Thursday, June 3, 2010

Can the iPad replace the laptop? The one-week iPad test!

Stephen Colbert has one. Letterman has one. I've got one too!

But should you get an iPad?

I've been using the iPad for the last week - downloadin' apps and figurin' out how the thing works, mostly - and I reckon that I really do love it.

But do I love it intrinsically, or do I just love the fact that I love it? Forgive me for getting all meta on you: it's what happens after staring at a backlit screen for seven days straight without food or water.

Lappad or iTop?

Regardless of what I think of the iPad, if it is to have any staying power, it has to convince casual and heavy laptop users that there's a better way to do what they're already doing: word processing, presentations, Web surfing, blog posting, tweeting, emailing, and all the other day-to-day stuff.

Creative Communications - the program in which I teach - is earmarked for "going laptop" in 2011 - meaning that every student entering the program next year will be required to bring a laptop computer with them to school, as long as it conforms to the college, department, and IT specs.

The million-dollar question: is an iPad a laptop?

Probably not by CreComm's current definition, because it's unlikely that the iPad will have the memory to edit full-length video, like our media production instructors like their students to be able to do.

Still, the iPad is a pretty incredible way to view video. And life is full of compromises, right? Right!

For instance, we'll be asking our first-year students to buy a 32 GB iPod Touch this coming September (unless they already have an iPod Touch or iPhone), primarily so they can familiarize themselves with the app landscape (appscape?), which is clearly here to stay.

I submit for your consideration: isn't the iPad a pretty good compromise between a laptop and an iPod Touch?

That's what I aim to find out!

The one-week iPad challenge

Next Monday to Friday, I will be using the iPad, and the iPad only, for everything I normally use my laptop to do, which is: blogging, tweeting, creating presentations, writing and editing Word documents, listening to music, and emailing.

Apart from the iPad itself, I will be using these weapons in my arsenal:

1. The Apple iPad keyboard dock:

For easier laptop-style typing.

2. Pages, Keynote, and BlogPress apps:

I'll take the middle row for writing, presentations, and blogging.

To show off my handiwork on a digital projector.

4. The iPhone 3GS

True, the iPad has made the iPhone seem a bit "yesterday," but you still need to be able to shoot pictures and video to post with your blog posts, right? Right!

The iPad has no camera, though it stores pictures very nicely, so using a separate camera (or phone) is really the only way to make your blog posts look loverly. Which I will continue to aim to do.

Monday, Monday

Before Monday, I'll be bringing myself up to speed on all of the most-important iPad apps, and running a few tests, so I know what's what, which is to say: if a bunch of weird crap suddenly appears on this blog, it's not me, it's the iPad.

If suddenly this blog seems more interesting and entertaining: it's not the iPad, it's me.

See you on the other side!


  1. First of all, Im typing right now on my ipad! It is not nearly as difficult to use or cumbersome as pretty much everything Ive read suggests, and everyone Ive talked to has said...I think it's all just a little weird not to "feel" the keys under your fingers but, then again, any kind of proper word processing wouldn't be advised.

    So far my only real complaint google wave support.... :( :(

  2. Sounds like an IPP!

    Since I'm going to be upgrading mine, what kind of laptop are next year's first years required to have? And what's the reasoning for a 32GB iTouch (as opposed to 8GB) - are you anticipating students using them like an external hard drive, too?

  3. This year's first-year students are being asked to buy an external hard drive AND an iPod Touch - the ones starting at 32 gigs have voice/mic options, which makes them great for radio and podcasting in addition to all of the other stuff.

    The idea is that graduating without knowing how apps work - in the communications field - would be a tragedy and travesty! The iPod Touch - an iPhone minus the phone - is the cheapest option.

    We've got some cool plans for using them in the ad and PR courses, and I imagine that J and media production will be onboard as well.

    The laptops don't happen until 2011, so the tech specs will be "TBA" for a while yet.

  4. True, no Google Wave on the iPad. And some people hate that there's no mouse. However, I'm already used to it, and don't mind the keyboard - internal and external - at all!

  5. We both know the mouse has been antiquated for some time now...question is how long will it take that realization to penetrate the marketplace?

    Reading -anything- on this thing is amazing, its so crisp, so...beautiful. No google docs either...apparently safari 4 supports this so hopefully there will be an iPad browser update for that soon....please, mr jobs, please.

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  7. I touched an iPad today, in preparation for buying one tomorrow.

    I was, I admit, a little verklempt.

    Still feeling tingly.

    Typing was no worse than a Blackberry, and I've written long documents on a bb before. Blogging should be easy; dunno why some are complaining about that particular use for it.

    Like many, I was a little surprised by the weight - not heavy, so much as dense, I guess, for its size.

    Graphics were best I've seen on anything, ever. I didn't even notice the lack of a mouse.

  8. In all fairness Kenton, I think you should conduct the experiment sans keyboard. I'll give you the connector and iPhone because those are two things you would still need with a laptop, but the keyboard seems like cheating a bit.

    Let's look at it this way: if you were on the bus and you wanted to use your laptop, you'd just pull it out and use it. But if you were using an iPad it's highly unlikey you would pull out your keyboard peripheral and try using it as the bus brakes, turns, accelerates, and bumps along our fine city's streets. You'd just use what you already have built in.

    If you really want to judge the iPad fairly against a laptop it should be without the keyboard. But it's your call Mr. Objective (Or "Fair and balanced" as Duncan would say).

  9. I'm typing this on an iPad. Just a work of genius all round. Set up was smoother than expected, operation better than expected. Hardly missing the mouse at all.


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