The iPad and the Kindle

Since I installed the iOS 4.2 Beta on my iPad, which allows for multitasking and folders, I’ve been pushing it as far as it can go as a work machine. Now that navigating between apps is much, much smoother, I can actually keep an IRC window open at the same time as writing email and scanning Twitter; and with apps like Dropbox and Evernote, I can have access to all of my documents, even offline. Here are some major show-stoppers though:

  • Google Docs editing: I do practically all of my word processing in Google Docs now, and while there are apps that allow for Google Docs editing, I worry that they’ll mess up my formatting. Without the ability to easily and reliably edit my Google Docs, I’m pretty limited; thankfully, a powerful iPad update is coming soon.
  • Better Keynote: I frequently take my laptop to conferences just to plug it into a VGA cable and run a presentation; the rest of the time, I just use my iPad. The problem with the current Keynote iPad app is that it doesn’t support custom fonts, and it doesn’t convert ‘proper’ desktop Keynote files perfectly – and it needs to be perfect if I’m at a conference or presenting to a client. When Apple sort this out, my back will be very thankful.
  • Skype: We use Skype an awful lot at work; apparently they’re working on an iPad app but I’m not holding my breath.
  • Better file management: I agree that we don’t need to replicate the full filesystem from desktops, but almost anything would be better than the undifferentiated mush that is the iOS file system. Apple – just buy Dropbox and get it over with. Either that, or make MobileMe free.

It’s a pretty short list, all things considered, and I’m impressed how the iPad seems to be increasing in utility slowly but surely with every new iOS update and app. I very rarely go to meetings without it now.

I also saw the new Kindle for the first time today, and it’s smaller, thinner, and lighter than I thought it would be, which is pretty incredible given all of the adverts pushing those very attributes. The contrast on the display is really excellent as well, although the page turn lag is as (initially) irritating as usual. Amazon have a winner on their hands here, but they need to get it into the public’s hands as well, so more people will have the same reaction as me.

Unfortunately, they don’t have any ‘Amazon Stores’ and I don’t see the Kindle being sold in bookstores or electronic outlets, meaning that the uptake of this device will take longer than it really should.


One Reply to “The iPad and the Kindle”

  1. Re: Better File Management – agree, but Dropbox isn’t the solution. Dropbox has all the same problems of traditional file systems (hierarchies!) and only adds cloud syncing.

    The iOS file management needs to develop more along the lines of iPhone and iTunes, where you have a single “library” of all your content of the same type (self-captured photos and videos in iPhone, published music/movies/books in iTunes), which you can browse, filter and search in different ways – no need to think about where you put something.

    I don’t know how it works with the iOS version of Keynote, Pages and Numbers, but presumably they are stored as application-specific data (only accessible within that application, unless you export/share), rather than libraries accessible via other apps?

    Have you ever seen the one-laptop-per-child user interface (which is called Sugar?). They pioneered the anti-filesystem, in some ways, and their solution is activity-centric, treating everything as an activity (such as editing a document, creating music), which is then saved to the “Journal”, which acts as a timeline of your activity, as well as a list of activities (‘files’) which can be filtered/search and resumed (‘opened’). Possibly a little too child-orientated for the iPad, but interesting nonetheless.

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