Last year, Apple shook the tech world when it released the iPad, and it quickly became the must have gadget for 2010. Apple is now in the spotlight again with lots of hype around iPad 2. It's all very well lusting after one of these little babies, but for me, the real question is "what can a 3D pro like me actually use it for?".
Now, we did a customer satisfaction survey a few months ago, and asked our followers and customers to tell us what they thought of the iPad and how they were using it (or not) for their day to day 3D needs. The results were actually quite interesting: 75% of you would consider using the iPad to view 3D tutorials. So, there's clearly appetite out there to use the iPad.
The iPad certainly offers some great base core concepts and has some useful sculpting and sketching type apps like iDough, iGlass and iSculpture (take a look here). You can also get some good quality 3D viewers for it like 3DVia - that's quite handy for analysing 3D models.
I’m sure as it evolves the iPad will lend itself more to CG but developers need to work harder to develop more sophisticated design and computer graphic apps. Another issue is the much talked about memory/storage issue - the iPad 2 doesn’t have a huge memory so this makes it difficult to store large data sets etc. And finally with the main instrument used being the finger, this can mean it lacks the finesse or accuracy of detailed work. Tablet pens are available but these often still aren’t precise enough for detailed hi-resolution CG.
There’s no doubt that the iPad’s a great device - its portable design offers lots of benefits for on the move, practical research, which is great if you’re learning around work commitments but for us serious 3D guys, it still needs a lot of work.
Let us know your view on the latest iPad and if you’ve found some hidden VFX or design gems - we’d love to hear about them.