November 14, 2010

Is iPad for Me?

ipad and my pad 8/2/10
As I wrote in my last post, I have borrowed an iPad from my writing project, and I've been looking for uses related writing and the classroom. It's left me a little disappointed at times, but I am interested in deciding if it's an investment for me. I'm going to need to get a new computer sometime in the near future. Although I can get a PC a lot less than a Mac, I will be going with the latter. But wouldn't it be nice to simply get a iPad?

Okay, so although I haven't found a lot of use for the iPad in the way I hoping to, it's not like I've left the thing sitting around unused. Are you kidding me? It's a blast to use, particularly for the general kind of web reading and surfing I do. I can comfortably sit anywhere and read my feeds, check out the gossip on Facebook, and Stumble until I start to lose brain cells. It's so much lighter than my (also borrowed) 15-inch MacBook Pro, which has a dying battery and needs to be plugged in quite a bit.

I love, love, love the touch screen interface. It just feels so...zippy! And maybe a bit like Star Trek...

Besides catching up on blogs I enjoy, Stumbling, and Facebook lurking, I also enjoy playing with my pictures in Flickr and Picnik quite a bit, and I'm trying to get back into being a better blogger again. However, blogging is not a joy on the iPad, especially without an external keyboard. Perhaps if I weren't so verbose... In Blogger, it's especially frustrating, but I recently figured out that I have to switch to HTML blogging if I want it to work. So, I guess it might be something I could handle. I still prefer typing on my laptop, though. Having to use the HTML tab just isn't as user-friendly. I could guarantee you that if I were using the HTML right now, there would be no hyper links in this post. And that's not even fancy! I'm too lazy to type the code--OH! And plus, I haven't figured out how to paste a URL from another window yet (Uhm, where's the C and V?), so being able to work around with 7 windows open, looking up and pasting information is not as easy. Blogging from

Viewing Flickr is beautiful because the quality of the screen on the iPad is amazing. Of course, it can be used as a digital picture frame, and many people use it to read ebooks, so of course, Flickr would be expected to be fun. However, not only do I like to upload my pictures, I also like to tweak with them a bit with Picnik. Unfortunately, it uses Flash. iPad doesn't do Flash. That's really too bad because I could really get into uses the touch screen to edit my photos. I would love to make photography more tactile again! This Flash issue has been ongoing for iPod and iPad, so this argument is fairly common against the products. I didn't see where it affected me too much outside of using Picnik except when I was Stumbling. It's just a shame that such a cool device doesn't do it all like I would expect.

Because I'm using a borrowed iPad, I think I am more cognizant of the cost of using the iPad than serious Apple lovers might be. You see, the more I use the iPad, the more I see that I really need to purchase apps and accessories for it to be the perfect tablet for me. Thus, the iPad probably works best as a personal device. (This is a point that probably goes better on yesterday's post.) But it is driving home the point of how much this thing could cost. Now, the iPad I'm using does not have a 3G plan with it. My friends who have an iPad pay for the service; I think it's around $30/month. Not bad, but it is really worth it?

The cost of using the iPad was driven home this weekend as I prepared to take it on a trip.
I'm going to the National Writing Project Annual Meeting this week. I attended a few years ago, and as a good technie person (it's my focus at our writing project's site), I lugged my laptop with me. As nice as it was a few times, it was just too heavy and bulky. I didn't take so many notes that I couldn't just write them down in a notebook. I decided that it didn't matter that I was the tech liaison now, there was no way I was taking my computer.

Oh, but I have the iPad now! Sweet! I do have a wireless/bluetooth keyboard that I don't use very often. (I should because the project paid $69.00 for it.) It's a little funky because if the keyboard and iPad are both flat on a table, the iPad's screen is hard to see. If I'm balancing things on my lap, it's even more awkward. My friend has a keyboard dock that makes more sense for the same price. I haven't decided if I'm taking the keyboard. The real issue is that if I am to take note--do any type of word processing--I need an app to do so. I suppose Pages is the way to go, but it is $10. If I were serious about tools that produce work, I might investigate using iWork instead for a whopping $79. Ha ha!

Since I'm not really wanting to spend a lot of my own money, and I like the budget way, I thought, "Hey! I bet there will be wi-fi available! I could just use Googledocs!" Am I brilliant or what? Can you believe that such a slick made-for-the-web machine does not work with Googledocs? Insane! Apparently it has something to do with Safari. The consensus out there is that iPad is indeed not compatible with Googledocs, yet people are begging for it to be. I've seen a few people who have a it-kind-of-works work around, some of which use another app, costing around $10.

I like technology that just works. I don't want to have to figure out a way to get it to work. I have needs. They are not unusual. They should be met. How are it is that, technology developers?

You know...I've been around the Internet boards a lot reading how people are figuring out how to get things to work with iPad. Oh, there's a tweak here or an app there. Can't get information onto or off the iPad because there are no USB ports, CD drives, or connectors? You know you can can what you need from iTunes, or maybe you should visit the Apple store for some more accessories.

And this is where I started to get pretty disillusioned about iPad...maybe even iPhone and iPod, too. The base price is pretty stiff, and then one has to keep putting more and more money into it.

If I had $500, I'd get the low-priced iPad just for the fun of surfing the 'net. I would not be willing to pay for the top of the line model for $829 because for between $1,000-1,300, I could have a (smaller) MacBook, and I know for sure that a MacBook could serve my needs--as it's been doing for the last 7 years with minimal frustration.


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