Saturday, April 03, 2010

What's in the iPad for artists and illustrators?

Today the iPad launches in the USA and this post speculates about what it might mean for artists and illustrators. (Here in the UK we have to wait until late April to get our hands on one!)

I've been watching videos of one in use - by Apple - and by reviewers (such as MacWorld and Wired) - and have begun to twig that this is hardware/software which is going to be hugely useful for apps for artists - especially ones who are interested in innovatives ways of marketing their art or learning about art.

I'm just wondering whether anybody has started on developing those apps as yet.

Features which are going to be very helpful

To quote Apple these are:
  • a 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology. IPS (in-plane switching) provides for a wide, 178° viewing angle. So you can hold it almost any way you want and still get a brilliant picture, with excellent color and contrast. (If it's anything like my new iMac screen you'll be very impressed)
  • the multi-touch screen is very precise and responsive
  • the 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery provides a ten hour battery life. Which is great for when you're 'in the field' all day (eg at an art fair) and don't have a chance to recharge a battery - it can display videos which fill the whole display for up to 10 hours
  • YouTube videos stream wirelessly so can transmit straight away
  • a choice of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash storage
  • it uses a 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip which (I'm guessing) means that it's very heat efficient and the unit doesn't get hot
The official Apple visuals: If you've not watched them yet - here they are:
What are the ways artists are going to use the iPad?

Here's my list of ways in which I think the iPad could be used by artists and illustrators
  • showing your portfolio to a client - it offers the opportunity to show a portfolio on a website to a potential client (eg for portrait commissions or pitching for work) in a much more accessible way than you can using a laptop - plus it looks like any picture is going to look great on an iPad with the glass screen, the and the LED backlighting!
  • demonstrations by a tutor in a workshop or class - it's a fast and easy way of showing a pre-recorded video of how a technique works. It's more accessible as it's easy to pass around and the technology allows for a wide viewing angle. So when you're preoccupied with setting up or waiting for a wash to dry, you now have a way of continuing to demonstrate and show people how to do things
  • virtual private views - where artists write about / talk about / display their art in an exhibition any which way they choose. The sophistication as to presentation may take some time to become accessible to artists - but the scope is amazing - and you can see an example in.....
  • a completely new way of delivering art magazines. The trad. publishers better be fast on their feet with this otherwise they may end up being followers rather than leaders. The potential of the features (for example See Wired Magazine on iPad as explained in a YouTube video) are absolutely amazing! This is a recommended watch for all those who communicate via magazine or newsletter.
  • creating a comic/graphic book app - using your own illustrations. Maybe a little far-off as yet but I'd suggest this will come in time. Comics and graphical novels which already exist will get there faster - and I predict will create a surge in interest in this form of publication.
  • a completely different way of delivering art books - for art instruction and art history - using ibooks which uses the ePub format — the most popular open book format in the world. I'm also thinking what's happening re the scope to show magazines is completely transferable to art books - and I predict will completely change the economics of expensive art books. For example.........
  • expand visual presentation in art history books - the ability to feature several photos 'docked' in one place against a piece of text means that when explaining about an artist many more examples of his or her work could be used to provide evidence of the points being made
Maybe you've also had some ideas - in which case if you'd like to share please leave a comment below

Incidentally - isn't it rather clever to launch a product like this on a Saturday on one of the major 'holiday' breaks in the year? That'll be lots of time to spend time checking them out online or in the store!

Anybody notice that it's only taken a few weeks and I'm already becoming an apple nerd! I'm very seriously thinking of getting one of these. I'm very happy with my imac but when I want something portable I think this is highly likely to suit me better than a netbook.

and finally.....

The good ladies over at etsy are already hard at it producing arty sleeves and cases for the iPad.

Apple Links:
Video Review Links: