Television producers are their top advertisers are not the only ones who want content on all “Three Screens”:
1. The television screen; which, while it is the oldest screen in most households, is starting to undergo some radical changes with Google TV, AppleTV, and various other players attempting to fuse the Web surfing with our favorite programs.
2. The computer screen; seen by many as the most powerfully interactive platform, since most computers now empower their users to write stories, enhance photos, edit video and compose songs.
3. The mobile phone screen; the newest competitor for our attention (and money) is the one we take with us everywhere.
One Screen to Rule them All
One of the reasons the iPad has generated so much excitement is that it offers designers and content creators the best of all the previous three screens. In order, the iPad matches up well because:
1. Multimedia presentation: Video, audio and more on a screen that is large and high-resolution enough to make watching a full-length movie an enjoyable experience.
2. There’s an app for everything: Because there is enough processing power, memory and functionality to allow users to compose music or cut together video sequences, and so many other things…
3. An iPad can be detached from wall outlets and cables, and taken just about anywhere. Wifi makes it easier to connect with the internet with high speed bandwidth and you can deliver full length movies to an iPad.
Admittedly, the iPad is not better than any the three previous classes of screens if you just compare them one on one. An iPad fits in your lap, but it can’t compete with a 90-inch high-def plasma TV. And slim as a magazine in size and dimensions, this is a powerful computer device, but you’d still be happier with an octo-core workstation for editing video.
Many of us will put up with less functionality on a device that is convenient, especially for things like reading and watching breaking news. What you can carry in your pocket if you have an iPhone manages to cram into a device tiny enough to fit into a shirt pocket. But it comes close, and that makes it very handy to have around. It’s the Swiss Army knife of content platforms.
What this means for designers is that you can play with a lot more screen real estate than on mobile phones, while still building in hot new functions like location-aware content, fun accelerometer interactions, and intuitive touchscreen functionality. Many of the early reviews of the iPad dismissed it as “a device in search of a purpose,” but we couldn’t disagree more.
The iPad is a Jack of All Trades, a platform that will only grow more accepted into all of our lives, providing us with an enjoyable Web-surfing experience, a way to create complex content, and a cool companion when you want to curl up on the couch with a good book (or giggle at the latest quirky viral video hit). Much of how good you make that experience for your users will depend on how well you are able to understand and employ the latest Web technologies: HTML5 and CSS 3.