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.


Neil said...

I found your blog while looking for a comparison b/w PP and Prezi. That was a terrific post. I recently got an iPad and blogged about my experience with it the first 24 hours. Agree with most of the points you make in your post. It is a great device for browsing media. Entering data or creating content is not its forte. The locked down status also bothers me, I want to do more with it than Mr. Jobs would allow us to.

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Leslie Carr said...

You asked whether we are up against genuine technical limitations of the device or a malevolent commercial strategy?
Perhaps it is just too early in the product development cycle to have all our requirements satisfied!