Two weeks ago, while packing my stuff for what was originally meant to be a short week of work in Vienna, I had a crazy idea: why wouldn’t I try and take with me my iPad to do the work I regularly do with my laptop? The experiment was not that much risky as I thought I had a clear idea of what I needed from my iPad (but I actually had no idea back then of what were the limits of the iPad…).
Fifteen days laters and over a hundred hours spent working on my iPad 2, I realize that though the iPad is an AMAZING multimedia device which can run revolutionnary apps like Flipboard or Wired Magazine* and perfectly satisfy any user with basic expectations (send/receive emails, listen to music, view/edit pictures, browse the Internet, chill-out playing some games, etc) It clearly lacks some of the basic but crucial functionnalities you can find on a laptop.
- forget about formating when working with Excel-like programs: “copy/paste cells?? What the hell is that?!”. Yep, it seems that the guys at Apples had no idea there are people who still actually use Excel-like documents.
- “Mail” is just as useful to send emails as a plastic toy camera for a 4 years old kid is to take pictures. Ok guys. So you thought that you should make the iPad email client easy to use. And let me tell you that you’ve reached your goal: it’s freaking dead easy! So easy that it eventually misses some of the elementary email features even my windows mobile 2005 smartphone used to have. Like copy/paste contacts in the To/Cc/Bcc box (if you paste more than two contacts, it will appear as one contact. I’ve tried all possible options, and there’s no way to paste a full list of contacts directly in the To/Cc/Bcc box). One other thing: where is the “attachement” icon? Could not find it. “Ah, it’s because it does not exist? Ok… Clever indeed.” So when I want to answer an email and add an attachement to it, I have to go to the document, click on “send by email”, copy/paste all the content of the original email in that one + the email address of the persons who sent it to me, and then click “send”. Wow, that’s easy indeed. Thanks God I’m never working with deadlines…
- typing takes twice as much time as when using a real keyboard: it’s not that the keys are too small, it’s just they sometime don’t print what I type (particularly when I use the space bar. But that may be linked to my european-like hands morphology…). And further than giving some weird results, it already put me in some tricky situations, just like when that friend asked me why the hell the email she received started with “Slut” (while I meant to type “Salut”). I know I could buy the iPad’s wireless keyboard, but what for, as in the end, I’d be carrying the exact same amount of stuff in my backpack as when I’m traveling with my MSI netbook?
- client apps limit my user experience: should it be because I want to watch a video on youtube or browse google maps, I always end up HAVING TO use one of Apple’s built in app (like the map and youtube apps). However, that’s not what I want!! Most Apple’s client apps miss some of the cool and necessary features you get with the original one.
- no flash sucks: Question: What happens when you want to upload photos in bulk from your iPad to your facebook profile? Nothing.
You’ll need for that to use third party (paying) apps or send the image from your email adress (5 attachement max. at a time) and then move them to the appropriate folder. Also it happened that many sites I had to browse were in flash; I know that Apple’s fan suggest that since anyway Adobe Flash may one day be supplanted/replaced by HTML5, all websites should now use that technology. My answer is that when 1.2 billion mobile phones are Flash-capable, 70 percent of online gaming sites run Flash, 98 percent of Internet-enabled desktops use it, 85 percent of top 100 Web sites use Flash, 75 percent of all videos use Flash, including Hulu, Disney and YouTube, 2-3-million-person Flash developers community, 90 percent of creative professionals have Adobe software on their desktops (source Mobile Marketer), maybe then the problem has nothing to do with those who use it, but rather with those who don’t!
It just as if France would say: “hey, the problem is not that French don’t speak english; the real issue is that the world don’t speak french!”. Please Steve, wake up…
- no multitasking with an Alt+Tab like shortcut is quite frustrating when working at the same time with different documents, email client and Safari (like anyone does in a regular day @ work).
- but where are shortcuts like Ctrl+f, Ctrl+y o Ctrl+z? Google search anthropologist Dan Russell says that 90 percent of people in a study he conducted, don’t know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page. Well, if you don’t give them a chance to, for sure they won’t use it.
- other flaws of the iPad vs a laptop/netbook have been extensively covered by different publications, such as Silicon or by some dedicated websites like ipadvslaptop. And maybe, in order to fully enjoy form their iPad experience, people will just need to forget what they learned when using a laptop and get simply used to new procedures and habits.
To summarize, using an iPad instead of a laptop to do some “advanced” work stuff (but not much more than the tasks I described above) is a little bit like doing a removal with a mini-cooper instead of using a regular moving van: yes it’s cool, compact, glossy, speedy, fashion and has a lot of features, but in the end it does not really help you with what you really need now: an efficient way to process large amount of things in a little time.
But I’ll tell you what: a friend of mine told me once I was crazy to continue using Photofilte instead of Photoshop to do some proper advanced image editing. Photofiltre OBVIOUSLY lacks many crucial features Photoshops has. But It’s just that I got used to it, and in the end I managed to find a way around to somehow replace Photoshop’s features. And if I managed to do that with a piece of software, there’s probably no reason why I should give up doing the same with this iPad. So stay tuned for more adventure about “me, myself, I and my iPad”.
*Two years ago, Microsoft presented in a video, its “vision of the future”. Among the many innovations showcased in this video, the e-newspaper was to me one of the most impressive; not only because of the folding e-paper technology, but because of the friendliness of the interface and the great user experience we’d get from it. To me, Flipboard and Wired Magazine fall very close to delivering the same experience.
** Post typedusinganiPad. Lease excus, the missingtypo.