iPad 2 Preview – A Business Video Solution?

The iPad 2 is coming out this week, and there’s a great deal of news and debate on what the new version has and what it doesn’t especially with its video functionality and new apps. Below, I’ve shared my own “preview review” on whether or not the iPad 2 can function as a good mobile business video studio – either as a standalone solution or to complement to your current business video activities.

Review criteria for the iPad 2 as a mobile video solution

Because there’s so much that can be covered, I’m breaking apart my review into two days.

Part 1

  • Mobility
  • Video browsing & viewing
  • Video viewing
  • Video project management
  • Video chatting
  • Video capture

Part 2

  • Video shooting
  • Video editing (w/iMovie)
  • Video asset management
  • Video presentation
  • Video sharing
  • Video exporting
  • Video uploading and distribution

Mobility & Simplicity

One of the biggest hurdles marketers face in producing video is the perceived time and complexity involved. So kudos to Apple for even attempting to give us a “360-video experience” in a single device and for doing it in a way that makes production simple and fast.  Before these tablet devices, there really wasn’t any single device that could work appropriately as a standalone video studio. (While the iPhone technically can do most of these things, its small screen is too problematic for serious workflow, hopefully a shortcoming the iPad 2 might be able to overcome.)

Technically, the iPad 2 does have all the components to make a mobile video production studio, all in one piece of hardware with integrated software and 3rd party apps. It loads up immediately. Users can point and shoot.  They can automatically save video files into an iMovie app video editing program. Finally, it’s possible to use the tablet to upload video directly to video-sharing services (like YouTube) while multitasking.

Video project management

You can either go the app route or use an existing web-based platform. While I couldn’t find any apps specifically for video project management on the iPad, some like eTask Project provide a good balance of simplicity, features, and team member project coordination. What it doesn’t have is an uploading and hosting area for your videos, something which limits its utility relative to web-based solutions that also allow for team members to better collaborate and review your video content.

Video browsing & viewing

Using the tablet to watch videos is essential of course. The device comes with a faster graphics processor and a faster Safari web browser, which means faster loading of video both residing on your device and on the Web.

As Foxnews.com reports, “This new baby is fast… Apple slapped a new dual-core processor inside, which basically means faster web surfing, better game playing, and slicker video viewing. Everything just works better.”

What the iPad 2 still lacks along with its predecessor is Flash support, which was purposely done in favor of HTML5 and H.264 multimedia (video) format. However, there are reports that a brand-new tool from Adobe Labs, named Wallaby, will help with this issue. PCMag.com says this about Wallaby: “The free, cross-platform desktop application, available today, makes transforming Adobe Flash files into iOS-appropriate HTML5 as easy as drag and drop.” Other services like the Skyfire web browser are supposed to automatically transcode Flash content into HTML on Skyfire’s servers.  This is not a perfect solution, of course; however it is a workaround if you need to view Flash content on a certain website when using your iPad.

Video chatting

The iPad 2 includes the new video chat app, FaceTime, for use with its new built-in cameras: a front facing VGA camera and a 720P HD rear facing camera; both can be used with FaceTime. FaceTime can capture and transmit excellent quality video chats over a decent wifi connection – when two people have their own iPad 2 devices, of course. While not yet available for 3G connections, rumors are that this feature may be available in the not-too-distant future.

What I really want to see are two things: The ability to switch the viewing to a graphic or running video (like you can do with Skype on a desktop/laptop), and the ability to have a saved recording of a video chat, and use that saved footage for editing.

Video capture

As of this point, there’s no information on whether the iPad 2 can perform a screen capture of video running on the device and save it as a movie file for later editing. There also appears to be no video capture plugins available to go along with the Skype video calling app, like what already exists for the Mac/Windows desktop/laptop computers.

Coming up next time…

I review the iPad 2’s cameras and video recording features, its video editing software, its presentation and sharing features, its video asset storage and management, and its exporting and uploading features. You’ll learn not only why I say the iPad 2 has the potential to be a mobile video studio for business, but also why I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.