The New iPad: Another Leap Forward for the Mobile Lawyer
by: Jeffrey A. Hammond, Attorney
This afternoon Apple unveiled the new iPad. Lawyers who have already embraced the iPad already know the transformative effect it can have on your practice. The new iPad features and upgrades announced today make the new iPad an even more valuable tool for today’s mobile lawyer. While there are many impressive upgrades in the new iPad, the following are a few that will make the new iPad an even more useful tool for your practice.
FINALLY, A RETINA DISPLAY FOR THE IPAD
Graphics, text and icons are going to be sharper and easier to read than e
ver before. Anyone who has gone from an iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4 (or 4S) knows the difference a Retina display makes. Amplify that difference to a much larger screen and the readability increase on the new iPad will be impressive. Transcripts and documents will be easier to read and easier on your eyes. And yes, your movies and photos will be in HD quality too (actually a higher resolution than your 1080p flat panel TV at home).
VOICE DICTATION COMES TO THE IPAD
Although Apple did not add its Siri personal assistant to the new iPad, it did add all of the functionality of the Siri software when it comes to speech recognition and text input. The ability to speak text into my iPhone 4S has been my favorite feature. Responding to texts and emails using voice dictation is much faster and safer than typing while driving (or walking). Now that same voice dictation functionality has been added to the new iPad.
Anyone who is used to old school dictation will be amazed at how well this works. You can speak in the same types of commands that you are used to with traditional dictation (punctuation, new paragraph, open/close parenthetical, open/close quotes, etc.). Unless I am in a crowd, this is how I write emails now. The accuracy is amazing and it’s much faster than typing. For those of you still hanging on to your Android phones for various reasons, you will now be able to enjoy the same Voice Dictation capabilities on the new iPad (and keep your Android phone).
4G DATA SPEEDS
The new iPad is also compatible with AT&T and Verizon’s 4G data networks in the United States and over other carriers abroad. Data download speeds with 4G will greatly improve the ability for busy lawyers to download that last file before the airline attendant forces you to shut down your device on the plane. This will also make storage and retrieval of your case files and documents in the Cloud a far more useful tool. Downloading that large PDF document production will now be much faster. The demo during the Apple press conference today showed that the 4G data network could download an image file faster than the iPad could process the file and display it on the screen.
YOUR IPAD AS A PERSONAL HOTSPOT
If you have ever been stranded in an airport with sketchy Wi-Fi service or pay-per-use Wi-Fi, you will love the ability to use your new iPad as a Personal Hotspot. With a 4G enabled iPad and data plan, users will be able to share their 4G data over Wi-Fi to their laptops and other mobile devices using the new iPad’s Personal Hotspot feature. I love this feature on my iPhone 4S and will likely now drop to a much lower data plan on my iPhone and use the iPad’s 4G data for my Personal Hotspot. This will be an amazing addition to lawyers who are often out of the office or traveling for business (or pleasure).
REAR iSIGHT CAMERA UPGRADE
The rear camera on the iPad 2 was entry level and the picture quality was poor – certainly compared to any current smart phone camera. Those limitations made the iPad 2 rear camera really only useful for Facetime and some video recording. The new iPad rear camera improves to a 5 megapixel sensor, with backside illumination and a greatly improved optics system. This will improve your ability to use the new iPad to scan documents (using one of the many available apps that turn the camera into a scanner), take full 1080p video, and take greatly improved pictures. The technical side of the camera software is also upgraded and now offers auto-exposure, auto-focus, auto-face detection, AF-lock and greater edge-to-edge detail. A much needed improvement from the limitations of the iPad 2’s rear camera. Bring the new iPad with you on your next site inspection and leave your old point and shoot camera at home.
FULL 1080P HD VIDEO RECORDING
The rear camera is now capable of full 1080p video recording with built in image stabilization. Wherever you go, you’ve got a great camera built-in to record full 1080p video.
In addition to these features, the new iPad has a much faster processor, updated Apple software and applications and retains the same price point as the current iPad 2 line.
Still not ready to get an iPad? Consider buying an iPad 2 for a new and reduced price. The 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 has dropped in price by $100 to $399 (from $499). The full iPad 2 line isn’t going away, they are just dropping the prices on the iPad 2 by $100. Another reason to buy iPads for all of the lawyers in your law firm, even if they already own one. (Hint Hint Cohen & Malad, LLP…)
The new iPad will be available on March 16th and Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the device today.