The latest Apple tablet rumors rang true this morning with the official announcement of a 128GB version of the fourth generation iPad, twice the capacity of the current 64GB high-end of the iPad capacity scale. The new tablet will go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 5 for US$799 with wi-fi and US$929 with cellular and wi-fi.
Even with the benefits of a cellular connection, the higher-priced $929 version of a 128GB iPad is only $170 cheaper than the 128GB, 11-inch MacBook Air priced at $1,099. Among other things, the extra $170 buys the familiar OSX with high-powered editing apps and trackpad/mouse navigation.
So why should photographers bother getting the new iPad when you can get a full MacBook Air for just $170 more?
The iPad offers a full retina display screen for super high resolution photo viewing as well as cellular capabilities to send photos whenever Internet access is unavailable. With devices like PhotoJojo’s iPad Card Reader, photographers can easily upload their images from a Micro SD card, SD card, or USB port. iOS photo editing apps like Snapseed and Adobe Photoshop Touch can perform high quality edits on an iPad, and the App Store offers an additional 300,000 native iPad apps.
Even with significantly higher storage capacity, the newest version of the iPad may still come with drawbacks for the serious photographer. The device may struggle to offload images from memory cards larger than 4GB. And while the iPad will allow for the download of RAW files, it does not support the myriad translators needed to properly manipulate the formats.
Tech writer Jeff Carlson wrote a 238-page book about how the iPad can be used by photographers. “The iPad for Photographers” (a chapter on editing can be downloaded for free here) explores how to import, organize and edit photos as well as how to use an iPad in a studio environment.
Carlson admits that while the iPad is an excellent device, is not a replacement for detailed photo editing in a studio. Instead, he uses the device as a tool to view, sort, and edit photos for social media while traveling.
Let's hear from you: Do you use a tablet for your photography? If so, how does it fit into your workflow? If you don't have one yet, will a 128GB version of the iPad persuade you otherwise?