In my 2003 post, I outlined my dream for a wireless device that lawyers could carry with them to display and share their digital documents. These were my specifications
The device would look sort of like the duty rosters on Star Trek the Next Generation except a little bigger-- about 1/8" to 1/4" in thickness and slightly larger than an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper (about the size of a basic clipboard without the clip). It would have a few very simple control buttons (hopefully flat) in the nature of an e-book reader (a power button, arrow buttons to turn pages, etc). Document images could be loaded onto the unit instantly and wirelessly from a notebook PC, a PDA, computer or other tablet. Tablets could be synchronized by the users, so if say four people (you, a judge, a witness and opposing counsel) wanted to look at the same document, you could do that with one person controlling the displays of the other three. The only purpose of this unit is to display and share documents.
That's pretty close to what Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated yesterday. The iPad is not trying to be a full-fledged computer. It has an instant-on feature and a beautiful display. Essentially, the iPad is a big iPod Touch. It has a touch screen that will allow people to surf the web wirelessly, view their photos, videos and other documents. This device has tons of potential for legal practitioners. If it can be integrated with a document management system so that users can take their files with them (to court, to depositions and elsewhere) it would be a revolution. I would love to see an app written that handles stacks of documents like the stacks of pictures in the photo app. If PDFs could be maniupulated this easily, lawyers would flock to this device.
So my new challenge is to the app developers -- WRITE THAT APP!