The Apple iPad presents a unique opportunity to revolutionize the way that we, as soccer fans, consume our favorite sport.
Some of you may be resistent to the iPad. After all, you may have a laptop and you probably have a mobile phone. So what use cases are there for you to add another device into your life? While it’s not the perfect device for everyone, I do believe that it has the potential to revolutionize the sport.
The iPad is not a replacement for your computer. It’s a media consumption device. It’s a way for you to watch movies, soccer matches and videos as well as listen to audiobooks or podcasts. It’s much more than a giant iPhone. Think of it as television 2.0.
I’m not sure about you, but I often watch soccer games on television with a laptop either next to me or on my lap. I can check scores from other games, look up stats, jot down ideas for blog posts or watch games being televised live at the same time on FoxSoccer.tv. But what usually happens is that the laptop begins to generate a lot of heat, gets uncomfortable and is a pain in the neck to keep opening and closing whenever I need to use it.
With that said, here are 5 ways I believe the Apple iPad can revolutionize soccer:
- Video games. The Apple iPad is a fantastic gaming device. It’s like having an Xbox or Playstation in the palm of your hands. And for software companies, it opens up the possibilities to take popular soccer games from the consoles and port them over to the iPad. Imagine Football Manager, Championship Manager, Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA 10 on an iPad. It’s the perfect size for a game like that. Plus, it’s a lot more portable than lugging a laptop or game station around with you. And it’s easy to share with your friends if they want to join in the experience of playing a brilliant soccer game.
- Watching matches. I originally thought the Apple iPhone would be the ideal technology to get soccer fans out of their homes to watch matches, but AT&T has been resistent to allowing companies to stream content via 3G. Plus the screen size is too small to really enjoy a match. The Apple iPad is a perfectly sized alternative. When you think about it, the size of the Apple iPad screen is very similar to what you’re already used to watching on FoxSoccer.tv, ESPN3 or Setanta-i or any other online platform. I haven’t had a chance to test whether games will work on an iPad on those platforms yet, but even if they don’t, I’m sure they will eventually which will make the iPad the perfect device to take on the road with you when you watch games while you’re on the go.
- Apps and more apps. One of the secrets to the success of the Apple iPhone has been the tremendous number of quality apps available which have made the iPhone even better than it already is — such as iFooty World, EPL Live, Sky Sports Sports Centre, Soccer Manager, Real Soccer 2009 and others. But with the iPad, there’s the potential that developers will create even better iPad apps that will take advantage of the enhanced graphics, audio and processing power that the iPad is capable of.
- Kindle killer. I own a Kindle and I love my Kindle, but the one thing I don’t like about it is that it has no backlight so I can read books in bed, which is usually the only opportunity I get to read. While the iPad may not be a better reading device, it does have the advantage of a backlit screen to allow me to read Soccernomics, The Ball Is Round or other classic soccer books. And with the Apple iPad’s iBook feature, where it shows your virtual book shelf, the number of printed soccer books that people will buy in the future will definitely decline as electronic versions become more popular.
- Online magazines. There’s no doubt that print magazines and newspapers are dying a slow death. But with the Kindle, it gives savvy media companies an opportunity to marry great content with video, audio and advertising to create an online soccer magazine that would be perfect for iPad owners. Imagine Four Four Two or When Saturday Comes in a totally different format.
The Apple iPad enables soccer leagues and clubs to embrace a cutting edge technology, something which is very intimate and easy to use — especially with the multi-touch functionality — and to get it into the hands of soccer fans around the world. It would be, without a doubt, a lot more of an intimate experience and an opportunity for the league or club to form a tighter relationship with the fan. It would take a league or club that truly understands technology and who is able to see the potential that this technology has to make it come true. Let’s hope there are some smart people out there that are already thinking about it.
I envision the Apple iPad as a device that would stay in your home and would enhance your soccer viewing and listening experience on nights and weekends. During the days and when you’re on the road, your mobile phone would be the preferred device. And for those times where you needed to do some “heavy lifting” — running several applications at once, working on a spreadsheet, writing a research paper, etc, your laptop or desktop computer may be more useful.
What are your initial impressions of the Apple iPad and are there particular ways it can be used in relation to soccer that I may have neglected to mention? Share your insight and opinions in the comments section below.