How photographers can use an Apple iPad

As you may have heard Apple announced the new iPad. It is Apple’s come back to the netbook, a very functional tablet with the iPhone operating system built-in. It is in fact a large iPhone or iPod Touch.

I am not about to run out to get the iPad just yet, not because it’s not on the shelves, because I will wait to see what improvements it will have. When you consider the iPad as an eBook reader it really is nice having a colored screen with multi-touch capabilities. Something that the Amazon Kindle and Nook do not have. However, when you consider it as a computer it is lacking. Because it only has the iPhone OS you can only download and install iPhone applications.

Now that isn’t to say that there won’t be applications made to give it more functionality because there will be, just not yet. We have seen the iPhone grow into the greatest phone and we will most likely see the iPad grow into the greatest tablet. But I could be wrong.

So why would it be great for a photographer. Lets look at it like this. Photographers that travel a lot typically carry a laptop and backup equipment like a MemoryKick. So what if you didn’t need to carry both? What if there was a way to transfer all of your camera RAW/DNG files to the iPad? Well, it looks like Apple has thought about it, but not yet all the way through. Apple also announced a bunch of accessories for the iPad like “iPad Camera Connection Kit” which plugs in to the dock at the bottom of the iPad and you have your choice of either a USB port or an SD card reader. Now you can plug your camera or SD directly into the iPad and most likely the photo application will download the images. But will it work with RAW/DNG files? We don’t know yet. However since the iPad can grow into the greatest tool most likely someone will design an application that will do just that. Also, most likely someone will design accessories to accept UDMA Compact Flash cards. Making more sense now?

Another accessory that Apple introduced is the Keyboard Dock.  This could either travel with you or be left at home but it will keep your iPad charged and also give you a physical keyboard for the times that you will need to write a long blog article or something.  How can that expand?  The iPhone version of Photoshop can now have keyboard shortcuts added to its functionality to give you the ability to edit photos on the fly wherever you are without lugging heavy laptops around.  Can you say iPhone Mobile Lightroom?

Going back to accessories, what if the dock itself had a multi-card reader.  That way you can charge the iPad and import your photos at the same time.  The speed of importing is important but not vital to making it work in the way I explained.

One frustration I have with the iPad is the data plan.  The Amazon Kindle does not have a data plan as it is built in.  I understand that the data usage would be much more with the iPad so no need for justification.  Just one of my dislikes about the device.  Having wifi built in does make up for it for the most part.

Another frustration would be the lack of camera facing the user.  If I am traveling and want to Skype or iChat there should be a way to video chat.  Not having it isn’t very nice!

In Jeff Revell’s new post “Apple iPad – Is It A Game Changer?” he mentions the use of OnOne DSLR Remote on the iPad could be incredible. He also talks about how having an eyeFi card that went straight to an iPad would be really handy. These are so very true!

So with all that said, you get my point.  The options are now there thanks to Apple.  We will see where it goes from here.

How do you feel about the new iPad?  Will you be purchasing it right away?  Waiting?  Please share your thoughts by commenting.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!


(all images from

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Unless it actually can read and display raw it is USELESS to a photographer+ most of 'em use a laptop anyway, so they can edit "if" they want it.

  2. I was going to say the same thing. I doubt it will display RAW photos, maybe an application will be developed that can, but the default app, I would be very surprised if it did.

  3. That is my point. It doesn't display RAW files but with 3rd party support it could.

  4. and most likely someone will develop an app to do just that.

  5. What about the flash memory size? I think the biggest one will have 64GB, that's not too much if you want to upload your (RAW) images to iPad. Also not sure if you can connect USB and card reader at the same time. If yes, it would be nice to have a possibility to transfer files from your storage card to your USB HDD via iPad.

  6. Flash memory wouldn't be a problem because there are services for online backup even from the iPhone so I'm sure it will exist for the iPad as well.

    Connecting a card reader to the “camera connection kit” most likely wouldn't work but someone could design a card reader that connect right to the dock connection of the device just as I stated. The options are endless.

  7. Loading songs off a CD doesn't seem possible at this time , so I guess you have to buy music from the istore . But what about all your music on existing CD's not loaded ? The wireless charge from ATT is great and will save me money because I now use Verizon at 60 per month . I might by 2 one for wife so she can have her own and pay the same as one with Verizon wireless on regular notebook

  8. Hi Scott – Just came from the apple store, and we looked up the deal with RAW files. The camera connection kit says it "supports" raw files as well as jpegs. The salesperson (who's still learning about the ipad) took that to mean we will be able to view them as well as store them on the machine. I know iPhoto does display raw images, so maybe, just maybe, we'll be in luck with the ipad. The connection kit also has an sd card reader, which is cool, but it is unclear to me whether we can transfer files other than photo files from that. So….do you have one yet? : )

  9. Hey Jacki,I haven't purchased one. I'm going to wait until the next version most likely. It's only a matter of time until they add on more features :-)

  10. hey that’s really cool..but still i think i’ll wait for the next version which will have some improvements.. hope so ;)

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