Musings on iPad

Here are my personal musings on the iPad….

I succumbed recently to the relentless hype about iPad and started trying one out at work for “business use”. I use an iPhone anyhow so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the environment. The first thing I did is took the device home (once charged and connected to iTunes). The iTunes stuff is a pain by the way, explained well by Paul Hontz which you can read on John Naughtons Blog.

Of course once home it was grabbed by the kids to try out the same games that we play on the iPhone. Which mostly work, some in smaller screen and some don’t work (but weren’t transferred). I haven’t got into the technical details of why some apps work and some don’t and some work in a very small window. It’s a confusing start.

Next I tried to edit some Google Docs on the device. I thought it would be simple and well established (one of the reasons I waited so long to try it out was that I knew that when iPad 2 launched they should have all the kinks ironed out). I found this an interesting landscape because some work (editable) and some don’t. It has improved as before Christmas none were editable (this is to do with the Safari browser and “contenteditable” function apparently). So things have progressed. The problem in my case is that native Gapps Doc format (i.e. older documents created in Google Docs) aren’t editable, whereas newer ones are. The solution is to create new containers and to cut and paste content from the old to the new.

I’ve tried twitter and facebook apps on the device. I like the way the twitter app looks and it’s easier than the iPhone. Entering text is OK but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of the on-screen keyboard and actually I don’t yet find it that much of an improvement over the iPhone. However the iPad has been described as a ‘content consumption’ device and I’d go with that. You can type if you want to but if you’re doing it regularly there is a keyboard that you can buy for it (but then the device becomes less easily mobile?)

It’s early days in my iPad experience but I find that note taking for meetings is better done with my trusty laptop. I think the iPad is great for when you go to conferences and I took it with me to one last month to keep in touch, but I did the same with my iPhone last year so actually it’s no further advantage to me over it as the bigger screen isn’t necessary since I’m only skimming backchannels whilst listening to the presenter and screen size isn’t important. I like reading PDF’s and eBooks and the resolution is good and image fine (I’m only doing it indoors though, wonder what it’s like outside in the Summer?)

I’ll keep investigating this and I’ve yet to try some of the more exotic bits such as voice recording etc. but so far I’m unlikely to stick with it as my device of choice. It’s looking like the Yammer to my laptops Twitter.

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About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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