I posted a little while back about the importance of owning and using an iPhone/iPod Touch/Android Device to showcase your portfolio when you’re out and about. Well, add the iPad (or any other tablet device for that matter) to the list, because I have a feeling this sort of presentation method is going to catch on.
When I told my wife I was thinking about getting an iPad, she wasn't surprised - but she didn't really know why I wanted one. She thought I just wanted one to play games and surf the Internet while she was watching terrible reality TV shows - which was partly true - but those were just the side benefits of having one. I wanted it for a presentation device. I want to put my portfolio in a potential client's hands and let them swipe through my portfolio at their pace. Sure, you could have them 'click' through it on a laptop, but an iPad is more interactive and holds their attention in a different and, I think, better way. No plugs, no arrow keys - just an intuitive touch-based interface.
So that's in-theory, what about in-practice? I went to a coffee shop on Monday evening to meet with a couple about photographing their wedding, I showed up about 10 minutes early, sat down next to two complete strangers, got into a conversation, 5 minutes later they had already cruised through my entire portfolio and asked for my business card. The key differences between the iPad and a laptop presentation is, a) the iPad isn't threatening and, b) doesn't turn me into a salesman in the same way a laptop does. The laptop is a complicated device, the iPad is an intriguing device. The laptop presentation requires thought and motivation to produce a slideshow, the iPad allows you to give a presentation on-the-fly, if you even want to, that is. I’m not on display when people look through my portfolio on the iPad, my portfolio is.
I'm advocating that you consider the iPad for your business, but at the same time, I'm suggesting any tablet device that allows you to present your work in this fashion, the iPad currently happens to be the one I decided to go with. Another reason to give this presentation method some serious thought is the fact that our competition will probably be doing the same thing.