTOH if you're head wasn't in the clouds you wouldn't have anything to write about.