Although I am seeing more and more potential uses for the iPad as the days go by, there are 4 reasons why I won’t be using one for SCUBA instruction:
- It’s the first generation. Anyone who follows Apple knows you are taking a large risk by purchasing anything from Apple on their first attempt. (Kind of like the 27″ iMac I’ve eyeballed)
If this is the only device you decide to bring to class or out on a dive weekend, do you really want to risk problems to be an early adopter?
- No multitasking. When I teach, I’m often jumping in and out of the presentations to take notes, show other videos or look something up. Relaunching everything doesn’t sound very efficient to me. I can see this being even more of an issue when teaching Instructor Development Courses because I bounce around the various course materials even more.
- No camera. How cool would it be to literally use this as your only device? Snap a photo of your student to keep on file to send with an online PIC when the course is over. As it stands, not only will I not be able to take a picture, I’ll have to carry my digital camera AND a new adapter to get the pictures from my camera to the iPad.
- No PADI/SSI/NAUI/etc app. This isn’t actually a deal breaker, but can you imagine an app that has your instructor manuals, presentations and a PIC entry system all in one?
The iPad is Growing on Me
When I started this list, I had more items, but I’ve come to realize they aren’t true deal-breakers. Of the four items I’ve listed, only two are real potential deal breakers: multitasking and camera. There are plenty of rumors that the iPhone/iPad OS version 4 will allow for multitasking (Jailbreaking has allowed for it for some time), so that just brings it down to the camera.
I think the price, from entry-level to top of the line, is reasonable and I will not be surprised to see a few in circulation as teaching devices within the SCUBA industry.