iPad 3 and the Digital Divide
By: Jason Llorenz
March 8, 2012
Yesterday, Apple unveiled the latest and greatest of it’s amazing devices – its iPad 3. While the reviews are still rolling in, the third-generation in the tablet series, adding 4G LTE capabilities, is expected by all accounts to be another blockbuster for a company that continues to be on the bleeding edge of innovation and design. But most exciting, is what the continued evolution of tablet products, powered by high- capacity networks can mean for access.
Few imagined five years ago the impact Apple would have on the way we access information, play, and work on the web. First with the introduction of the iPhone, then followed by the iPad, Apple has been revolutionizing the way the world accesses information online and on the go. We also can not overstate the significance of smartphones and tablets to making the web mobile and accessible – and the revolutionary, multi- billion dollar application or “app” market they have inspired.
The innovation and creativity to package a pocket-sized computer with a cell phone has spurred unprecedented competition, investment and further innovation from wireless carriers and device manufacturers alike. The “app” market itself, which will be a 15 billion dollar marketplace at the end of this year, has driven a new industry, jobs, and widespread entrepreneurial activity.
Smart devices have lowered the barriers to broadband access and mobile computing for all consumers – especially Hispanics, who trail in home broadband adoption, but remain leading adopters of wireless and tablet devices. In fact, according to data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Hispanics are among the most prolific users of mobile broadband, far outpacing white and African American wireless users.
Now the iPad 3 brings new functionality to a wondrous window to the digital world — with a 4G option. This is good news for Hispanics and others looking for affordability and accessibility in the mobile broadband space, with greater capabilities. What was not possible with smartphones, the tablet now delivers with its larger screen and ample processing power — combined with a wireless keyboard and some other options, we wonder if the iPad should join the category of digital divide killer.
The entire conversation about broadband adoption begins and ends with a business, an individual, or a family’s willingness to invest in digital tools. What the ipad 3 really accomplishes is a furtherance of excitement about what can be done online. Excitement about the app market as a marketplace for emerging entrepreneurs, excitement about the games that a young high schooler could learn to design, and the opportunities provided by emerging healthcare applications are all intrinsic to the conversation about closing the digital divide.
Once we figure out how every k-12 student can access books online, in a web- enabled environment, we will revolutionize the education system as well.
Needless to say, the iPad 3 is a welcome addition to a stellar lineup of mobile computing devices. As we have seen with the adoption of smartphones, the hope is that as the tablet market matures, Latinos continue to leverage this new technology and help close the gap in digital skills that will really make wireless technology the great equalizer.
Jason A. Llorenz, Esq. is Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP). Follow on Twitter: @hispanicttp.www.httponline.org.