Apple launched the iPad yesterday (watch Steve Jobs present here): a device positioned in between a smart phone and a laptop computer. The big differentiator is a very large screen and a user interface that can be manipulated using the touch of a finger, exactly the same way you interact with an iPhone.

Would could this new device mean for presentations? My first thoughts:
  • The iPad runs the iPhone operating system, which means that you cannot simply port PC or Mac applications on it. Apple announced a version of iWorks (including Keynote) for the iPad, but for now it is impossible to run Microsoft PowerPoint on it.
  • The devices seems like a great presentation tool for one-on-one meetings. A bright, big screen and an informal user interface enable a dialogue-style presentation.
  • The need for an application like Prezi becomes more urgent. Prezi seems made for the iPad: easy zooming in and out of slides, and a non-linear way to move between slides. I have not seen the details of iWorks for iPad, but I assume that Apple is going down the track of creating a Prezi-style user interface for office productivity applications.
  • It would be great if you could use a virtual marker during your iPad presentation: drawing circles to emphasize elements, adding comments, pretty much in the style of the napkin presentation I talked about a while ago.
I am very excited about the iPad. The geek reviews might have found technical imperfections (no multi-tasking for example), but the fundamental revolution is the big touch-based user interface that have brought computing in general and presentations specifically a bit closer to a natural human interaction.