I hate to admit it but I love my iPad. It is a constant companion and has served (serving) me well. How so? Simple, I do not think about the device anymore but rather what is on it. It is simple in design and a device that has forced me to rethink how I should interact with my content but shockingly that is not a bad trait. Before the iPad, I would multi-task the hell out of my computing life. I would open multiple browser tabs, stream twitter, and check email all while reading small chunks of .PDF files. I have reduced my mental capacity to only absorb burst of content thus fragmenting my knowledge that can only be supported through quick Google searches for depth. Ask me anything and I can get back to you in under 10 minutes with a wealth of quickly absorbed searches from the web, which I am wickedly good. Force me to stand and I got nothing. With the iPad, I cannot multi-task. I can only read or play or watch or interact with one book, game or movie. Instead of the noise of task lists preoccupying my mind, my thoughts echo loudly of only the passages from an ebook on the screen. Yes I love my iPad… but hate I it too…
The successful uses of the iPad in my life makes me WANT it to be the only device I carry. I WANT to take notes on it for meetings, I WANT it to capture my ideas quickly, I WANT to annotate my documents, I WANT it to help me think through a concept. I WANT it to be… well like my trusted Mead yellow college-ruled notebook. But the iPad cannot. Oh trust me, I tried. I picked up a BoxWave Capacitive pen and used apps like Penultimate or iAnnotate or Note Plus (which is by far the best handwriting note taking app out there) and for the better half of last year, I took notes like a madman on it. I retrained myself on how I should write on a multi-touch surface but to this day, I still feel like a child using a pen for the first time. You know the feeling, the fear of writing without making mistakes because once you do, you cannot fix it. That is what handwriting on the iPad is like, child-like fear. So my workflow includes the iPad and my yellow college-ruled notebook. Is there hope that this will change?
Many out there would scream at me for not looking at the obvious, a tablet based on Windows. Microsoft and their digitizer stylus are incredible no doubt. I do love how they work when I write with them. I just throw-up in my mouth a little every time I am forced to navigate a desktop OS with a stylus.
So now we are back to the iPad. Apple will announce the next version today and truthfully I do not see any of my needs being addressed with version 2. So ask again, why should the iPad continue to lead? Apple set the bar, others should take that and raise it. Unfortunately that is not happening. Motorolla Xoom is out and it looks like an iPad, it acts like an iPad and sadly has the same limitations as the iPad. HP WebOS and Blackberry Playbook both are doing the “me too” chases as well. The only original concept that had leadership quality was the failed Microsoft project, the Courier and oh how I wish I could get my hands on this near god-like device.
I want iOS/Android/WebOS type of interface, I just think a touch keyboard is backwards for a slate-type device. So until I can leave my Mead notebook behind, it will be part of my daily journeys along with my iPad. Just another reminder that the iPad is not a utopian device. I do believe that the tablet revolution has taken hold, I just do not think the renaissance for the device has arrived.