Good iPad Question

I was reading reviews of the iPad 2 this evening on a few tech blogs, and it can be entertaining and educational to read the comments on those tech blogs.  Tonight, one of the comments read:

I’d like someone out there to tell me five things that they can do better on an iPad when compared with a smartphone or a laptop. While I am intrigued by the iPad, I have still not seen a convincing argument as to why it is the “future” of computing. What I have seen are real world observations, such as the women walking into a Starbucks cradling her iPad in her arm while holding her iPhone in her hand, totally oblivious to those around her. Or my coworker walking into our war-room and immediately pulling out his iPad, iPhone, and Macbook Pro with bluetooth enabled and going to work. How does the iPad add value here? Someone explain this to me, because I simply don’t see it. Thanks.

So…from a Music Educator’s Point of View…

5 Things I Can Do Better on an iPad than on a Smart Phone.  Some of these can be done on an iPhone (or Smart Phone), but not as easily or as functionally.

  1. View Music Scores in PDF format in such a way that I can actually see them and interact with them in class (UnrealBook and ForScore).
  2. Create documents (particularly letters of recommendation) on Pages
  3. Write music (Symphony Pro)
  4. “Surf” the web.
  5. Take notes…written or otherwise.

5 Things I Can do Better on an iPad than a Computer (Notebook or Otherwise)

  1. Set the device on a piano or music stand.
  2. Read a book
  3. Take notes in any situation
  4. Read music (sheet music)
  5. Create PDFs (Pages on the iPad, or many apps, like Noteshelf (or even UnrealBook), make this ridiculously easy on the iPad).  The iPad also excels in letting you fill out PDFs by hand and then send them via the mail (If you need to sign a document, etc.)

The iPad has filled a niche that exists between the iPhone and my MacBook, and I wouldn’t choose to teach without it.  I don’t need the iPhone for teaching.  If I do my work outside of the classroom with my MacBook, I don’t need it while I’m teaching.  All I need is my iPad.

Some additional thoughts:

  1. In the educational setting, the iPad is wonderful for showing videos.  You can convert most existing digital videos and DVDs to a mp4 video that will show on an iPad with Handbrake.  The VGA cable simply works flawlessly with any projector I’ve used, whereas computers…even my MacBook…requires messing around with settings.
  2. I prefer to read eBooks on my iPhone, mainly because it is always with me, but also because the iPad has no internal alarm feature, and I don’t trust second-hand alarm apps to run in the foreground without timing out or to run in the background.  Because of the lack of an alarm on the iPad, my iPhone comes to bed with me, and the iPad charges overnight.  Since the iPhone is with me, and I read in bed, I read mainly on my iPhone.  However, it is great that I can switch to the iPad and iBooks catches up where I was on my iPhone, just like the Kindle app.
  3. The iPhone is clearly more ideal for catching pictures and video.  It has a better camera, and it is always with you.  I would prefer to edit pictures and video on the iPad, however.
  4. The MacBook is essential for scanning music, Finale, and iTunes.  It’s also important for creating properly formatted blog posts.  Although BlogPress does a pretty good job, it still doesn’t offer all the functionality of the PC browser dashboard of WordPress, which isn’t optimized for a touch-based format.  If the iPad could truly manage these applications, I could probably get rid of the MacBook (I don’t need to.  I use all three devices on a daily.)
  5. Negatives about the iPad: Pages is still missing features I need, such as landscape documents and tab settings that allow for proper creation of concert programs.  The missing alarm feature is an issue.  And my clock is never right on my iPad. I’ve never figured out why that occurs.
  6. The iPad, however, rocks for setting pictures into documents.  That is frustrating to do on any program on the MacBook.  I love how Pages interacts with pictures, as well as how other iPad apps also interact with pictures, such as Noteshelf.
  7. I prefer to read e-mail and RSS feeds on the iPhone (always with me), and I prefer to read news apps (e.g. USA Today, Pulse) on the iPad.  I prefer to answer e-mails on my MacBook, or on my iPad when it is docked on the iPad Keyboard Stand (which will be easier to do with the iPad 2 Smart Case).  Typing on the keyboard is better than glass.  The iPad glass works much better than the iPhone, but I can type relatively fast on all formats if necessary.
  8. If I travel, the iPhone and iPad will go with me, even on a motorcycle trip.  I could be convinced to travel only with the iPad if I went overseas, but I still think I would bring both devices (the iPhone is my camera…my wife has the photographer’s camera for those “uber shots.”  The MacBook, however, would not make any more trips–overseas or local.
  9. I forgot to mention the ten hour battery.  Yes, it lasts that long.  Nothing else comes close.

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