Of course I got an iPad on April 3rd. And both of my daughters exclaimed: “It’s a giant iPhone!” As a personal entertainment device, I love it. But it has a way to go as a possible future laptop replacement. Some of my initial thoughts/findings/reactions, in no particular order:
iPhone Configuration Profiles to configure email, calendars, and 802.1X access for my organization worked unchanged with the iPad.
Document transfer is clunky. Apple suggests you use iTunes to sync documents with a Mac or PC. I think that’s crazy talk. Documents should be able to be transferred to and from the iPad wirelessly. Apple has not yet updated the iDisk app for the iPad, so while you can use it to connect to your iDisk and browse documents there, you can’t use the iWork apps to edit anything residing on your iDisk.
There’s also iWork.com for limited document sharing – that requires an Apple ID, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think Apple might charge for it in the future.
You can email documents to yourself, and the mail application will display them, and if you have the appropriate iWork app installed on your iPad, it will also offer to open them in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote as appropriate.
A workflow where you have a Word document on a Office computer, email it to yourself on your iPad, convert it to Pages-iPad, then email it back to yourself and attempt to work on it with Microsoft Word would be too painful to contemplate.
And even if you were to limit yourself to using only iWork on both Mac and iPad (if you had that luxury), the iPad versions of the iWork apps support only a subset of the fonts available on the Mac, and there are other compatibility issues.
Using an iPad as a mobile Keynote appliance might be acceptable. In a brief test, I imported a Keynote 09 document emailed from my Mac. It complained about a missing font (“Monaco”!) and could not display one of the inserted graphics.
I was able to make a quick change to the animation on one slide, and change the font of the slides affected by the missing Monaco to Courier as a monospaced alternative.
Using the iPad-to-VGA adapter, I was able to present the slideshow on another display. The iPad made for a nice slideshow controller; it was easy to advance and go back, and I could even activate a nifty “laser pointer” effect. I could even bring up a list of slides and quickly jump to one.
Don’t expect the iPad-to-VGA adapter to give you general-purpose external display for the iPad. In my testing, it only displayed content in certain modes in certain applications.
Some apps that used the external display:
- Keynote (slideshow playback only)
- Photos (slideshow)
Some that did not:
- ABC Player