I acquired an Apple iPad a few weeks ago and am very impressed with it. Just as background, i’m a PC person (a desktop at work, home, and a Fujitsu P1620 ultramobile tablet, all running Windows 7). My portable computer weighs about 2.5 lbs but the iPad is a full pound lighter and the battery lasts about 10 hours. Less than the Kindle, but much more than my laptop.
Like my previous look at the Kindle, this isn’t a review, but just some thoughts after using the iPad for a few weeks as an academic. To cut to the chase, it’s everything the Kindle isn’t. If you remember from my post on the Kindle, I loved the e-paper screen but lamented the many limitations, the most severe of which was the inflexibility with note-taking and reading PDFs.
That inflexibility I mentioned was certainly felt by the students in the UVA trial:
“You must be highly engaged in the classroom every day,’’ says Koenig, and the Kindle is “not flexible enough. … It could be clunky. You can’t move between pages, documents, charts and graphs simply or easily enough compared to the paper alternatives.’’
Koenig learned of the dissatisfaction from a mid-term survey that concluded with two key questions: Would you recommend the Kindle DX to an incoming Darden MBA student? A total of 75 to 80 percent answered “no,” says Koenig.
The iPad, while not perfect, fixes many of these problems. Navigating the document is fast and fluid and you can view books and PDFs zoomed in, two-pages-at-a-time, or full page. Note-taking is also very easy and consistent with my usual workflow (marking up documents). So with that, here are some apps I use frequently for work:
I am generally a pretty paper-less person who scans everything into a PDF. One of my favorite PDF readers is iAnnotate which not only lets me view PDFs but annotate and then email them:
The application has a PC-based component that will serve your iPad PDFs stored on your computer so you have access to your complete library from your iPad. After you’ve marked up your PDF, you can upload the marked-up copy directly to your computer.
The other app I use frequently is Evernote which is a note application that syncs to a web service. The notes are then accessible from the web, your mobile phone, or your desktop computer. Another thing I’ve realized is that the landscape software keyboard (shown below) is surprisingly touch-typeable. I think I can achieve about 85% of my touch typing speed.
Finally, I also use the iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) but Keynote seems to be the most useful. The others have very wonky conversion with Word and Excel files. Keynote seems to handle Powerpoint files adequately: