I should hate the iPad. Freedom of information, open access, ending censorship – the iPad stomps all over these issues. Apple keeps all content sold in iTunes under its close surveillance, often refusing to allow certain apps to be sold based on content alone. No flash? No ‘adult content’ in apps? These kinds of limiters on a product would usually make me wrinkle my nose in disdain.
But I love it. Oh how I love it…
Now, to be fair, I did not purchase my iPad myself. While my love for it grows stronger everyday, my pocketbook remains the same. There is no way in hell I would spend $600 on a glorified iTouch. I was given an iPad through the IT department at my university. One of the biology professors is piloting iPads in her Animal Behavior course, and as the Science Librarian, I support that course. Much of the online content in the course lives on a LibGuide I built with our Digital Resources librarian.
It’s very trendy right now to use iPads in higher education. I know for a fact there will be multiple iPad discussion groups and poster sessions at all of the up coming conferences regarding higher education, libraries, and pedagogy. So far, our pilot group is enjoying the new dimension the iPad brings to the course, and I am excited to be a part of this new venture. That said, I love my iPad for purely selfish reasons…
Ariel’s Reasons for iPad Love
1) Mobility+Size: I have never owned a laptop. Whenever I would borrow one from a friend or work, I loved being able to work from anywhere. However, laptops can be heavy and a pain to tote around an airport or city. Not only that, but they get HOT. You cannot comfortably use a laptop on your lap without breaking out in a sweat or having burn marks on your legs after an hour. The iPad stays cool and weighs 1.5lbs. Fits in a purse. Heaven.
2) Battery Life: This thing lasts forever. I plug my iPad in maybe once ever 4 nights to recharge. I have never had it die on me. You could go to a weekend conference, forget your charger, and be totally fine. Try that with a laptop.
3) Intuitive Use: I love me some touchscreen. It’s so natural feeling to just reach out and touch what I want to interact with on the screen. Plus, the accuracy of touching is spot on. I usually have difficulty getting most smart phones with touchscreens to recognize which link I am trying to touch. You’d think tiny fingers would help with that (they really are stylus sized), but it’s always been an issue for me since the first iPhone. No longer. Now I find myself reaching out and touching my monitor at work! Now maybe that’s just me being obsessed, but I think it’s a sign that touch interaction in technology is far more intuitive than using a mouse.
4) Information Retrieval: I am able to keep up with my favorite blogs, twitter feeds, and news sites so much easier with the iPad. The variety of apps makes it quick to switch between different information sources. I can curl up on the couch and read my blog feeds or articles I’ve saved to Dropbox, and it’s much more comfortable than sitting at my desk. Comfort is huge; I read more now that I have my iPad.
5) Entertainment: Yes this counts too. A happy librarian is a more productive librarian! I have 2 games I am addicted to, but I’ll talk about them in my next post on apps.
However, there are a lot of reasons to not like the iPad. Besides the issues I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a few less ideological complaints about this technology.
Ariel’s iPad Gripes (that don’t stop her from loving it)
1) Cannot run multiple apps: Opening my email and clicking on a web link will close my email and open Safari. To get back, I have to close Safari and reopen my email. No, it doesn’t take much time to do that, but I’m used to having multiple programs open at once.
2) No Inputs: While I do enjoy working in “the cloud,” sometimes I need to plug in a USB drive and save or upload something. I try to use my iPad as my out-of-office office, but in some instances that just isn’t possible. However, I believe the next iPad generation will have USB ports, so that’s a plus.
3) Typing Takes Practice I had to relearn how to type on the iPad. The keyboard is much easier to use in landscape mode, but the portrait orientation makes it so cramped. Does anyone else find they hit the Shift key instead of A all the time? There is no wY it cN be just me! I’d like to buy the wireless iPad keyboard they sell, but $60?! No thanks.
4) Charger cord is too short! OK that’s kind of picky, especially since you really shouldn’t have an issue with battery life and need it plugged in to use. But it could happen, and that cord is short. Of course, Apple offers a 6″ foot extension – Isn’t it great when companies charge for accessories that easily could have come with the product?
In my next post I’ll give a list of my favorite apps for productivity and entertainment. I’ve only purchases 2 apps, so most will be freebies!