Saturday, 12 June 2010

Seconds thoughts on the iPad

I guess I continue to be delighted and frustrated by the iPad in equal measure.

The frustration is largely due to my expectation - probably misplaced - that the iPad would be more Macbook Pro XS than iPod Touch XL.

The fantastic web browsing experience it offers lures you into thinking that it can do everything a regular computer can do. For example, when web browsing, it's the full-sized pages you view not the mobile version of them. However, log into, say, Blogger to write a post and you'll find you can't edit unless you select the HTML option. There's also no uploading local files to your most-used sites (Facebook, Flickr, Blackboard, Moodle). Eh?

I really wanted the iPad to be the core portable device we use in the staff development workshops we run on various aspects of e-learning. However, its limitations mean this ain't gonna happen and I'll have to think about a more conventional netbook instead.

IS colleagues try out the iPad at a recent staff development event

A few colleagues have rightly commented that you can upload content from the iPad via apps (e.g. the Flickr app, BlogPress etc.). I know that apps are the way mobile technology is going but I don't necessarily think it's the best way to go. A recent Guardian article has highlighted the negatives of this trend - adding $s to the coffers of Apple's iTunes Store and others by making users pay for apps that restore functionality and access to content they once had for free via a browser. Is reading Wired through the iPad app really a better experience than reading it online through Safari?

Why can't I do the stuff I need to do through the iPad's browser? The paradox is that the iPad offers the best mobile web experience of any mobile device via a browser I know and yet it also forces users to find alternatives to the browser to do many things.

Is it a genuine technical limitation of the device or is it informed by a commercial strategy? I don't know the answer but I do know that I'm becoming less, and not more of an Apple fanboy by the day.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Blogging from iPad (iBlogger)

I'm using iBlogger to write this post on the iPad.

It's not a nice experience: portrait mode only and iPhone/iPod Touch screen size which becomes horribly pixelated - inc. keyboard - when enlarged.

The WordPress app offered a much nicer writing experience (see my Twitter blog for an example). I could also insert pictures with the WordPress app - I can't with iBlogger.

So, the app works fine on the smaller Apple devices but is much less satisfactory on the iPad. It needs an upgrade desperately - the TweetDeck iPad app leads the way in this respect I think. iBlogger 2 is due for release soon - here's hoping it's more iPad-friendly.

Mobile Blogging from here.

Blogging on the iPad (BlogPress)

I've just downloaded the BlogPress app for the iPad (£1.79).

Hurrah - we've got landscape mode which makes writing much easier.

I can also add location and tags really quickly. Just as important, I can insert images from my photo library:

It lets you add multiple blogs from all the usual suspects (WordPress, TypePad etc.).

It's my app of the week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Eden St,Kingston upon Thames,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

First reaction to the iPad

I've mixed feelings about the two iPads we've recently purchased.

As a Mac, iPod Mini, Nano, Touch and iPhone owner/user (and Apple fanboy) I obviously think it's a great addition: great-looking and really fast access to the web, email, Twitter etc..

However, my optimistic belief that we could order 6 + and use them in ed tech staff development workshops is beginning to waiver. Although in a workshop I ran yesterday it was well received - "Many thanks for a very interesting session and we all enjoyed it. We are also greatly in love with the I-Pad" - how long can the wow factor last?

Kingston University staff check out the iPad at recent Facebook session

I've argued elsewhere that it feels too limited in what it can do in spite of multiple apps which extend its capabilities. It offers more than an iPod Touch but much less than a cheaper netbook (Asus, Acer etc.) occupying a niche for which I hadn't realised there was any demand.

For example, the iPad doesn't allow me to upload local files to sites I use regularly from what I can see (notice the greyed-out choose file to upload buttons on Flickr screen shot below).

It's the same story with Facebook and with Blackboard and, I expect, other sites too.

Am I being naive and technologically inept in expecting it to be able to do this sort of stuff? After all, it is just a bigger iPod Touch. But I can take pictures on my iPhone and use apps to post them to Flickr or Twitter. Compared to the iPhone, the iPad feels like a massive step backwards into a world of content produced by others for us users to consume.

I'm not at all sure Apple's lean-back media consumption device is much good in education and I don't think I'll be ordering any more for work. However, I may well be unable to resist the temptation to buy one myself for personal couch computing.