iPad review: the conclusion (and can it replace my laptop?)
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

iPad review: the conclusion (and can it replace my laptop?)



As I wind up my four-part review of the iPad, I must revisit my theory (or maybe it was a hope) that the device could replace both my iPod touch and my MacBook. It will definitely replace the former. As for my laptop, not quite and not yet.

With the revealing of iPhone OS 4, I think the iPad could do just that before year's end. I say this with a caveat: I'm not a road warrior. I do most of my computing on an iMac and will be using my iPad as a Mac companion/Mac complement. If you do a lot of work -- or heavy duty work -- on your laptop, don't plan on trading your MacBook or MacBook Pro in for an iPad.

As I've said before, the tablet device is a great device for media consumption. As a device for creation and productivity, it has a way to go.

Apple offers iPad versions of its iWork productivity apps: Pages, Keynote and Numbers for $9.99 each. I've only used Pages, so I'll use that as my yardstick for getting work done on the tablet device.

First of all, I simply can't use the virtual keyboard that comes with the iPad. Or, rather, I can't use it quickly. Without the tactile feedback from a physical keyboard, I have to look at the keyboard while I type. That's not conducive to writing articles as I do, though it's okay for responding to email and posting short blips on Facebook.

Also, if you're used to the iPhone keyboard, you'll need some adjustment time for that of the iPad. On the iPhone, the Delete key is on the lower right, above the Return key. On the iPad, it’s in the upper right corner, and the Return key is next to the L key. The iPad adds a right-side Shift key.

However, with Apple's US$70 iPad Keyboard Dock or a Bluetooth keyboard, I can write just as quickly and intuitively as I can using Pages on my iMac or MacBook. I love the Keyboard Dock and, though you can use it okay with a lapdesk, its size makes it awkward to put in a carrying bag. If you plan to be writing while on the go, I'd recommend a case that lets you prop up the iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. I have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. It paired with the iPad instantly and worked seamlessly. There was zero delay in the interaction between the keyboard and text popping up onscreen.

As an online tech journalist, I'm constantly moving info between emails, Pages and Safari (where I post articles for this web site). Currently, that's a pain with the iPad. I must copy the info from one app (say, Pages, where I've written an article), quit it, then open another (such as Safari, where I post stories via a content management system). When I get ready to finish or edit another article, I have to quit Safari, open Pages and start the process over. iPhone OS 4's multi-tasking should alleviate this problem, but right now my workflow is much more seamless on my Macs.

Still, I"m not ready to give up my laptop yet for this reason.

Others have complained about the lack of a camera and USB ports on the iPad. I'm betting we'll get a camera (and iChat) on the next rev of the device. As for the lack of USB ports, considering the minimalist approach Apple was going for, this makes sense. But it's another reason why you need a Mac in addition to an iPad.

Speaking of Pages, overall, it's a credible take on a word processor/text editor for a new breed of device. Plus, Pages documents can be attached to e-mails as Word docs. They, in turn, can be downloaded from the e-mail program, opened in Apple software, edited, and re-attached to e-mails with changes intact. There will be some formatting snafus, but, overall, it works pretty well.

You also need to keep in mind that the iWork apps have no Save command. Documents are auto-saved every 30 seconds. There's an Undo command, but if you get carried away and make lots of changes, you may be not be able to revert back to an earlier version of a document. What's more, file sharing via Pages (and, I'd suspect, Keynote and Numbers) on the iPad is a hassle.

As Mac guru Ted Landau has noted, the feature works, but not with the sort of user interface that we've come to expect from Apple. Ted has offered a thorough look at what file sharing entails; you can read all about it here: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/file_sharing_with_an_ipad_ugh/ . He recommends that "for starters, Apple could permit iPad apps to both export documents to and import documents from a MobileMe iDisk. This would make it much easier to shuttle files back and forth between a Mac and an iPad." Amen, brother.

So should you buy an iPad? I have no trouble recommending it as a Mac companion. I don't recommend it as a Mac replacement.

When it comes to ratings, I'd give it 9 out of 10 as a media consuming device, but only 5 out of town for content creation. We'll revisit this again when iPhone OS 4 arrives for the iPad this fall.

 
AAPL
$123.25
Apple Inc.
-0.99
GOOG
$548.34
Google Inc.
-6.83
MSFT
$40.97
Microsoft Corporation
-0.24
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me to grow as a writer and for giving me the opportunity to write about what I love: playing innovative... | Read more »
MLB Manager 2015 (Games)
MLB Manager 2015 5.0.14 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 5.0.14 (iTunes) Description: Guide your favorite MLB franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2015, officially licensed by MLB.com and based on the award-winning Out of the Park Baseball series, is the most fun and realistic baseball game ever created for... | Read more »
Breath of Light (Games)
Breath of Light 1.0.1421 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1421 (iTunes) Description: Hold a quiet moment.Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by Winterpark.BEAUTIFULInspired by modern minimalism combined with a range of meditative art styles, from Zen... | Read more »
WWE WrestleMania Tags into the App Store
Are You ready to rumble? The official WWE WrestleMania app, by World Wrestling Entertainment, is now available. Now you can get all your WrestleMania info in one place before anyone else. The app offers details on superstar signings, interactive venue maps, event schedules, WrestleMania Superstore hours, stadium information, and more. You can also... | Read more »
Bio Inc's New Expansion is Infectin...
Bio Inc., by DryGin Studios, is the real time strategy game where you infect a human body with the worst virus your evil brain can design. Recently, the game was updated to add a whole lot of new features. Now you can play the new “Lethal” difficulty, which chakllenges even hardcore players. If you aren't quite there yet you can still enjoy the “... | Read more »
The Monocular Minion is Here! Despicable...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush, by Gameloft, is introducing a new runner to the mix in their latest update. Now you can play as Carl, the prankster minion. Carl has a few new abilities to play with, including running at a higher speed from the start. Gameloft has also added Eduardo's House as a new area. You'll be able to race through the infamous El... | Read more »
Dungeon of Madness (Games)
Dungeon of Madness 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon of Madness is an action game where you rotate tiles to create our own route. Help the hero by connecting the road so he reaches hostages, then lead them out while also directing monsters into deadly traps.... | Read more »
Filters for iPhone (Photography)
Filters for iPhone 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Games)
Jump'N'Shoot Attack 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A mobile game for gamers! Join Louise Lightfoot, the legendary "Master of Jumping and Shooting", on her mission to save the President of Earth 4 from evil space mutants known as the Xatharr!! Collect items to boost attacks... | Read more »
Space Bounties Inc. (Games)
Space Bounties Inc. 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: SuperGameDroid: 4/5 "Satisfying futuristic RPG combat, high replay value, and a heavy dose of nostalgia make Space Bounties Inc. a worthwhile experience." SlimGamer: 9/10 "From the retro graphics to the pitch-perfect... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.