Not "getting" the iPad
December 03, 2010
A lot of people still don’t understand how the iPad could replace a notebook. Mainly, this seems to be an issue of adopting new habits. Over at TUAW, Steven Sande doesn’t get it.
I have to vehemently disagree with the entire idea that an iPad can be a true laptop replacement in times of need.
That’s funny, because it seems to work alright for some people.
Sure, LogMeIn Ignition and iTeleport are great, and I have them on my iPad. But I try to use them as sparingly as possible and never to do work on my office iMac. Why? Most of the time, I find that even on a fast network, the scrolling required to move around the 27” screen on the iMac is ridiculously slow.
Maybe Sande’s work computer is at an obscenely high resolution, but one then needs to wonder why he didn’t just decrease the resolution before going on his trip (or during, via screensharing itself). Since Sande likes counterpoints so much, he ought consider that we accessed our east-coast Mac Mini running at 1080p resolution, from Greece, via iTeleport without issue, for simple file management tasks.
Trying to type into our content management system here at TUAW over a screen sharing connection is an exercise in frustration; it’s slow and there’s a lag between typing and seeing the text appear on the screen (and the system doesn’t support direct editing in Mobile Safari).
Sounds like this is a TUAW content management system issue and not an iPad issue. We noted ourselves that we regularly write content in an external app, and then cut’n paste into the web-based WordPress app via Mobile Safari. Why would a similar method for uploading blog content not work for Sande? Did he forget that cut’n paste has been available on iOS for some time now?
While I was on my trip, I was spending an hour or two a day working on my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel to make progress on completing it before November 30. The original document was written in Microsoft Word (don’t ask – I write most of my books and other documents in that tool because of force of habit), and neither Documents to Go nor QuickOffice Connect seemed to do the job for me on the iPad. What did I do? Open the Word document in Pages for iPad after pulling it from my Dropbox. Pages for iPad is excellent for this type of writing, but it doesn’t allow me to auto-save the documents back to Dropbox.
There are four obvious solutions for this.
- Change your poor habits in relying on a Microsoft file type.
- Handle your edits on the road, and at the end of your trip, re-upload to Dropbox.
- Once you’re done with your edits, copy/paste into an app that does handle Dropbox.
- Stop using Dropbox and use Mobile Me.
Sure, Dropbox, Elements, and PlainText (as well as other apps) are lovely for writing text files, but I want a real word processor.
It’s curious that, in a world where there’s a clear demand for text editors aimed at writers instead of those requiring layout functionality, that Sande wants a “real word processor.” Since his example here is writing a novel, what functionality in Pages does Sande need so badly that he can’t get in an app designed for writing novels? At least if his complaint was that an app like Ulysses wasn’t available for the iPad, he’d have a more genuine argument.
…until there are real apps that work just like the big boys (Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote and Numbers) and support opening and saving in Dropbox, a laptop is still going to be the best way to do real work anywhere.
Unless we missed something, Sande’s example apps don’t save to Dropbox natively, either. And really, why dismiss the iPad based almost exclusively on the habit of using a single third-party service, when Apple offers a competitor that works better for Sande’s purposes?
If I have to carry an iPad and keyboard with me, why don’t I just carry a MacBook Air around?
Because chances are, you’re not using both the iPad and keyboard all the time. For most people, even half the time. Wouldn’t you prefer flexibility than being forced to schlep a keyboard around whenever you want to surf the web, check your mail, watch a movie, or play a game?