April 13, 2010
Is the iPad Setting the Stage for the Wider Adoption of the Touch-Screen Interface?
TR CEO Tom Glocer does not discuss the iPad in the context of legal publishing but does have this to say about his new iPad generally in his recent iPad and Beyond post:
What the iPad represents for me is a trail of breadcrumbs along a path to the future of media. Sure, even the Day 1 version out of the box is cool, functional and performant. But what is really exciting to me is the direction that Apple is pointing. What will the son or grandson of iPad be like?
Like Glocer, another albeit a wee bit smaller legal publisher, Jason Wilson, has some initial thoughts about his new iPad. See And now a brief word about the iPad.
So where may the iPad's trail of breadcumbs lead? In her contribution to the New York Time's blog post entitled The iPad in the Eyes of the Digerat, "Reading in More Dimensions," Liza Daly, a software engineer who specializes in applications for the publishing industry, writes:
A truly modern e-reader is one that is intimately connected to the Web and allows a user to make queries as a series of asides, while reading or after immersive reading has ended.
The shape and size of the iPad is appropriately personal, and its uni-tasking connectivity allows for the cacophony of the Web to be just slightly dampened. It’s an attractive platform. No e-reader software fulfills this vision just yet, but the stage is set.
Davide Gelernter, a computer scientist who focuses on iPad's touch sceen functionality in his contribution to the New York Time's Room for Debate Blog post titled "The Future Beyond the iPad" writes "The iPad (though it’s beautifully designed and lots of fun) is transitional, like vinyl LPs (but likely to be much shorter lived)."
When a Pad becomes the standard desktop screen, you’ll buy a desktop computer and grab the screen whenever you happen to need a Pad. Which, in the long run, is never — except as a remote control for an entirely different sort of computer. ... Touch-screens will ... be optimized to a different set of finger-motions.
Tim O'Reilly writes "If the iPhone didn’t tell us that the 25-year reign of the mouse and windows user interface popularized by that original Macintosh was soon to be over, the iPad shouts it loud and clear" See his "The End of the PC Era," contribution to The iPad in the Eyes of the Digerati.
Will eReaders be combined with Search as Daly suggests? Will the touch-screen be optimized for a form changing functionality for large-screen computing as Gelerner forecasts? Is an interface evolution in computing underway as O'Reilly believes? If this is the potential of touch-screen computing, it just might be the way legal resources will be delivered electronically in the future. In the context of legal publishing and database searching, particularly with respect to secondary source material, it most definitely has the potential of improving usability. Will very large legal publishers or much smaller ones lead the way?
BTW, refer a friend to TR Legal's final WestlawNext Preview Breakfast in Los Angeles on April 20 and you may win an iPad (or Kindle). [JH]