As I followed today’s announcement of the new Apple iPad, I began to imagine how, if at all, it could make photography easier. I already have its tiny older sibling, the iPod Touch, which I am using to compose this post. The iPad looks to be mostly a jumbo version of the Touch. The Touch has not been a big aid photographically, but the iPad really could take that step.
The photography blogger. Scott Bourne, has already expounded about the iPad’s potential as a digital portolio. Via What the Apple Tablet Will Mean to Photographers « Photofocus, “(t)he portable portfolio will get an amazing jump-start because of the new tablet, and all the competition that follows it.” As a visually impaired photographer, I see a different possibility. One of my biggest difficulties using a camera is its tiny LCD screen. I can not use it for instant feedback. I can not review images as I make them. Waiting until I can upload the photos to my computer (and its large monitor) is both tedious and burdensome. At a minimum, the iPad would make a great device for quick, if not quite immediate, feedback. Withe the large, high-resolution screen, the iPad would make for a great way to quickly review photos in detail, particularly with others. There are related dedicated devices, the so-called portable media storage devices, available now, such as the Epson P-3000, but the screen sizes are a puny four inches. The iPad has more than twice the screen size at a comparable cost.
The main obstacle is getting photos from the camera to the iPad. Apple has not added any external memory card reader, though there are iPod accessories, like thei Belkin Media Reader, that offer this functionality. According to Apple’s iPad web site, there is an official Camera Connection Kit which “gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera”, meaning a USB port and an SD care reader. Even better would be a wireless connection. The iPad, like the Touch, has both Bluetooth and wi-fi built in. Until camera manufacturers build in wireless capabilities, devices like the Eye-fi wi-fi card could make this wireless connection. We would just need an eye-fi app for the iPad. An early version of such an app is PhotoUpLink for iPhone, which allows “(f)ree, easy WiFi photo sharing between iPhones and iPod Touch” and is “(a)vailable at the iTunes App Store“.
Eventually, if Nikon and canon and the rest build in Bluetooth, the iPad could also begin to augment the viewfinder. With a remote camera control app, the iPad could assist in framing and composing images directly. Apparently, remote camera control apps already exist. DSLR Remote offers some of these features, though it appears to require that the camera be tethered to (i.e. plugged into) a computer loaded with DSLR Remote software.
With the right app and connection, the iPad offers to expand the world if photography even more to partially sighted. I, for one, will keep my fingers crossed. If anyone needs a beta tester for any related apps, you know where to find me!
P.S. Check out this video demonstrating PhotoUpLink’s iPhone image sharing:If you find this post useful or interesting, please consider buying me a cup of coffee.