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on technology ❖

john kamm, ctp

Have Tablet, Will Travel FOR MORE THAN FOUR million of us, the next computer we buy won’t exactly be a computer. At least not like the desktop or laptop we commune with day in and day out. Released in April to legions of blearyeyed early adopters who stood in line through the night, Apple’s iPad is being widely acclaimed as revolutionary. This new device is perhaps more evolutionary – it’s not the first time Apple has redefined a device category. Lust-worthy – oh yes. Must-have – time will tell. According to analysts, the iPad is a media tablet which is characterized by a touch-screen interface, 5- to 11-inch diagonal screen size with wi-fi internet connectivity, gaming and video functionality. Tablet devices have been available for several years from established vendors like Lenovo and HP; Apple has come later to the party but now appears to be calling the iTunes. What does the iPad do? It has a big, bright screen with 1024 x 768 resolution, comes with up to 64 GB of memory, has an on-screen keyboard, wi-fi connectivity and excellent battery life – up to 10 hours. It has the Safari web browser and Apple’s business productivity suite, iWorks. Like its smaller sibling the iPhone, the iPad connects to Apple’s iTunes or Amazon online

distribution sites for content – music, videos, eBooks, podcasts and applications; millions of titles are available. RIVALING NETBOOKS So, what are you shopping for that makes the iPad an option? The diminutive netbook computer category will probably take the biggest hit from the emergence of supercharged media tablets. Their popularity has been driven by the fact that they function like a familiar computer, but they are smaller in form, in price and for the most part, in functionality.

Apple’s iPad will redefine the media tablet category and may overtake netbooks Netbooks feel familiar because they have a keyboard, touchpad and an LCD screen. They run Windows or Linux and popular productivity software. Speculation is that they don’t do these things well enough to survive the paradigm shift to a tablet done right. eBook readers represent another niche of the media tablet market. iPad brings a stunning color display at the expense of battery life. Kindle, Amazon’s eBook reader, utilizes E Ink,

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12 June 2010

a 16-shade, black-and-white display providing battery life measured in days. A high-end Kindle costs about the same as the entry-level iPad; the Kindle has worldwide connectivity that is generally available without fees, unlike the 3G networked iPad. However, in terms of functionality and visual excitement there is no comparison. Media tablets are also going head to head with smart phones with one important distinction – tablets can’t make phone calls (yet). Spend a few minutes with an iPad and it will occur to you that this is an iPhone on steroids; the

look, the feel of the interface, the apps, all very familiar. This begs the question – do I need to add another pound or so of glass and metal to my already overstuffed carry-on? Consider: the iPad renders web and video content well enough to be considered a viable presentation tool, and there are connectors available for larger screens. Apps will be available for a wide variety of business- and travel-related functions. Maybe it’s time to ditch the clam-shell laptop; the iPad looks like it belongs in the 21st century and a $50 cell phone can drop a call just as well as a premium handset. John Kamm is CEO of TourTech Systems, Inc., developers of TourTools®, the most popular tour reservations solution in North America. Visit for more information.

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Technology tips for Group Travel Leaders  

Group travel leaders can learn many new tips about technology in this travel column from leisure group travel

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