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
$126.44
Apple Inc.
-0.16
GOOG
$523.40
Google Inc.
+1.56
MSFT
$44.40
Microsoft Corporation
-0.04
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

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

Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back on the number of events it holds. | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! ***“Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable level design.”4/5 – Hardcore Gamer"A retro platformer that sets itself apart with the protagonist’s... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some primers on how to get started and what to expect. [Read more] | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice, Vapor, have stolen the Emerix - a powerful amulet and all hope may be lost! Created by Picomy. Published... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
TapMon Battle (Games)
TapMon Battle 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's time to battle!Tap! Tap! Tap! Try tap a egg to hatch a Tapmon!Do a battle with another tapmons using your hatched tapmons!*How to play*Complete the limited taps before time expires.Be careful! If you tap a newborn tapmon,... | Read more »
Alchemic Dungeons (Games)
Alchemic Dungeons 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ### Release Event! ### 2.99$->0.99$ for limited time!### Roguelike Role Playing Game! ###Alchemic Dungeons is roguelike rpg game with crafting systems!You can make Items from materials!To conquer dungeons, use items... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.