Thursday, April 8, 2010

iPad - A PC Buddy

So it's day four (4) with the new gadget and along with the countless others that have reviewed the iPad I figured I would make it one more.

I am looking at the iPad from a business perspective, somewhat similar to the iPhone: can/should a business look at adopting the iPad? What have I found to be effective in my normal day in life as a CEO?

Waiting for the 3G? You will have to buy another data plan; the sim card in the iPad is a micro version, smaller than your iPhone. I was hoping I could switch sim cards, when using the iPad and not iPhone.

Typing. Hmm, lots of people are giving the iPad a thumbs down on typing; however, I typed this blog on my iPad. One thing you definitely need if you are going to type is the iPad case, $39. The case fits your iPad very nicely, and has a flap that folds under it, positioning the iPad at a 30' position for your hands to type (it also doubles as a picture frame). You cannot rest your hands on the key pad, but it helps in typing still. If you have typed on your iPhone before, the iPad is 100 times better!!

Tablet? Nope. It's not even close. I have a colleague that has been using a tablet PC for years and we both agree, if you want a working tablet the iPad is not for you. Others are referring to the iPad as a tablet PC; this is definitely not the case. In fact, when you first get the iPad you have to connect it to iTunes; it cannot "be useful" by itself.

First, it needs a buddy to work; you have to connect it to your PC before you can start to use it.

Second, you cannot access file shares or network drives; the only way (besides e-Mail) to transfer files is through iTunes.

Third, for those looking for handwriting recognition, it's not included. There are some apps that claim to do it, but the reviews are pretty poor. Also, the iPad doesn't come with a stylus (of course) so writing with your finger is a little awkward.

Video out. I purchased the VGA adaptor for the iPad, and was disappointed in a few things.

First, the video out doesn't display your entire iPad; only certain apps were written to output to the VGA adaptor.

Second, when using an app that does display via the VGA adaptor, the screen goes black, therefore you cannot see what you are displaying. I am also an adjunct professor and this really sucks for interactive presentations. On the bright side there is a built in laser pointer; if you hold down your finger, a red dot appears--pretty cool.

Pages, Keynote, Numbers. These applications have been rewritten specifically for the iPad. I am impressed with the functionality of the applications. Clearly when I want to do some heavy lifting with numbers I use my PC with Excel. You don't have to buy these applications to view Word, Excel, PowerPoint or other formats, similar to your iPhone. However, they are necessary if you are going beyond reading a document. One downside to Pages is that you cannot access the menu screen in landscape mode (which is the default with using the case).

Goodbye, Kindles. I haven't read a newspaper in years. I don't watch the news, either (see the Yes book by Jeffrey Gitomer), so I was amazed when I downloaded the USA Today app and read the paper! It is really nice to read and very interactive. In fact, reading anything on the iPad is a dream. When reading legal contracts or SOW I would prefer to print rather than read on my PC screen. Not the case with the iPad.

IPad for Kids. I bought two iPads, in the hopes of giving one to my kids (twins), who are seven. They have iPhones and Macbook Pros, so another Apple gadget would be perfect for them. I let my son use my iPad; the first thing he did was to go visit Club Penguin. "Bummer," he said, "just like my iPhone, I cannot download this thing called Flash". I chuckled; yep, Apple is still trying to figure that one out. Unfortunately this excludes me from moving the kids to the closed architecture of the iPad, which would be easier for them to use and keep up to-date.

Misc. As an FYI you can use the power cord extender if you have other Apple products; you will definitely need this with the iPad. The iPad power requirements are much greater than the iPhone; therefore, it charges really slowly when connected to your PC. Also the standard iPhone charger for your car doesn't work either; not enough juice.

There are no USB ports on the iPad, which again limits the functionality and ability to do "other" things with it.

Apps. The iPad can use iPhone apps, but you will definitely want to use apps tailored specifically to the iPad.

Mail. I am using the iPad for email (Exchange), my University email (Gmail), Calendaring, and of course web browsing. The interface for the email is really nice. I like to position the iPad in the landscape mode (which is how the iPad case does also).

To wrap up, if you are looking for a companion for your PC or a buddy to carry around, then the iPad is for you. I have been carrying mine around, and it is nice to use as described above. Where I used to use my iPhone to browse and access email, I now use my iPad. You definitely will find the iPad next to me at home and work, and if it's not being used by me, someone almost always is touching it.

by Ken Stasiak, CEO, President and Founder, SecureState

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