I haven't had a chance to use one of these yet, but the ad looks great. In fact, it looks like a useful tool for genealogists for some applications, but not for everything. The iConvert Scanner for iPad saves digital copies of scanned documents to an iPad's photo library. Being portable, it is useful for use in libraries, archives, or when visiting a cousin who has family documents in his or her possession.
Click on the image to the right to see a larger picture.
The iConvert Scanner works both with the original iPad as well as the newer iPad 2 tablet computer. The iPad is placed into the dock on the top of the scanner. The free iConvert software is launched and documents fed into the front feeder slot can be scanned and will appear instantly on the iPad's display to be saved as JPEG images in the device's photo library. The scanned images can then be copied to a desktop or laptop computer at a later time or even sent immediately by email if an Internet connection is available. You also can edit the scanned image using any of the available iPad image editing apps.
The iConvert's feeder slot can take documents from 2 to 8.5 inches (5 to 21.6 cm) in width and almost any length. It will scan at up to 300 dpi resolution. The scanner is compact enough to not take up much room in a bag and appears to be battery-powered. I am not sure how long the battery will last before it needs recharging.
The biggest drawbacks of the iConvert Scanner appear to be:
1. It scans individual sheets of paper. It is useless for scanning books or any oversized documents.
2. The paper being scanned is pushed through the device by rollers. You won't want to use this for any old or delicate documents. I am sure any archivist or librarian in charge of old documents will not allow this to be used on anything that is fragile. I suppose you could first take a photocopy of the document and then scan that copy, but that defeats the entire purpose of being portable. You could always take the photocopy home and scan it there with a desktop scanner.
Of course, there are advantages as well. For instance, I presently have a competitor's portable scanner and I use it for scanning all sorts of things, both genealogy-related and other purposes also. I scan almost all incoming bills in order to keep records before I pay the bills using my bank's "pay bills online" service. (I never send checks in the mail because checks are frequently stolen from the mail. Paying bills online is much safer.)
Storing bills digitally takes up almost no space at all and makes the bills instantly available at any time in the future. Since I am about to throw away the paper copies anyway, I could care less if the rollers in the device create minor damage to the original paper. I find scanned images of all my bills to be very convenient at tax time.
Of course, you could use a digital camera instead to convert hard copy documents to digital. The results of a camera-generated image will suffice for many uses. However, a camera needs to be positioned at a distance from the subject, you won't end up with a 1:1 digital copy that doesn't have at least some distortion. Depending upon your needs, that may or may not be an issue.
Consistent lighting and a steady hand are other problems when going the camera option. The scanner should provide more reliable results. It also has the advantage of immediately displaying the scanned image on the iPad's large screen while a camera will only display on a tiny screen or else you have to copy the image to a computer of some sort to view a larger image.
All in all, I'd assume the iConvert Scanner will be a useful tool for some purposes, but not for everything.
Brookstone is currently taking orders for the iConvert Scanner for iPad at US$149.99 with a listed shipping date of about two weeks from now: February 1st, 2012.
For more information, look at http://goo.gl/df8Ig or watch the video at http://youtu.be/THWeITO8nSI or click on the image below:
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