The new Apple iPad is going to be a game changer. Whether you hate the name, or can’t quite figure out how it is different than a larger iPhone or a thinner computer, it will change the next generation of teenagers. The question is how? Here I describe how I envision the iPad changing the next round of young adults:
1. Lighter School
Everything about school is becoming lighter. Kids will have to carry around fewer books, as they begin to read them in the iPad, they will be able to do research outside of the library, virtually type and turn in reports. In class essays might be allowed to be typed on an iPad. Language classes can use the iPad for listening comprehension tests and can change homework from workbooks to iPad recordings.
2. Constant Connection
You might think that teens are already on their computers or cell phones all the time, but I think it is going to increase 10 fold. With an iPad teens will no longer needs books, magazines or newspapers. Comic books will be on the iPad, schoolwork will be on the iPad and it can be easily connected.
3. All in One
Right now the average teenager has a cell phone, a laptop an iPod, a gaming device (like a PSP), a Kindle or eReader, a DVD player and maybe more. Teens will be able to travel without many of these things as the iPad combines them into one.
4. Enders Game Reality
If you have read Ender’s Game, watching Steve Job’s at the keynote was reminiscent of the ‘desktops’ the boys in training carried around with them. These desktops became the boy’s identity, portals, and access to all information. iPads will serve the same purpose for tomorrow’s teens.
5. iPad = Teen Blanket
If you have ever tried to take a phone away from a teen you have realized the dependence many young people have on their phones. Because the iPad is so all encompassing I think teens will become even more attached to it, having separation anxiety like with toddlers and their baby blankets.
Although I have argued that technology brings about less person to person interaction, more social illiteracy and other negative affects, I do not think the iPad will contribute to these issues anymore than a new kind of cell phone. Mostly, we have a lot of exciting changes to look forward to.