Getting Down to Business with the Apple iPad

I can’t stop talking about it, I can’t stop writing about it, and yet there it sits in it’s nifty little $30 black case, sleeping. Or I guess technically it would be hibernating. Or is it just OFF? (Reminder to pose question to iPad dev team, who don’t read my blog.)

So here’s the dilemma that faced me this morning as I was heading to a business meeting.

the Apple iPad vs the pad of paper

Well, I have to tell you I went with just the iPad. My notepad was in the car. And I was immediately disappointed by my inability to take meaningful and creative notes on the iPad.

no stylus for the iPad makes note taking a bit challenging

I flipped through several drawing apps I had downloaded. Doodle Buddy, Draw and the free Adobe Ideas. I missed my pen and paper almost the moment I turned on the iPad.

So far here is what I have found to be amazing on the iPad.

1. eBooks. No mystery there. What if you could carry your entire book library in your little device? Kind of like the iPad was to your music collection. No more waiting room boredom, whip out the iPad (Kindle, Nook, Sony -can’t-recall-the-name device) and you are all set. Reading on the iPad is pretty amazing. Highlighting and bookmarking your place is intuitive and fast. And something about the flip of the pages that seems very Bladerunner-like. This is what an electronic book should be like. (All of mine are free versions from Google’s Project Gutenberg.) And of course there is a Kindle app for the iPad so Amazon’s site does not know what hit them. I have a Kindle account with my iPad. Not that I’m going to buy a Kindle book any time soon.

2. Games. Doodle Jump is amazing on the iPad. Shanghai Lite is a cool mahjong interface. The app is free but compared to other mahjong games it is very slick, so I bought the $1.99 additional layouts package. And lastly Frenzic, is a game I have loved on the computer. And on the iPad you begin to see how the non-linear aspects of the touchscreen are going to change things significantly.

3. Netflix. Sure streaming video, playing back full-screen movies on this little device is just plain cool.

4. Facebook. This was my first real use of the onscreen keyboard. Making an entry to my Facebook wall. What’s amazing about the web on the iPad is the ability to re-size the website on the fly with a pinch. I was able to get just the content on screen, no ads, no extra stuff. I could position the annoying right gutter off the iPad all together.

But in the end, it really is just another computer. And the comparison is often not fair.

MacBook Pro vs iPad - not even on the same planet

So I CAN use the same bluetooth keyboard to access both the iPad and the MBP. So it’s not going to be about typing. But there are simply some tasks that won’t translate to the iPad without some effort and perhaps different ways of thinking.

In a recent discussion with our dev team on iPad vs Android one of the developers played with the iPad for a few minutes and declared that he was switching to being and iPad convert. He played with the iPad for a few more minutes. And then something happened. He said, putting the iPad down, “Nah, I don’t really want one.”

One of the anti-iPad enthusiasts said, “See that’s why I think it’s gonna fail.”

Here’s what I told them. It’s just a computer. When you stare into the void of the internet what you see reflected back is …

what you see in an iPad is what you want to see in an iPad

… yourself.


The latest:

The entire Apple iPad coverage can be seen via the iPad-iWay tag.

Other sources of inspiration and iPad evaluation:

Forrester CEO reflects again on the Apple iPad: The IPad Problem: Where’s It Going To Live?

Forrester CEO to other CEOs: Beyond IPad Yadda Yadda

iPad signals the future of software. There are two old software models. The first is where the software runs on your laptop — this is the Microsoft model embodied by Office. The second is the software as a service/cloud model with the software running on a server somewhere out on the Internet — this is the Google and model. I’m simplifying, but in the former, the software runs on a local device. In the latter, the software sits out on the network.

iPad (and the iPhone before it) elegantly combines the two models.  Software on a powerful device seamlessly (that’s the key word) cooperates with services available out on the network.

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