iPad investigate

I discovered a third use for the iPad

Jason Hiner previously said that the iPad was only good for two things. Now, he's found a third. See what it is and why it's one of the things winning over a lot of business users to tablets.

Last fall I wrote that after six months of experimenting with the iPad, my conclusion was that it was primarily good for just two things -- reading and Scrabble. But, in order to be fair and to make room for some of the other possibilities, I officially noted the two-fer as:

  1. Reading and viewing
  2. Multi-touch interaction

So, basically, reading and games. (Read the article The truth about iPad: It's only good for two things for the full explanation.)

Well, in the second six months of using the iPad -- leading up to the release of the iPad 2 earlier this year -- I discovered a third use for the iPad. And, this one thing has unlocked a lot more value in using the iPad as a business tool.

The third use? Note taking.

As it turns out, the iPad makes a terrific notebook -- in the traditional sense. For me , the iPad has completely replaced the need for a pen and a pad of paper in meetings. I now take all my notes electronically with the iPad and can quickly and easily do several different things with the notes afterward:

  • Turn the action items into tasks or calendar items
  • Sync the notes to a laptop or smartphone for later review
  • Edit the notes into a recap to send to colleagues

The value of no longer having a bunch of notepads and loose slips of paper is obvious. And, the advantage of immediately having all of these these notes in electronic format -- instead of having to convert some of them to electronic formats later -- is easy to see. But, there are also a couple other factors that make it better to use an iPad for note taking.

First, while I could easily do the same type of note taking with a laptop or a netbook, there's something a lot friendlier about doing it with a tablet. If you're in a conference room or a 1-on-1 meeting and you flip open a laptop to take notes then you close yourself off from the other person(s) in the room. With a tablet, I can just flip open the tablet, lay it flat on the tablet, take my notes, and then flip it closed again. It feels about the same as taking paper notes while talking to someone in a meeting.

I could also accomplish this kind of note taking with a smartphone -- and I occasionally do when I don't have a tablet with me -- but because of the larger display and larger on-screen keyboard, typing notes on a tablet is faster and usually has fewer typos. The tablet also allows you to thumb-type when holding the tablet in portrait mode or to put it in landscape mode and type like you would on a computer.

The other factor that can make this scenario better than either old style paper note taking or PC word processing is the cloud. Using apps and services like Evernote and Dropbox (with the help of iA Writer), you can take notes on your iPad and have them immediately sync back to your PC or Mac so that they're ready for you to work on when you get back to your desk. The challenge with this, obviously, is security. You wouldn't want to save sensitive company information on public services like Evernote or Dropbox. For sensitive information, I'd recommend using a program you can sync locally like Apple's Pages word processor or the iPad's built-in Notes app. Another option is to use the Mail app to take your notes in a mail message and then email it to yourself when the meeting is over.

However you prefer do it, note taking is now one of the leading business functions of the iPad. It's one of the reasons why the iPad has become a preferred tool for many people who spend a large chunk of their time in meetings, especially executives, project managers, and sales people.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

290 comments
bobjones2007
bobjones2007

....to see when the fourth reason surfaces.

rodstrategic
rodstrategic

Then what this conversation should tell you is that the issue is with your personal creativity not the iPad. While Microsoft and everyone else has been playing catch up Apple has left them all well and truly behind. The more creative and entrepreneurial parts of business are slowly catching up with what the more creative parts of the computer market have always known. With the iPad, iPhone, MacAirs/MacPros and iMacs you get a completely synchronised solution that the .exe's of this world can only dream about.

dsigetich
dsigetich

The best way to show off pictures of your grandson, daughter, new deck, trip to Cuba, whatever (except that the iPad sometimes doesn't correctly interpret the EXIF info and wants to display the picture landscape when it should be portrait {or vice versa}, and turning it sideways does not fix the problem).

casper67
casper67

I laugh every time I see an ipad2 commercial- "it's magical" blah blah blah... It's cool and Apple has done a good job with it, but all of what can be done with it has been doable in the PC/non-ipad world for over a decade now. The idea that Stevo has invented all this stuff is pretty assinign. Really the only thing they've done is shrink the format of netbook/notebook and improved multi-touch technology and used external developers to write cheap apps that mostly use up some time (they've done it well, but it's not really magical or revolutionary at all - come on) - ooh watching video in a newspaper article.... been done already - movies view just as good on a laptop - point the ipad to the sky and it'll show you the stars... oh, no sorry, you actually have to tell it where you are and what direction you're facing, and then it'll give you a view of what you should be looking at - WOW... access to work, oh yah, you need to remote in somewhere else, to actually do some work . a previous comment stated: ipad = ipod touch, just larger - I mostly agree with that, too but the size creates some opportunities as much as it hinders others so that's just preference. Graphics on the ipad, as (most) other Apple products are great, but ones on laptops and other types of tablets are just as impressive and gaining ground. and Apple only works with Apple stuff seemlessy, not much of anyone elses. I've been using a Lenovo X201 tablet for about 16 months now and love it. This isn't one of their new "ipad-like" tablets (which I'll be buying when they're out in September), but a laptop version w. 12.5" screen, webcam, and a swivel monitor and it is AWESOME! you can use it as a traditional laptop (and is great for travelling, watching movies, etc. etc, due to it's size), video calls, etc,, but also swivel the monitor so it lays flat and you can use a built-in Wacom stylus to make notes and save them to OneNote or whatever software you want. I've become a Lenovo supporter since I started using this and I'm looking forward to their new style tablets for my business and fun.

briantaylor
briantaylor

...I get better overall mileage for electronic note-taking (including audio recording, search, sharing, integrating into documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) from my Livescribe Echo pen - and the form factor is better for certain situations where taking "written" notes is more practical and/or less obtrusive than using an iPad (e.g., field interviews). The audio on the LiveScribe is awesome, by the way. For critical photos and even video that I need to capture, I wouldn't trust any "webcam" anyway. I carry a 14-mp pocket camera with 6x optical zoom, auto/manual settings and HD video capability. It's small enough to fit in my shirt pocket with room to spare and gives me great, reliable results. Bottom line: Over several decades using, evaluating and recommending IT technologies, I've discovered the hard way that it's almost always better to use tools that are specifically designed for a given purpose rather than the "Swiss Army Knife" approach. That knife might be handy in a pinch, but it doesn't do anything very well and it will always force you to make compromises. Just be sure you know very clearly what those limitations and compromises are.

christeson
christeson

I found during training seminars that I was able to keep far better notes on the iPad than my friends with laptops. I added a wireless keyboard to use for longer typing, but the on screen is great for just taking notes as you go along. Works well in work meetings too.

MacNewton
MacNewton

The next " One more thing" from Steve Jobs is a full Tablet that will run its new OS called Lion. Thats right. A full OS on a tablet. Now way would I say something like that? Well, Lion is a Touch screen ready operating system. If you take a Macbook Air and flip over the LCD screen, make it a touch screen your now have the new iPad 3. If you think I'm of my rocker with that statement, think again, Apple always comes out with a product when the time is right. Now is the time.

rodstrategic
rodstrategic

With an iPad 2 my laptop has become virtually a desktop. Just a simple fact that reflects the enormous functionality of the iPad 2. Stopped buying paper note pads. Stopped buying books, stopped printing off PDFs, etc etc. Take it in a Switcheasy Canvas cover with a stylus in my pocket. Adding iCloud will simply add another level of simplification. I already use Dropbox and MobileMe. Get over it .. the world has changed and some people are always slower to realise when a major shift occurs! I am sure there are other tablets that will deliver what the iPad 2 does. But I run a 100% Apple small business.

stephens
stephens

Until this device that will be "replacing" my laptop can perform the following business actions effectively, I will not be an early adopter: Word processing, Spreadsheeting, Presenting. And, we know who is the maker of the most popular versions of these 3 apps! That said, thank you early adopters; sorry salespeople!

abetts
abetts

I have had an iPad 2 for a couple of weeks now and have almost completely replaced the need for a laptop. I still use the desktop for major typing needs but even that looks to be replaced by an Apple keyboard. With all the IT apps available and the ability to do handwriting recognition, I can do 99% of my daily tasks on the iPad.

bigjude
bigjude

I thought everyone already knew this!!!!! Or has everyone forgotten the selling points of the earlier tablet PCs? Or the before that the early PDAs? The biggest strength of the iPad has got to be its use for notetaking integrated with its other functions so that your brainstorming or university lecture or business meeting translates from ideas into formality in a seamless manner. It's nothing new. I used both the Psion 3 and the Psion5 for these purposes back in the 90s and they were brilliant. It's just much, much bettter. Except for the fact that I'm retired, I'd buy one tomorrow. And Yes, you can use it for reading (but I already have a Kindle)and gameplaying, too, I suppose, but it's greatest value lies in its possibilities as a serious tool for fast moving business and creative people.

christian_minich
christian_minich

Most people use computers for web surfing, email, writing, spreadsheets and presentations. Whatever I have left out: there is probably "an app for that." For end-users, rather than developers, the iPad has many advantages. First of all, you hit a button and it is ready to use. No need to boot it every time. Also, it is a very efficient use of a small amount of space, which makes it lightweight and compact. The tablet form idea has always been there because it is only natural. It is evolution. I do enjoy my netbook*, however. It's just not as easy to use quickly and in as many situations as the iPad. You can use an iPad for 20 seconds and turn it back off. That's not really practical with a netbook. *I like that I can use Ubuntu or another Linux OS on my netbook (or Windows for that matter).

Tech NO Babble
Tech NO Babble

I have 2 convertable laptops, the heavy and powerful HP TouchSmart tx2 and the IBM X41. I have embraced OneNote 2010 and have almost done away with paper. I got tired of carrying around the HP and started using the IBM (old and very slow) to my clients. I would use the IBM to RDP into the HP and have everything I need at my fingertips. If I don't have a wifi connection, I just turn on my wireless mobile hotspot with my Android. If my connection to the HP fails but I have a good wifi connection, I log into my Skydrive account and use the web based OneNote. Worst case senario, I have the use the IBM to take my notes digitally and then copy and paste into OneNote when I get back into the office. I plan to replace the IBM with an Asus Transformer Android tablet. Now if I could only get a dual screen Android pad...

thoiness
thoiness

You all act like this technology hasn't been around for a decade or more. The only reason people FINALLY found "uses" for it was Apple made one. -Truth-

trainerdave1
trainerdave1

I gave up the search and settled for Livescribe - with the added benefit of synchronized sound recording. Great for information-gathering and cloud storage as well as PC storage. I carry the pen everywhere along with the pocket note paper, and full-size paper stashed in my battered leatherette portfolio. Other nice touches for Livescribe: * take spartan notes in real time, then embellish later (on the same page) as you listen to the audio. * syncs to pc or mac * share privately or publicly * sync to Evernote and take advantage of the latter's search function and recall, available on smartphones and pad devices. * replay the sound, on the go, without another device - your notes are your index points. * save written notes to pdf or image. * handwriting recognition via 3rd-party software sorry I sound like a fanboy for them but for $100 and flexibility, it solves a lot of problems.

CListo
CListo

If I am in a meeting and you start "playing" with your IDumb...i will get you out of the meeting in a sec. I dont know if you are taking notes in an overpriced notepad or playing angry birds. So put your PAPER pad on the table, get out your PEN and do some actual writing instead. Actually, there is a 4th use for the ipad..... a fancy placemant or uber expensive mousepad....

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

My problem with the iPad is it???s price. For it???s price, One can likely get a lightweight, reasonably powered netbook with hand writing recognition. I???m not a miser by any stretch of the imagination but sheesh, Over priced is over priced.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

A door stop - between the door and wall at the hinge. :-)

JohnJ
JohnJ

iPad with citrix + an internet connection gives you almost limitless possibilities. Really that goes with any tablet assuming you can connect to a citrix server or terminal server. On top of that, its less to support for IT. Control the access to citrix, enforce your security policies there and let the user do what they want with their ipad. If it breaks or gets stolen, replace it with another $600 tablet and the citrix connection and you're back in business.

stephanisat_z
stephanisat_z

comes to about $233 per use. That sounds about right to me. Who needs a pen and paper when you can look that cool taking notes in a meeting. ...Where's my Grey Poupon?

mikifin
mikifin

Coaster? Placemat? Door jam? How am I doing so far?

Laurentian Enterprises
Laurentian Enterprises

Again we see another desperate effort to convince businesses why they should buy Ipads so their employees have another free toy. This huge effort is so funny. They will convince some that there is surely some sort of reason to have Ipads in business and vendors are jumping on the bandwagon for obvious reasons as well, but there are very few compelling reasons for businesses to waste their money. It's like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole, if enough people swing a really big hammer it will fit sort of, but really it shouldn't be there. The businesses who have tons of money to waste (like publicly funded offices) will buy them, but businesses that have tight budgets and really have to justify where they spend the money, will pass on them. When these devices run compatible OS (Windows for now), that can have the proper security and are easy to support by IT, and have useful applications, Tablets will be better accepted.

mjc5
mjc5

I just returned from Dayton Hamfest. Many Vendors have added Ipads to their booths. For everything from displaying tech info to apparently showing that the Ipad does this or that with their product. When someone asks about some technical aspect, it's priceless to have numbers to give them. You find the page and hand the pad to them. And yes, you need printed media. But someone always asks about something you didn't bring along. Great sales tool, no doubt about it.

SKFee
SKFee

Using one of the free debt\credit card services I process card payments in the field with the iPad.

JeffO'H
JeffO'H

Perhaps if I had a Mac to go along with it, I might find it of real value in the business world. But I don't and it's of minimal value and use in real world business. I'm not a "geek" and I couldn't program squat. I've been a PC guy since the mid to late 1980's, eventually building my own PC's and migrating to the Linux OS for most of my connected time. The iPad 2 came to me as a Christmas gift from my SO. (Actually, that was an iPad, that I returned to wait out the release of 2) A lot of what gets shared in my home-based business activity requires full on Acrobat and Flash capability and iPad 2 won't handle these very essential, very basic business needs apps. And then there's the woeful lack of a word processor, a solid e-mail client integrated with calendar, To-Do/PIM etc. and more- much more! So in my personal opinion, iPad is a VERY expensive browser and toy. I can't wait for a good Jailbreak to arrive!!

stephen.holland
stephen.holland

Forget all the bias either way (I like/hate all things Apple) and listen to the consumer, after all that is what is driving the revolution. I have tried to use electronic devices to take notes since the Palm pilot. I was atrocious at Note taking on paper to start with. These days, I have an iPad with several different apps for for Business and personal use - I starting using the ipad for viewing and play, then I discovered ToDo, Paperdesk and Evernote. I can now take notes for meetings and discussions like never before - it is the Apps, not the iPad that make it possible for me to correct a poor behaviour, I have had since high school - 30 years. I also use a technique for note-taking I learnt from the guys at Manager Tools www.manager-tools.com. As to Printing on the fly, I have saved my employer $1200 in printing and paper costs since I acquired my iPad - I no longer print anything thanks to Pages and GoodReader... Leave your bias at the door and just try the apps that make this possible, if we all recall the dotcom boom it was the nickel here and the dime there that was going to make business successful, Evernote is free to an extent, however I signed up for an annual subscription in the cloud for personal use and easily move between the devices that synch with it. The smart apps developers, and by this I mean the app developers who have thought through their apps to generate revenue, have great models for their business somewhat like a drug dealer, get you hooked on their app with limited but really useful features. Have some features that hide behind an in-app purchase and bingo, there is the revenue stream. Cost of entry to the iOS developer world is a Mac computer and an annual subscription of US$99 Last time I looked M$ developers shelled out hundreds if not thousands to cut code and use some form of CVS.... I can't speak for 'droid developers I am sure their costs are in the realm of iOS developers. As to the proprietary connector, have you looked at what is on those connectors? Hmm, I can get VGA, HDMI, SD Memory, USB port, charge it and get Audio, on that connector. If you don't like it don't buy it - and don't whinge about, show Apple that you mean it by not giving them your hard earned $, give it to someone who fulfils your desires... My 18 Month old and 3 year old and my 90 year old mother can use my iOS and Mac devices, they can't immediately use the other platforms such as android but that is not important at the end of the day, it waht you like and find convenient to use. If Apple got it wrong, why are there so many copycats? have a great day

T3CHN0M4NC3R
T3CHN0M4NC3R

Oh come on. My HTC Desire can do the same with GTasks sync'ed to Google so I can access all my notes on any internet enabled devices.

thoiness
thoiness

If they could lower the cost by a few hundred, it would make an excellent toy for younger kids. They can draw, they can buy apps and games, and they could even paint with it. It would provide endless hours of entertainment, minus the fact that it doesn't support flash. My phone often times provides the same level of entertainment to my 7 year old, and consequently, me as well. Business practicality of my phone? Negligible, minus the occasional important e-mail. Entertainment value? Far greater. I'm pretty sure that all "business" justifications for this device are a derivative of the want to do the aforementioned, or just the notoriety we get when walking around with this big toy that matches our slick black suits. We are all kids when it comes to technology after all. Smart I.T. managers should recognize this and go with the more financially prudent, and usable solutions while encouraging your employees to purchase their toys themselves.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Very effective for determining 'keepers' and 'tossers'.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

"... all of what can be done with it has been doable in the PC/non-ipad world for over a decade now." You're right, it has--been an abject failure due to a severe lack of tablet-based software and a very poor implementation of touch/stylus interface. Windows simply isn't a touch-based OS and won't be as long as it has to remain compatible with point-and-click applications. Just this past week I've helped a client purchase a new PC that just happens to have a touch-screen display that is beautifully sensitive--but almost useless for any currently-available Windows software. You can't just touch (or double-touch) an app icon to get it to open, though the touch will highlight it. You can't move objects around by touch-and-drag. Quite honestly, with the exception of HP's and other brand-specific touch apps, the touchscreen is almost useless for Windows to date. The iPad quite honestly changed that paradigm. True, it's not an all-out PC like a laptop and doesn't even have some of the functionality (mainly Windows) of a netbook, but what it does do works very well and is quite literally more productive for the average user than either a laptop or a netbook--techies need not apply. The iPad replaces that paper-and-marker clipboard that shop foremen used to carry. The iPad replaces that huge debit book that insurance men used to wield. Now with its camera, the iPad can replace that insurance adjustor's notebook and camera when analyzing claims. It has so many productive, useful capabilities that can make your everyday job easier. It takes a seriously closed mind to overlook all the potential that such a device--it doesn't even have to be an Apple iPad--has.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I understand your argument about the Livescribe Echo, but I have to query that if you're carrying a clipboard with paper around anyway, why not use a tablet with a stylus instead. You don't risk having your papers blow away and you don't have to waste time later transcribing your written notes into a computer--especially if those 'field interviews' include a checklist that only take a mark and not full written notes. I do agree with you about the cameras--they have a usefulness for video conferencing and maybe augmented-reality purposes, but for everything else a purpose-built camera/camcorder is simply going to be better. That said, you could still download those images/videos to your tablet for previewing (surely you don't try to show your client the previews on the back of your camera) and even basic editing. Since you're carrying a clipboard anyway, all of a sudden you can do more and more easily than adding a laptop to the mix. You are right about the 'Swiss Army Knife' comparison, but honestly I have to consider a laptop/netbook computer as more such a device than a tablet--it's simply too bulky and slow to be effective at the task. A tablet is more like a pen-knife, somewhat limited of use but when combined with other specific-use tools does more in the long run. Don't think of a tablet as a stand-alone device, but rather as a supplemental one; giving you the tools you need when you need them without adding a lot of bulk and complexity to your tool kit.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I'm glad it works for you. I am getting a lot of use out of my Tablet too. I have been carying my 7" HTC Flyer (Android) at work for a few weeks now. The small form factor (it fits in my pocket), the instant on, and the ability to hold it in one hand and write or type notes that automatically sync up to the cloud (EverNote) make this tool very useful in my line of work. (IT) My only problem is the assumption from co-workers that the company bought it for me. I have a great answer to their question on how to get one though. It's simple. You do as I did. Go to the electronics store and buy one. How many other people find themselves in this situation?

MacNewton
MacNewton

Your hit the nail on the head! Now that the iPad is a stand-alone Computer, More Windows users that are running WinXP , will just replace it with a iPad. The will end up with a product that will do more, easer to use and now have access to a lot more Fun. Sometime in the near future Apple will be running TV advertisement with this very message. When that starts up, your going to hear them walling and crying and weeping, shouting from the roof tops. There is now no way for M$ to recover!

dave.miller
dave.miller

I couldn't justify getting an iPad unless I was willing to give up another device. The iPad does what I need it to when I'm move. As someone who supports end-users, I see people using there computers (usually laptops so big that they might as well be desktops) to do web-based work, check email, and type. Evernote Dropbox/DropItToMe, Dragon Dictate, and Safari pretty much covers it for me. Evernote gives me so much flexibility while taking notes that I actually wind up typing very little. As someone who does a lot of video editing, I'd rather skip the notebook and put that money into a high-end desktop. If you are one of those folks who still pushes paper and does a lot a of printing, not yet embracing The Cloud, than the iPad is not for you.

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

Accomplish the same things the unreasonably pricy iPad does?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I know Microsoft has been promoting tablets for over a decade, the palmtop before that and (horrors!) The Apple Newton before that, but with the advent of the iPad, the tablet has truly become a useful product because it changes the paradigm that previous tablet-like devices used.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

With your insistence on paper and pencil for note-taking in a meeting, you are demonstrating an extreme lack of efficiency. Technology-oriented managers have proven that the adoption of new technologies can and do improve efficiency, reducing the need to waste time by copying their notes into their computers and re-iterate the main points or details multiple times after each meeting. Laptop computers demonstrated this efficiency but had a tendency to hide the people from their peers. Tablets can and do demonstrate better efficiency because, like a paper notepad, it can be held in the hands and updated on the move, especially useful for any presenter in a meeting, a doctor checking on his patients, a sales rep visiting a client or even a foreman monitoring the progress of his job. Such a closed-minded attitude is one of the reasons why IT has been the single most costly department of major corporations since the desktop computer entered the marketplace.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... then you must really be griping about the prices of the Android equivalents. I have one question: Where can you get a netbook with handwriting recognition that you can write on? Who makes it? What OS? And finally, if it exists, why hasn't it been outselling the iPad?

JJFitz
JJFitz

when people can't help but bring in their political views in every conversation. " The businesses who have tons of money to waste (like publicly funded offices) " I am sure that the Tea Party has their own forum where you can bash public funding. Let's try to stick to technology on this forum. Thank you.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Desperate effort to convince businesses to buy? Good lord, man! I've seen so many excuses against that it's silly, and most of the arguments themselves show a desperate attempt to deny that technology is leaving them behind! Most companies are wasting money by buying laptops for purposes that a tablet could perform better. OS compatibility isn't nearly as big an issue as it used to be since nearly every developer is capable of producing Word (Office) compatible formats. I might accept that tablet security may not be the best, but when compared to Android's sinking ship, iOS is full of ping-pong balls (WWII reference) staying afloat in a minefield. Tablets, iPads anyway, are remarkably easy to support by IT if you only bother to look. I'll tell you now that if you don't at least study the form factor and be ready for it, you and your department may see new people coming in and replacing you.

jimtravis
jimtravis

Nice scenario you described, but it sounds like any decent tablet could accomplish the tasks you mentioned plus additonal tasks due to the competition's less restricted file access. With Android, or Windows devices, Dropbox is significantly more flexible particularly for uploading. I constantly see comments about a young child, or elderly parent can use the iPad. If that is an important feature, fine. I don't have a 3 year old, and unfortunately my elders are no longer with me. If you spend 10 minutes drag / dropping icons, you can make Android, or Windows look identical to what a child, or elder is expecting, plus give them more flexibility when they progress. Since this is a business oriented site, a 3, or 90 year old user is probably not a chief purchase criteria. I tried an iPhone, and iPad. For my needs, they are both too restricted; however, I realize iOS devices could be a perfect match for others, and the devices are slick / smooth. I do agree that a user should buy the product that works for them while realizing other platforms are good, and may meet the needs of others more completely.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... that makes any kind of reading or sketching difficult, especially when you're trying to work with a co-worker/customer. Your HTC Desire may do the job, but does it really do it as well as you need? A larger tablet--I don't care what OS--simply gives you more room to work without restricting you to working on a table somewhere.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... especially for note-taking, referencing and presentation. You may consider it a toy, but there are times in a business when a notebook is just too much machine for the job.

JJFitz
JJFitz

My CEO is a bit technophobic which I think may be a generational thing. She insists that anyone in a meeting with her set their phones to vibrate and keep them put away. I have to agree with her on that. Taking calls during a meeting and surfing on a smartphone is rude and disrepectful unless you are getting information that moves the discussion forward. She actually asked me if there was a way that I could block cell phone communication from all of the conference rooms but I managed to talk her down from that ledge. :) She has also banned laptops for the same reason you mentioned Vulpine. They set up a barrier between the laptop user and all others. The only exception is that I am allowed to use my Windows convertible tablet. :) She said to the group that she knows that I am taking notes and not surfing the web because I have a pen in my hand. (whatever works) Now that I have an HTC Flyer with instant on, handwritten notetaking, and great portability, I find myself taking more electronic notes and leaving the Windows Tablet in its dock more often. EverNote is ok but I do miss MS OneNote and hope that Microsoft gets their act in gear and releases an Android version soon.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... which really emphasizes the point of this entire article; tablets, not just iPads, can do far more than the Apple naysayers have argued from the beginning. Microsoft tried to push that concept ten years ago just as the palmtop computers were beginning to fade due to their limited capabilities. The palmtops themselves tried to push that concept with some success, until people on average realized just how limited they were in true functionality (though admittedly the smart phone became an extension of the palmtop concept). Probably the first effective hand-held tablet computer was the Newton--another Apple product. The Newton offered portable capabilities no other predecessor device could match, but in many ways it was ahead of its time. Handwriting recognition, mobile document creation and editing, database monitoring and updates, it proved to be a boon for the medical field in particular, but at the price it was too expensive for consumer adoption with a company that had a tiny user base compared to Microsoft. Apple, through intensive and thorough analysis and testing--using the iPhone/iPod Touch as a testbed--proved that a tablet-sized device could be and is a viable intermediate computing device that is far better than the netbook for the way most people used them. In fact, it's proving to even replace laptops themselves for many people. I know it has for me.

thoiness
thoiness

1. I bring my laptop with full flash capabilities and Power Point. I'd never suggest going to a development meeting with only 1/2 the internet displayable. 2. Note taking: Either a piece of paper I can scribble on, or my laptop. 3. Referencing: The laptop. Let's say I'm lost in the desert and don't want to carry around my laptop (I mean, we have to stretch this example to make it work). My phone will substitute for all of those features, and it fits in my pocket so I can free up my hands when not in use! I see one use that doesn't make this an overpriced shiny toy: Doctors offices. But they've been using Windows tablets for nearly a decade, so what difference does it make to them? My phone even does text to speech REALLY well! So if it's about the keyboard (which is bad on the iPad), I can just talk to the damn thing and it writes it for me!

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I won't deny that some people need more desktop OS capability when they're mobile, but they really are in the minority, maybe 5% as compared to the way tablets are now being used. Prior to this current generation of tablets, most laptops/netbooks were grossly under-used. For my own purposes, I've almost completely stopped using my laptops because I simply don't need them any more unless I'm going to be away from my desktop for more than a couple days.

gadgetlover
gadgetlover

The article focused on the iPad which is OK because the author was describing his experience with the iPad. Just wanted to add that the tasks he described could be accomplished just as easily with any decent tablet. A non-tech person reading the article may think other tablets were not capable of accomplishing those same tasks. I used the Newton 1000, the 130, and the 2100. They were nice, but I was more productive with Palm's Graffiti than the Newon's handwriting recognition. Also, the 2100 was like a brick to carry around compared to the lighter, less expensive, pocketable, and yes less powerful Palm Pilot. For many users, the light, inexpensive PIM only Casio / Sharp devices met all their needs. I do realize the Newton had a niche market in the medical field. Ironically, if I remember correctly, Jobs killed the Newton shortly after he returned to Apple. As far as the iPad being better than a netbook, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you can live within the iPad's restrictions, and are OK with virtual keyboards, it is a nice alternative, but in some cases, a netbook, Android tablet, Windows tablet, or ULV laptop could be a better match for the tasks you wish to accomplish. I am not saying the iPad is a bad device, it is a slick device that is fun to use. I am saying that in some cases, an alternative "mobile" device could be a better choice.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

1. With that laptop you must either use a separate remote control or keep returning to it to advance pages. Meanwhile, the iPad (any tablet should, really) lets you move around the display and physically emphasize your points, making you far less boring as you create a dynamic presentation. 2. With that piece of paper you still have to manually enter the note into your database (computer) while your laptop still has to be set down to type anything onto it. 3. Again, you're stuck with having to set that blasted big hunk of plastic down on something to use it unless you have one of the more expensive convertible models which even then aren't all that capable without a stylus that you may or may not have lost. As for your desert scenario, I won't argue a smart phone is a better choice; there are some places you simply might not carry something larger unless you're carrying a backpack, That said, a tablet might serve more than one use as the reflective glass display might be just enough larger to catch the attention of a search aircraft. After all, when you're lost in the desert, you'll use any tool that comes to hand. Doctors' offices, at least the ones I've gone to, don't use tablets, they use standard laptops while up to now most hospitals have been using laptops mounted on roll-around cabinets with a big battery pack to power them. A compact, lightweight tablet fits in the pocket of their frock easily and offers all the capabilities of the older laptop that they need at a lower cost. Finally, the iPad at least does have text to speech capability with apps like Dragon Dictate and others. The keyboard is by no means bad--I've seen a deaf/mute using one in a sales position very effectively--once you get used to it. If you can thumb-type on a smart phone, it's much, much easier on a tablet-sized device because there's much less risk of miskeying--or haven't you noticed how easy it is to press the wrong key even with a physical keyboard on your smart phone?