When the iPad was announced a lot of people wondered what it was for. Why carry a giant iPod touch with you instead of a small laptop? When Apple later unveiled the updated MacBook Air a lot of people asked the same thing. But the iPad is still flying off the shelves and people love the machine.
But if you're still wondering why the iPad is good I did some snooping. Actually I've asked non-leading, weird, questions to every iPad user near me for close to two years just to understand the behavior. And I think I've solved it.
Why the iPad feels wrong for real work Some people will tell you the iPad does multitasking and that it works great. That's just not true. It does uni-tasking and great app switching.
The difference is it really forces you to focus on one thing at a time. I have no problem switching between apps to get stuff I need to send or reply to that email with facts from simplenote etc. But you can't have all that on the screen at the same time like you are used to.
This makes people believe it's hard to use for work. Simply because they have to relearn their entire workflow. The desktop experience simply doesn't translate to the tablet and it makes people feel less efficient.
Why the iPad is awesomee The iPad actually makes you more effective. Not efficient. You won't be doing things at the same speed as you do on a desktop, and that might frustrate you. But it'll also force you to think about what is most important. Usually, in both my experience and my sneaky interviews, making the end result better.
The iPad really does almost everything a desktop computer does. So far I've found two things it doesn't do as well as a desktop:
- Create graphics, the iPad simply cannot compete with Adobe Photoshop and a mouse.
- Formatting text. Yes I'm serious. You can do it. But it takes forever.
The second thing the iPad doesn't to really do highlights the efficiency vs effectiveness problem. It doesn't format text well. But is that really what you should be doing? Yes a well formated document looks a lot more professional than a poorly formatted one. But the content is really the important thing, right? And seriously, you could've made a template for those visual documents years ago.
Don't worry though, there's probably an app for that.
The ending was intended as sarcasm and not rampant fanboyism. Though I probably am a rampant fanboy of Apple's take on design.