I have recently been borrowing an iPad to assist with blogging at the ASCD conference. In setting things up on the iPad, there are a couple surprise annoyances with the iOS system.
First, everything that folks told me was great about the iPad and Apple devices is true. The graphics, brilliant; the layout of apps great; and the UI is pretty intuitive, but this is clearly a “consumption” device. It’s a dead brilliant way to stream Netflix (I enjoyed “Up” this stormy weekend), but it’s seems kinda expensive for that. Microblogging (Twitter and Facebook) seems fine, but I was looking for something light, portable, and with a good battery to run Cover It Live; and monitor/post to Twitter, and do other conference blogging chores. How does it look so far?
Light/Portable: Yes, Yes, Yes; fits in my purse! I even have a small physical keyboard that works with it, but the size on the onscreen keyboard is not bad at all either. I wanted something portable, but where I would not have to thumb-type. This fits the bill;
Good battery life: Well, it’s better than a laptop, but it seems to only last 10-12 hours, and I’m not using it constantly. The charging is a major issue now, as although it has a USB charger, most PCs do not provide enough power to charge it when running, and it takes awhile to charge up that way with the iPad in “sleep”. I was given the pad with out a wall socket adapter, which I’m guessing would be a faster more reliable charge option. I will happily note that I’ve been told it’s interchangeable with iPhone chargers which means that they’ve progressed from having a new dongle/thingy for each model/iteration, a practice at Apple that I’ve long complained about.
Running apps/sites needed for conference: Not only are most of the apps I want and need on iOS, the browser is good enough in most instances to simply use the Web page for a application. Google calendar is great and docs is better on iPad than in Android (at least for Froyo on a phone). Cover It Live (web-based live blogging) has a full iOS (phone) app that works fine on the iPad. The mobile version which is very stripped down, is the best option on Android. TweetDeck , and Facebook apps (I’m using Friendly) are fine, and easier to read/use on a larger screen.
Sharing and some apps are better on Android; seriously. Let’s take the Diigo app. This is very important when I’m liveblogging. It lets me save links as they are being included in a presentation, and access links I have that are similar. If I’m given online handouts before the preso, I can load the links on Diigo to retrieve during the event. The Android app, is very minimalistic, mobi/text-based Web-page listing links. It’s the “Share” button built throughout Android where this app really shines. When I’m on a Webpage, I can hit Menu, and Share in the browser, and voila, it gives me a bookmarking page to add the link. The iPad app is much more polished “looking” but not acting. It shows my library of links in a beautifully formatted page, but I had to find a hack to even get the Diigolet applet on my Safari browser.
Another app that came up wanting was the WordPress app, which mysteriously crashes when I try to add this blog. Apparently it’s fussy about the XHTML code and may not like my theme or widget (which I’m advised to change). I’ve NEVER had that problem with the Android version of this app, and I don’t want to change my theme so the app will work. The only thing that makes this workable now is that the WordPress dashboard is well rendered in the Safari browser, so I can just update there.