Ah, the world can get back to work - talking about the Super Bowl and Tiger Woods instead of speculating on the Apple tablet announcement.
The new device announced by Steve Jobs today, called the iPad, in simplest form is a large iTouch with additional features including the iBook ereader app. For email marketers, the iPad creates additional opportunities and challenges from a design perspective. From the Apple site:
See and touch your email in ways you never could before. In landscape, you get a split-screen view, showing both an opened email and the messages in your Inbox. To see the opened email by itself, you just turn iPad to portrait, and the email automatically rotates and fills the screen. No matter which orientation you use, you can scroll through your mail, compose a new email using the large, on-screen keyboard, or delete messages, with nothing more than a tap and a flick. If someone emails you a photo, you can see it right in the message. You can also save the photos in an email directly to the built-in Photos app. And iPad will work with all the popular email providers, including MobileMe, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, and AOL.
On the challenge side, the iPad will have a text preview function that allows users to view what appears to be about the first 15-20 words of your email message. As with viewing email on mobile devices and clients with preview panes such as Outlook, optimizing your "preheader" copy and links will be key.
On the opportunity side, the user interface renders HTML emails with images extremely well, as does the iPhone and iTouch email app. So marketers incorporating large, or a number of images in their emails should expect a great experience for their subscribers who add an iPad to their portfolio of email-reading devices.
Stay tuned for more information about the iPad and how it will affect email marketers.