Apple is a fantastic enabler. It enabled thousands of developers to create great apps. It now will enable book publishers to create great educational books.
Anyone with children around him knows the power of attraction an iPad (or tablet?) has a on them. Porting books to iPad is the best thing that can happen to education since the creation of books.
But that is not the most critical one.
I have no idea how a kid can just *focus* on reading with an iPad in his hands. There are just too many great temptations: movies, games, social networks. 1 tap away.
This is worse than computers because they will be everywhere you want to be: at home, at school, on your way to school and even during classes.
Kids are suffering more and more of attention disorder because they love to stay "on" all the time. And the iPad is a source of distraction. Yes, i know apps are full screen, but it is easy to switch to something else.
The only way an iPad can become a good education tool is by enabling it with what i call "focus features". Locking the device out of temptation is critical. But this is not possible today
Don't expect kids to self discipline themselves. this won t happen. ever.
What is missing is an administration function that can lock the access to all or most apps. For example between 6pm and 8pm only those apps or books should be used. At school there should be the equivalent or Airplane mode: the "At school" mode that only allows school related app
Unless this happens: books on iPad will be as efficient, as..the "national geographic" TV channel to teach kids what animals are all about - HBO is only one button away. They will remain only a nice add on and won t become a subtitute.
For this to happen, Apple and tablet manufacturers have to enable a new type of access mode to apps. They have to enable more than just content creation: they have to enable "focus" and "attention"
There was a time i was listening to music and only doing that. There was a time i was watching a movie and only doing that. There was a time i was reading a book and only doing that
That period is over
While i am consuming some form of media, i want, in parllel enrich my experience of consumption by adding layers of content on top of it and helping me enjoy more the primary material i am consuming
Watching a movie? i want to know the IMDB rating, who directed it, who are the actors, read maybe some of the reviews...While i am watching the movie
Listening to some music? Want to know everything about the artist, is there some transcription or chords available to play? A concert about it coming soon around me?
This has been enabled by the small connected devices we have with us.
I believe i am far from being alone in that case and people want to optimize their consumption experience and make it optimal.
Right now listening music on Spotify or Deezer or watching a movie on Netflix or even the TV is pretty "boring"
There is nothing you can really add on top of it (natively). You need to run third party apps, or use an app or your iPad
Tomorrow's iTunes and Netflix will offer a 1 click access to a wide range of parallel related content.
The next step is to enable the conversation around a media (this starts to happen with media CHECK IN with services like iNTO NOW or GET GLUE)
For that to happen, our TVs will have to be connected but also sport an experience layer no one has created to date. Not even Apple
Of course you don't need this layer to be available and on screen all the time: this should be available at ease as you need it. Probably during "pee time" or when a special moment triggers your desire to know more (the generic, scene transitions,..)
What i am dreaming of is a system that will save me the time to discover what i will really like beyond the content itself but also help me avoiding listening, watching and reading all the crap out there that is not made for me