All iPad: Can it be done? Part I

Mon, 19 Nov, 2012    blogdesktopemailfeedsipadlaptopproductivityreplacetrial

Warning: This picture contains a photo of my actual desk.  I have cropped out as much of the clutter (and Diet Cherry Pepsi) as possible.

Over the last six months, I have been working with several iPad focus groups. We have batted around a lot of different ideas and uses for the iPad, but the conversation that seems to keep resurfacing is the thought that an iPad cannot be used in place of a desktop or laptop. At work during the day, I use a Lenovo ThinkCentre All-in-one desktop and at home, I used a laptop. Over the last year, the use of the laptop has grown less frequent and more frequently replaced by my iPad. In fact, the last time I packed up the laptop to take home was January. Arguments against full-time usage have included:

  • Inability to save documents on the iPad
  • Small on-screen typing keyboard
  • Can't add or edit photos
  • Memory storage
  • Lack of flash capabilities
  • Small screen
  • Lack of ports
  • No mouse
  • It wasn't meant to replace a laptop/desktop

There are many more arguments against iPads for full-time replacement of a laptop or desktop but I am going to give the iPad a full-time shot and report any limitations for my field. Here is a preliminary list of tasks that I will attempt to accomplish over a week-long trial using only the iPad:

  • Email: Composing, sending, and receiving
  • Blackboard: Editing a class, grading papers, grading tests, and more
  • Blogs: Updating both my personal and professional blogs (WordPress/Blogger)
  • Photos: Uploading and editing photos for blog/Blackboard/email use
  • RSS Feeds: Read and research through the various feeds for continued professional development
  • Trello: adding, managing, and updating our tasks list
  • Website: Edit and update site
  • Document Creation: word processing, spreadsheet, and form creation and use

Katherine Spradley
Director of Distance Education
Campbell University