This may not be news for many of you, but I am interested in the impact of iPads on work (I guess football qualifies) so I did a little research to see how far this all goes.
Dallas has already issued iPads to all players and will use them both as playbooks and for film study. The Skins are right behind, using the same app developer as Dallas and plan to issue the iPads at training camp. Philly are "hoping to use them this year" and the NYG's have no plans to introduce them (can't imagine Coughlin is on the cutting edge of technology...)
iPads were adopted for the first time last year by the Ravens and Bucs, wth the Falcons following closely behind. Per an article on NFL.com, Dallas is in a fast follower group - along with Arizona, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, GB, Indy, Miami, NO, Seattle, St Louis and the Skins. Browns are using for film study only. So exactly half the teams are using the iPad in 2012. I have to admit to a little disappointment that the Cowboys, so long an NFL innovator, weren't in that front group.
There was an article specifically on the Cowboys use of iPads in May. They are using an app from Global Apptitude, who designed the Ravens app, and seemed to be supplying about half the teams. Their website has virtually nothing on it, but there is a little bootleg looking video clip from Foxsports that shows the Ravens app in use. There is also an article from the London Telegraph, that shows some apparent screen shots and provides a bit of an overview of the app.
It seems security concerns have held a number of teams back, which I find crazy, given an iPad playbook can be encrypted, tracked and wiped remotely - not easy feats to achieve with a 5 inch paper playbook. But it does seem its been the NFL itself that has held things back - it was not until Oct 2011 that teams were given freedom to issue playbooks how they wish. And they will not be allowed on the sidelines during games (surely they have to be more efficient than the printed shots you see players leafing through?). I am sure they won't hold things back for long.
Its not hard to understand why teams would switch to iPads, especially when you read the John Elway story about the bags of Beta video tapes he would take home every week. One of the alternative products has a breakdown of the features their app offers. But too me the biggest advantage is to accelerate the learning of the players, particularly those whose ability to learn plays from paper may be limited - they can now see video that accompanies the play to show exactly how it should be executed. I suspect this was the major driver for JG - in fact the Cowboys article specifically mentions the ability to enhance learning, with a accompanying quote from Sean Lee.
The program fuses print and video - allowing coaches to insert the schematic drawings of plays along with accompanying clips demonstrating how the plays should be properly executed.
For players who can't conceptualize the plan simply by reading pages filled with arrows, circles and letters, this technology creates a new avenue toward comprehension.
"To be able to see it and have that imagery of it, that just makes it easier to learn," said Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. "I think guys will pick stuff up quicker. I think it's just another tool we can use to become better football players."
It should also ease the burden placed on coaches and their assistants. After all, Playbook is bundled with several subsidiary apps, including a calendar designed to help teams build a daily schedule and a quiz generator that allows players to be tested on the material they are taught.
All the more to convince me that JG is doing the right things, for the right reasons. And that the iPad is going to generate great change in how we work, learn and play. I saw a quote 12 months ago that if we see corporate adoption of the iPad its going to add $50-70 billion to Apple's market cap. I would say the most valuable company in the world is about to get more valuable...