iPad = Comics!

The iPad seems like a handy little device – the major complaints I hear tend to be about what a person specifically wanted out of the device. One of those big complaints is whether the iPad can double as the equivalent of a Cintiq – the thing to keep in mind is that that simply isn’t the market Apple is going for. Like the iPhone and the iPod before it, they’re going for the broadest possible demographic, and they’re aiming to create a general platform rather than a task-specific device like a Kindle or a Cintiq. It’s up to companies like Adobe to adapt to the device now that it’s on the market. That’s just how Apple rolls.

I will say one thing – comics are coming to the iPad! UNDOUBTEDLY. And this is really exciting. Comics have been gaining popularity for the last couple of years, especially because of Hollywood – it’s cool to read comics these days, partially because they’ve been brought to the mainstream with an appeal that eluded them in the past. The iPad is just another way to make comics more palatable for a larger audience, and unlike the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t force a comic to conform to a particular device. This makes it EASY. Someone definitely saw the iPad coming, and they’ve got all those publishers lined up and ready to go. Or – crossing my fingers – comics will be in the new iBook store! I can only hope comics find their digital home in a book store like they found their physical home in Barnes & Noble and Borders.

I hope someone can adapt the iPad to work as a Cintiq, because that would be amazing – and I’m willing to wait to see it happen. But in the meantime, exciting things are still afoot.

28 thoughts on “iPad = Comics!”

  1. I’d consider it for some mobile art goodness, but the lack of multi-tasking capability is a massive failure. Hopefully there is an update to O/S coming in the near future.

  2. It can’t really operate as a Cintiq as it wouldn’t be able to support the pressure sensitivity. Guess you could have a thumb slider on the left/right for pressure and draw with the other hand… that’d be pretty cool in a mobile photoshop app or something.

  3. With the Walcom tablets the pressure bit is in the pen so how about a bluetooth enabled pen? what sort of pen tip would it take for apples’ touch screen to sense it? They demoed the brushes app on the iPad does anyone feel that that app has reached the level of “Good Enough” to use regularly for sketch book level stuff?

  4. This is going to get interesting, and probably a bit messy. Take a look at this interview with the VP of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group. He’s disappointed because the iPad doesn’t support Flash (duh) and Marvel’s digital comics system is all Flash. (There’s also some bone-headed comments about how much better netbooks are.)

    Now, remember that Disney is buying Marvel, and that Steve Jobs is the single largest Disney shareholder after Disney bought Pixar. I put those together and expect Marvel comics on the iPad really soon, and a possible exclusive. I also think that Ira Rubenstein (said Marvel VP) will be out of a job in the near future.

  5. I personally think the iPad is more gimmicky, it really is a larger iPod Touch. If it had a proper Mac OS, then that would be amazing, since it would allow for multi-tasking and all sorts of other goodness. As it stands, it seems like a very weak device aiming for a niche market.

  6. You know I wonder if anyone is going to make the joke that iPad is very similar sounding to an i- T something that ends in pon and women use once a month.

  7. Come on, are you saying that you don’t want full OSX capabilities + bluetooth on the iPad? Maybe even the choice between the iPad OS and OSX?

  8. I dunno… I see the iPad as a jazzed up Nook or Kindle. It seems like an over-sized iTouch without the portability factor. If it was running Mac OS and still have the iPhone functionality I could possibly see a true market for the device.

    Instead we have a web device running a tweaked iPhone OS with all the limitations. AND you get no phone/camera/networking/USB/Firewire or a real keyboard (well.. without giving Apple even more money). Then don’t forget you won’t be able to upgrade the device nor change the battery without having to ship it back to Apple.

    I have the distinct feeling this is going to go the way of the Dodo bird and Net books. The idea is nice but I don’t think that Apple really put any thought into this device except to make it bigger with longer battery life.

    Oh… and as to the whole Marvel/Flash thing… as Apple would say? “There’s an app for that”.

  9. Actually… thinking about it some more, what the world needs now is an interactive comic experience. I’ve seen a couple flash-player type comic stuff that really haven’t been all that creative. But imagine a comic where clicking on each panel brings it to life, and the characters speak to each other in real time, where action sequences play out in front of you, where explosions result in an audible “BOOM” rather than a really big word bubble.

    Haque and Ananth, I lay the challenge before you. :)

  10. I was somewhat excited when I first heard about the iPad, and I thought about some sort of MacBook air thing.
    But now that I’ve seen it’s ‘capabilities’ I can only say that I’m utterly disappointed. This device could have been so much better!
    I urge you to wait for the next generation iPad or to buy something else, it won’t be worth the money if you already have an iPhone or iPod.

  11. The ipad is a nice big ipod touch and this is what most people would like. However for anything serious, a tablet with an actual os (like macosx or anything) and a few computer like features (like a few usb ports) would be better. Not to mention flash support (free games and videos) and all the nice applications (like photoshop) that would make a tablet usable for some people (like me).

    About the comics: I happen to own a cheap sony-ericsson phone with a rather small size but good resolution screen and I tend to read comics on it during commuting (including ag). It is not really just the hardware that makes a device capable of something, but the actual software that is running on it. So reading something or playing a game and listening to music, while logged into chat and skype is what I tend to do and the phone I’m talking about has a 30% slower hardware than the iphone 3gs and only 4GB of storage. It just happens that the software is not limiting or enforcing anything just working. Imho apple should be considering making something like the ipad pro, the same hardware with usb ports and a full macosx added. That would make it a usable tablet (like the first thinkpads tablets were around 15 years ago, I still have mine).

  12. The display wouldn’t be that good to read comics on vs actual paper. So, it’s basically a product that tries to clump together tablets pcs, netbooks, and ebook readers but removes the features that make each of those things useful. No multi-tasking, no usb ports, restrictive iPhone OS, traditional Apple DRM, and overpriced. It’s a pass.

  13. A niche market involving people that own neither laptops or smart phones (like me!!). So, I’m super excited for when it comes out!

  14. if I get one… I will definitely be wanting to read manga on it, that’s for sure.

    one thing I do miss about it, is that I can’t use it to control my TV/DVD/Stereo/media-center/computer-hooked-to-TV … I have on my TV-table literally ten different controls, all doing different things.. I’ve tried using those multi-controllers that you can program, but it generally just makes it more of a pain. :P

    this’d be an awesome pad I could use to replace all those… for one.

  15. It reminds me of the larger type books for people with eye problems. Like an iPod touch for old people.

    If it can run ARD I’ll consider picking one up so I don’t have to carry my laptop with me everywhere, otherwise no sale.

  16. I wonder if the fact that the iPad failed to live up to any of its mythic-level hype will effect sales of the device. I mean, seriously all Apple had to do to make everyone happy was to deliver a tablet version of the Macbook Air and people would have been completely satisfied. Adding in the aspect sensing ability of the iPod Touch and you would still have had a great solution for viewing media of all kinds.

    Instead Apple delivered a device that just isn’t what even the most pragmatic Apple Tablet dreamer would have considered. I mean, the iPod OS is bad enough with all of its inherent limitations. The lack of ability to install REAL software (not Apps) can almost be explained by the tablets under-powered hardware.

    But the lack of a simple standard interface like a USB PORT is criminal. You shouldn’t have to buy a dock adapter to plug your camera in and put your photos on this kind of device. You should be able to save your sketches or transfer you legally purchased music from this device to another without having to rely on a WiFi connection. Apple has long resisted the move to standard USB in the majority of their devices (iPod, iPhone (in an age where most phone companies agreed on the micro-USB STANDARD for phone charging/computer interface) and they have gotten away with it because they are Apple and their product is percieved as superior, even when this isn’t always the case. But not to include a USB adapter on their iPad, and to expect people to buy an adapter kit for $30 on top of the already high price of the iPad is just an insult to Apple’s customers and every other non-competing hardware manufacturer in the world.

  17. To be honest, it surprises me how many people aren’t aware of Axiotron’s Modbook (already available, as from their website and stores; axiotron.com). They practically take a laptop (even your own if you choose), remove the keyboard and replace the screen, making it into a pen tablet (i.e. no touch sensitivity).

    The Modbook Pro, which they’ve been developing for a year or so and due to be available around July (as far as I know), takes things one step further. It adds both pen and touch recognition, making it far better than the iPad in arguably everyway.

    As far as I know, Axiotron’s a 3rd Party company which has aquired rights to modify Apple laptops and use Wacom’s pen tablet technologies.

    I swear, Axiotron’s Modbook Pro is how a tablet should be, and reading to everyone’s comments, is what everyone was hoping for from the iPad.

    Compared to this, the iPad’s ultimately a portable screen…

  18. What is this rubbish about not multi-tasking? Is it a windows thing (i.e there aren’t any)? Because my Touch 2 will happily play music while I read email and in the b/g Twitteriffic is pulling in tweets and chirping every time I get a new message. I don’t care if I have to re-instance the app rather than tabbing to it if it brings me to the exact same place and takes no longer to get there – why would I? How much work does your word processor do while you are using another window? None. Right. Get over “multi-tasking” – all you need is already there.
    Now the Flash thing? Well most of the Flash I view is Offline so I just need iTunes to import FLV to MOV and I’m golden. Think outside the box folks – the killer iPad app will rock your little world in a way you can’t yet imagine but – as a LONG time Newton fan – I am SO there.
    Comics on the iPad? Well, there is already Clickwheel but the reviews are less than stellar. That’s a hole in the market I’d expect someone with a big catalogue to fill (are you listening Marvel, DC, etc.?) but if you leave it to them you’ll have half a dozen apps, not just one. Oooh! I know! Comics to PDF via email – that’ll work well :)

  19. Pen AND multi-touch? Let’s hope the pen disables touch then – I have a real problem writing on a big screen if I can’t rest my hand on it. I think that most folks would have a similar problem with writing OR drawing.
    But let’s assume they did the most basic function testing and avoided that particular howler (unlike every other touch-screen computer in history) – good luck to them! This is an exciting form-factor and the more competition there is the better. Lenovo are there (and IBM were there before them – TransNote anyone?) and HP will be soon. Me? I’m curious to see how long Sony will say it’s a passing fad before they produce a device for 2-3 times the price of everyone else’s but still make it tempting because it’ll work really well. :D

  20. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but as soon as they said no flash and no USB port, I wrote it off as not interested. If it can’t support the most basic technologies then it’s out-dated before it even hits the market.

  21. See THAT is what I thought it was! I didn’t know it was just like a bigger iPhone, etc. I really thought it was a tablet. Bummer!

  22. I think Ted Landau in his blog over on theMacObserver hit close to the mark with “The iPad as your second computer”. This applies more to us with big fat towers who want a secondary travel device. Personally I’m starting to see the iPad as more like the datapad from ST:TNG. Useful on its own, but much better when it can link up with a bigger badder friend. The use of VNC programs will be help there. I’ve already had great fun doing remote control with my Touch, not sure how it stacks up to a Netbook as terminal in that regard, although the pinch zooming in Jaadu VNC has let me quickly navigate around my dual tower displays (1600×1200 + 1200×1024) while hobnobbing with friends or guests out in the living room. Almost plays Flash remotely that way to, with the addition of a Bluetooth headset.

    I’ve long been feeling the new-age of the Terminal system was comming (what with cloud computing and such). Again rabber (a poster on theMacObserver) pointed out that a family could get a single computer and 4 pads. Sync up to the ‘house hold main frame’, figure out some nice multi-client VNC style access software, and everyone gets computer access when and where they want it in the house.

  23. I have no direct experience with Axiotrons products, but I have seen other products demos that use both Pen and Touch.

    Generally the way these other products work is that if you drag your finger across the tablet it moves the mouse, and you have access to all the standard touchpad gestures. If the tablet detects the pen, then you only have access to the gestures, the pen controls the mouse pointer. However using the pen with touch also activates certain special gesture specific to use with a pen, such as dragging your little finger alongside the pen to scroll, and using two fingers and the pen to rotate images and such in creative applications.

    Also, I am pretty sure that these pads will ignore anything much larger than a fingertip when using the pen, so you should be able to rest your palm ont he screen while you draw or whatever.

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