So We just got an iPad… now what?

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 10:45 AM

    So my wife and I bought an iPad yesterday, the 2nd gen 32GB wifi version. We were excited. I brought it home, waited till my son went to bed to set it up… played with it for an hour, my wife played with it for 10 minutes and went to bed, and then for the first time in my nearly 20 years of being an Apple product owner I had buyers remorse. Why did I spend all this money on this thing? Our 4 year old MacBook’s battery is dying and the power cord is failing for the second time, so I felt repairing that was throwing good money after bad. My wife has a Netflix account and a Kindle, she loves her iPhone and I love my iPod Touch. I thought the iPad would be a great companion to my iMac which I can’t get to while hanging out in the living room with my toddler. But then I started fooling around with the iPad last night and wondering what can I do with this? I was hoping I could work on my Pages docs on the go; nope, track changes isn’t supported on the iPad. I was hoping to use the new Time Warner app that everyone was talking about; nope, I have Time Warner cable, but not a Time Warner internet service, so not supported. My wife manages all of her images through Kodak Gallery on the MacBook, but the Kodak Gallery app is pretty bad.

    I feel like I should have spent the money on a new TV and TiVo Premier and AppleTV for just a few bucks more.

    What do you guys use your iPad for, especially you designers/creative people out there? I did like the fact that it was really easy to see all of our calendars and contacts in one place but I feel like there’s something I’m missing, but also feel like I just wasted a bunch of money and need to keep the thing clean so I can sell it on eBay in a week. I’m going to load it with PDFs of all of my RPG game books that I produce, and take it on vacation with me this week to see if it grows on me, but I’m worried. Advice please?


    Less is More (more or less).

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    Posted: 19 April 2011 11:12 AM #1

    I bought an iPad, and now an iPad 2, and I haven’t regretted either purchase because both immediately became production tools for me.

    I write articles on my iPad with the Simplenote app. I have a free Simplenote account, so everything I write is automatically synced to my online account as I type. I regularly perform research on my iPad, so I use Reeder linked to my Google Reader account, and Instapaper to tag articles I need to read later. I’m big on keeping on top of tasks, so I have OmniFocus on my Mac and iPad. Turns out I use OmniFocus more on my iPad.

    I can’t imagine trying to move files on and off my iPad without Dropbox and GoodReader. GoodReader is also a fantastic PDF reader app, and it supports annotating documents. I have a few databases I use on the go. I have FileMaker Go and Bento to handle my business and personal needs. It seems I’m always traveling, too, so I have to keep track of where I’m going and what I’m doing. Flight Update tracks all of my flights, and thanks to TripAdvisor I can always find places to eat and other points of interest.

    Coming from a graphic design background, I found my iPad is great for some basic design work, too. I draw all the time in ArtStudio, Photoshop Express and Photogene come in handy for image editing, and I even do some presentation design in Keynote. I like Pages on the iPad, but you’re right about the lack of change tracking being a problem. Also, if I need to work with Word or Excel documents, I use Quickoffice.

    Here are a few other apps I use regularly: Textastic (code editing), PlainText (text editor),  Osfoora HD (Twitter client), TextExpander touch, and USA TODAY (news). Now you have a short-ish list of apps to check out. grin

    Also, I don’t see the iPad as a “family device.” It’s designed to be a single user tool, and everyone I know that tries to use theirs as a shared device ends up buying a second or complaining about lack of multiple accounts.

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 11:22 AM #2

    I find I use my iPad1 when my wife is using our MacBook. I would rather use my MacBook for tabs in Safari. It has not been a replacement for my MacBook when travelling but it does fit in the safe. I have buyers regret as well after 9 months.

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 01:01 PM #3

    The excellent browser iCab has real tabs, and a host of other fantastic features (such as full-screen browsing, excellent navigation options, etc. etc.).

    I use my iPad constantly, so much so that my home Mac sits unused for most of the time.  I use it to browse, to follow RSS feeds (with the great app River of News), for email, to watch Netflix and other video, to display recipes for cooking, for gaming, as a convenient remote control for other machines (using LogMeIn), to show Keynote presentations and video when I teach, etc. etc. etc.  I cannot imagine not having one (nor can my spouse, who uses hers for various other functions).

    The iPad is not a full replacement for a laptop; for example, content creation can be somewhat challenging.  But I find these days that anything I can do on both my desktop and my iPad, I much prefer to do on my iPad.  I can carry it with me wherever I go, and can easily use it sitting in a comfy chair, on a couch, or in bed.  It is not nearly as cumbersome as a laptop, and the interface is far less “heavy”—in well-made apps, the interface just disappears.  It really can be magical.

    It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think it is a revolutionary device, and the future of computing for most people.

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 01:26 PM #4

    I have an original IPad and it is invaluable to me. 

    I teach and for that I use:

    Historical Maps
    Nat Geo Atlas
    US History

    Some of these I project through a document reader (sort of like the old transparency overheads) and have not had any glare issues

    We also travel in with our RV and use:

    Google Maps
    Campground web sites
    RV checklist

    If it’s along trip, we also use Mass Times to locate a nearby church and their schedule.  And our missals and other prayers are on the IPad.

    All the other things folks have complained about it not having I have never missed.  We also carry our Macbook, but primarily for photo editing with Elements and downloading CDs we buy along the way.

    My IPad has been an invaluable tool for me and I’m more than happy with it.

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 01:41 PM #5

    I use mine for school, entertainment, and websurfing.

    For school, I use DropBox to transfer files. Goodreader for file management (you can sync folders with DropBox). QuickOffice for lite Office work. And Elements for writing papers (it offers a clean interface, Dropbox compatibility and, especially important - word count). Calc XT and Quick Graph are also handy to have.

    For entertainment I have quite a few games. I also use Netflix quite a bit for movies. And Pandora and iTunes for music. I also use Nook, Kindle, and iBooks for my reading. I should also mention that the VLC player for iPad comes in handy when someone emails me videos. I have also found that reading books and watching movies is especially enjoyable on the iPad. I can curl up with a book or movie in a way that I can’t do with a laptop. And in a small house with 3 young-ish children, I can pop in some headphones and not worry about disturbing everyone else.

    Websurfing is pretty much a no-brainer, but I would recommend downloading an alternative web-browser if you are running into sites that do not like mobile devices. I don’t have a recommendation, but Terra works pretty well as you can set the user-agent to Desktop Safari as well as offering tabbed browsing. The native iPad Safari is still my go-to for general browsing.

    Regarding the question of why an iPad over a laptop, I don’t have a great answer, except for portability and the low time investment for use. I might not drag my laptop into the kitchen to use a recipe, but I won’t think twice about bringing in my iPad. Also, it might not seem like a bit deal, but the 2 seconds it takes me to pop open the iPad sitting on the coffee table (versus the time to walk over and wake up the computer) means that I find myself using it quite a bit more than my laptop.


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    Posted: 19 April 2011 01:43 PM #6

    Its something that people may find many uses for or none.
    Its such a new device that all its uses have not been fully explored yet.

    If you really dont like it though at least you have something that has a really good resale value right now.

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 01:50 PM #7

    Thanks folks. Keep them coming. I found an app for recipes, called Paprika, that I think would make this HUGELY valuable. No more stained index cards disintegrating in the drawer. It may be one of those things I just need to live with to figure out. I think the first thing I am going to do tonight is to reassign the iPad to my iTunes account. My wife says she doesn’t want to mess with stuff and would prefer I set everything up so I think I’ll take her up on it.


    Less is More (more or less).

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    Posted: 19 April 2011 03:34 PM #8

    My iPad is for relaxing.  Browsing, chat, entertainment.

    Yes, I do real work on it, but away from noisier areas.

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    Posted: 19 April 2011 04:38 PM #9

    My two main uses are for Twitter (via Echofon), and many news apps (NZ Herald, Stuff, Guardian, NY Times, Globe and Mail, The Onion). My routine since I am currently gainfully unemployed and the weather isn’t too foul is to take the dog and sit outside at La Cloche, have a coffee and croissant, flirt with the pretty French waitresses and read the papers from all around the world. Then I think of something which appears to me to be funny, so I post it on Twitter and immediately get - no response. Oh well.


    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek


  • Posted: 19 April 2011 04:56 PM #10

    Great question. Before I share what I do with my iPad, permit to share an experience.

    Your question reminds me of a comment made by a cousin of mine back in the 1980’s regarding what he could do with a home computer (mind you, at the time, he was the IT head of a major university). The device, and its supportive technology, were so new that people were only just coming to grips with it, and very tellingly in his case, were thinking of uses that mirrored their prior experience with mainframes. However, the mainframe experience, though a computer, provided no indication of where personal computers were going to go, and all the things were were going to do with them. Paradoxically, as an IT head, the mainframe experience defined the parameters (constraints, really) of his concept of a computing experience. After I provided a futuristic view of where I thought the personal computing experience would go, while he was a bit taken by it, he accused me of watching a bit too much Star Trek (guilty as charged - but the bit about us eventually communicating through our computers rather than phones was a bridge too far), but one thing is clear; most of us can no longer imagine life without our computers at home.

    The same is true, I believe, of not simply the iOS ecosystem writ large, but the iPad specifically, which as a platform, changes the way we interact with our technology. I personally believe this is the second of three developmental phases through which we will perfect our interaction with the technology; the first being the GUI with its keyboard/mouse/trackpad motif; the second being the touch interface, and the third, voice interactive - a truly handsfree platform that will be a boon to medicine, engineering, construction and many branches of science where people need to be able to work with their hands yet access technical assistance.

    I say all of this only to underscore my personal belief that we are only in the very earliest stages of this new platform, and as such, lack the benefits of a more fully fledged and mature system, which we have yet to shape. What we do with it today will pale compared to what we will be doing with it 5 years hence.

    That said, among the things that I do with my iPad fall into three categories:1) Office work (low-income clinics and field sites in developing countries); 2) Meetings and conferences (presentations, notes, online referencing); 3) Recreation

    1) Primary portable computer for field-based ops (using Pages for notes, Docs to Go for Office compatibility in reviewing, editing, sharing MS Office documents/spreadsheets etc, iAnnotate PDF and Papers for reading/editing manuscripts)
    2) Email (increasingly preferred platform - especially when at home)
    3) Internet access (Yes, Safari is limited but adequate)

    4) Primary device for meetings (I don’t use paper) including note taking either in Pages, Notebook (Circus Ponies), Bento
    5) Primary device for conferences (Keynote for presentation, which I usually can email to the Speakers’ Ready Room from my hotel room, and either Pages or Notebook for taking conference notes and iCal or Notebook or Papers for scheduling)

    6) Twitter (mainly using the Twitter app, have experimented with others, but like its simplicity)
    7) Entertainment/education a) reading (iBooks, Kindle, Nook formats - all; Docs Anywhere and Papers for some pdfs); b) Podcast videos c) movies including iTunes, Netflix
    8) iFitness for workout routines (also on my iPhone)

    Once my iPad2 arrives sometime on or after 26 April (remains in Shenzhen, China), I will increasingly use it for communication via Facetime and other media

    There are other apps I use, as well, but these are a bit more specialised and might require explanation (e.g. Epocrates, DocGuide, Skyscape, and Mobile MIM for X-rays). How people use this device, obviously, varies according to their professions and interests, but its only just begun.

    [ Edited: 19 April 2011 05:18 PM by wab95 ]



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    Posted: 19 April 2011 07:36 PM #11

    I bought an iPad 1 for my trip to Moscow. Boy did I ever get grief from friends an family for trying to stay on top of technology. Needless to say, after they saw how convenient it was to carry around and use I think I convinced at least a half a dozen people into buying IPads including two who just bought iPad 2’s. I’m still waiting for the commission check from Apple wink

    So how do/did I use my iPad. While in Russia I uploaded pictures to the Pad, modified them with various Apps, and sent daily travel updates with pictures to friends back home. I opened a Skype account with $10 and made a few “calls” home and still have over $7 left in my account—-sure beats $5 per minute using AT&T. I bought admission tickets online. I checked emails and surfed the web for tourist information. I had two Russian/English translation Apps which helped out in restaurants. My grandson and I watched downloaded videos on the train to St. Petersburg—-sure beat watching what was offered in Russian on the train. If not watching video, I could also play games during travel time. There was only one night I did not have Wi-Fi access at the hotels. I almost forgot to mention the books I had bought and downloaded on my iPad. iPad vs. 3 or four books on a trip. No doubt what I’d rather carry/pack. I am currently thinking about putting something together for my local Apple users group based on my use of the iPad on the trip. My working title is, “Me, my iPad, and a Dead Man on the Square.”

    I still usually take my Pad instead of my laptop on trips doing much of what I have listed above.

    Especially on trips, I guess the real question is, “What can’t you do with your iPad.”

  • Posted: 19 April 2011 08:18 PM #12

    I use my iPad as a recreational device.  When the iPad was announced I immediately preordered two. One for myself and one for my wife.  I thought we would use them occasionally, but wow was I wrong.  We both use our iPads everyday.

    We both use them for pretty much the same things.

    Email, web browsing, online forums and games (my son and his wife got us involved on the ... Story games).

    I now find my iPad indispensable, I use it more often than my iMac or MacBook.  It is just so easy to keep it handy when watching TV and picket up, look something up and put it down.

    One of the best technology purchasess I have ever made!


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    Posted: 20 April 2011 11:59 PM #13

    Me, even if the iPad was *solely* an ereader (including webarticles, mags, etc), I would savagely kill anybody who would take it from me. I love it so much I bought a second one just in case of malfunction.

    (I use it with a bookholder by my bed, the most comfortable reading I have ever had.)

    tablets are the new ereaders