Is the Apple iPad Just Another Blow Toward the Death of Print?

Doc is certainly a gadget guy and I’m also a big Apple fan, so I’ve been watching the launch of the new iPad with great interest. Part of me thinks it might be a huge failure, but a bigger part is pretty sure it’s going to set the stage for a whole new category of device. It’s part eBook and part computer and may be the first product that has even naysayers admitting that electronic publications have come of age.

Doc is certainly a gadget guy and I’m also a big Apple fan, so I’ve been watching the launch of the new iPad with great interest. Part of me thinks it might be a huge failure, but a bigger part is pretty sure it’s going to set the stage for a whole new category of device. It’s part eBook and part computer and may be the first product that has even naysayers admitting that electronic publications have come of age.

That’s why I think that all of the companies that now deal with document management and managed print services need to take a long hard look at devices like the iPad and figure out where they fit in the document life cycle. I can see many board meetings, high-end conferences, and even legal proceedings where iPads are passed out the way three-ring binders full of paper are now distributed.

But right at the moment it’s not that easy to “print to iPad,” and creating effective electronic documents is a slightly different art than creating them for print. The iPad will need a lot of new applications for it to make a dent in the office document environment, but it has the potential to substantially change that landscape. With its wireless connections, light weight and long battery life, the iPad is the perfect alternative to reams and reams of paper being shuffled from cubicle to cubicle.

Then again, devices like the iPad could simply drive even more printing as people will want to share their electronic documents with their analog friends and work associates.

So just where do you see the iPad fitting into the hard-core document world? The Doc would love to hear your comments and find out what you’re doing to work devices like the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle into your document workflows. Do you see a day soon when catalogs, textbooks, and entire knowledge libraries reside first on products like the iPad, and rarely see print?