The iPad has arrived, greeted by hundreds of thousands of happy customers in the first weekend. As the best tablet device available on the market today, this doesn’t really surprise me. Furthermore, while the hardware is simplistic yet outstanding, what really makes the iPad a great product is the software available for it.
For instance, as of the launch date, you could already purchase books, organize your projects, type papers, make spreadsheets, watch videos, surf the web, and do almost anything you could already do on your iPad or laptop. However, I still believe there is a huge market the iPad may miss out on by being such a closed system. Let me explain.
I’ll use the health system as my example. With the large screen size and great multi touch interface, the iPad may be perfect for doctors to carry with them to keep track of patients’ medicine and health concerns. If built right, the application could end the days of paper and pencil in hospitals and put the data straight into a database where it usually eventually ends up anyways. However, because of the way the applications and store on the iPad are set up, I can’t really see this happening.
Hospitals or other places that would depend on such an app would need the assurance that it would always be available to them. With the screening process Apple uses, you never know when they might take your app down or delay an update for further fixes. Also, an app such as this might not want to be available to the public as they wouldn’t really have a use for it, but you can’t do that on the App Store.
However, what may be the most prominent roadblock to the creation of such an app for the iPad is the access of the data. Right now, the only way you can really get data off an iPad from a third party app is emailing it to yourself as Apple doesn’t let developers interact with the 30 pin connector when syncing. In a healthcare setting, the data on this device would be the most important aspect towards using it, so users would need to be able to get that data to and from anywhere they want extremely easily. Emailing it around just isn’t the best care here. The application would need numerous ways to access the data and get it off of the device through wireless connections and wired ones.
For a case such as this, I can see an Android tablet device being perfect. Since it’s so open, you can do practically anything you want on the operating system to make it suit your needs. While it may have downsides as well, I can see it being a better fit in this setting than the iPad despite how great a product the iPad is for other needs. Unfortunately, the healthcare setting is a rather large market the iPad isn’t exactly all that well suited for.