Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The iPad - Toy or Tool?

Is there anything the iPad (tablet) can do that either the Macbook (laptop) or iPhone (smartphone) cannot? The answer is probably "no"! So what is it that makes the iPad so great if both the laptop and cell phone already can do the job?

There are quite a few things the iPad does much better than my Macbook or iPhone. In my view, if you give it a chance a tablet like e.g. the iPad quickly becomes indispensable. Instead of listing a bunch of brilliant iPad applications, which so many have done before me, let me share two main areas that stand out:

Vidar Top playing the piano with the iPad displaying sheet music.

Reading and Viewing
Whatever we used to do in front of the screen, most of it is so much better with the iPad.
  • Reading the news almost feels like holding a virtual newspaper, sharing via twitter or commenting articles as you go. Yesterday CNN launched live viewing via their iPad application.
  • Reading books becomes much more interactive, e.g. looking up footnotes in a split second, marking text as well as adding notes that immediately are indexed for searching and future reference.
  • Any PDF document is easily converted to book handling format.
  • Viewing photos (or movies) becomes natural in every casual setting. (The phone is simply too small to really enjoy multimedia, the laptop too clumsy or formal.)
  • ...and browsing the web in general feels so much more interactive and right.

Replacing Paper
Maybe, for the first time in the digital knowledge worker age, getting rid of paper --completely-- is for real. I can print documents from my iPad, but why should I..?!
  • Brain mapping is intuitive and easy. It's one of many creative "paper based activities" I thought would never change.
  • Drawing is just like the real thing, only quicker and more advanced with every needed tool, quite literally, at your fingertips.
  • All notes are synchronized in the cloud with any other device.
  • Clutter generating activities like sticky notes and task lists are gone from my desk and pockets completely.
  • ...in short, almost every application that ever used to require printing no longer demands it from a user perspective.

Tool Enhancer
Consequently, I find that the iPad appears to be superior in every respect as a tool in support of teaching, presenting, taking notes and almost everything else. If you're unwilling to give any type of tablet a fair chance you're missing out on a great tool that lifts all existing tools.


  1. I <3 my iPad. And my Mum wants one too :) (she's 65)

  2. LOL, you know, that sound VERY familiar ;-)