A Tablet Is Not A Computer

For years, when traveling I took my laptop with me. This was always worrisome, as it is my prime computer and all of my files are on it, including emails, important documents, photographs, etc. It was also fairly heavy. It resided in my camera bag when traveling, and the rest of the time it was in my room. I have it backed up, (see my blog on backups), but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of restoring everything if it was stolen, which fortunately it never was.

When Apple came out with the iPad in 2010, I felt that it would perhaps be the intermediate step between my iPhone and my MacBook Pro. I was curious, but having an aversion to “Model One – Number One”, I decided to wait and see how customers felt about the machine. Of course, the response was overwhelming. Criticisms were leveled, such as not being equipped with a USB input and not having enough storage space. I was not in a great hurry to purchase, as I felt that my iPad would be WIFI only and not enough establishments at that time had WIFI, or it was locked and the password was not available. Also, I felt that with the early machines storage would be an issue.

What drove me to finally purchase an iPad was, of all things, when Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc. declared that tablets (and the iPad specifically) were “post PC computing“. I found out that, at this stage of the game, one has to take the word “computing” as a generic term.

What I should have done was to research what the iPad could do, and what it couldn’t do. After my purchase, I ran across a simple way of understanding your computer needs in an article by Daniel Nations.

As Daniel says, “Many people use their laptop or desktop PC primarily for checking email, finding out what friends and family are up to on Facebook, playing casual games and browsing the web. Those are all things that the iPad can not only do, but in some cases, even outperform the laptop. For casual gaming, the iPad easily comes out on top. Not only does it have cheaper games, it has a huge app store full of them. The iPad can also excel at browsing the web or checking Facebook, being much lighter and more comfortable to hold while curled up on the couch.”

Then he goes on to say that a desktop/laptop computer user should make a list of the applications that she uses on her machine. Then keep the list handy and every time she uses an app or something like Spotlight, she writes it down. After 10 days or so, she should match this list to what she can accomplish on the iPad. This is great advice.

In my case, as a photographer/designer, it is obvious that there is no “heavy lifting” going on with the iPad. Here are some examples: “Pages”, Apple’s word processing program has a limited number of fonts and others cannot be downloaded to this program; importing pictures to the “Photos” app removes the file names and important data; apps such as “PhotoShop Touch” and “iDraw” are light weights compared to Photoshop and Illustrator; if you want to use “Flash” – forget it; in Pages, it is impossible to attach documents to email, etc. etc.

iPad users will be quick to point out that there are ways around these limitations, such as jailbreaking the iPad so Pages can download any font; that you can get applications to help you attach documents by importing them into that app first; that you can get apps that save the file names of images; etc.

Workarounds is what I call them. And yesterday when I used my iPad to go to an airline website to check in for a flight, it was built in “Flash”. And “Spotlight” only finds contacts and emails, not documents.Thanks Apple!

So caveat emptor. I thought I would be into “post PC computing”, only to find that I have purchased a larger and more expensive version of my iPhone, and it doesn’t make calls.

My sister has an iPad mini that she loves. Her uses for it are generally for social media and email. She had changed the default signature to read, “Sent from My Toy Tablet”. I would put the emphasis on “Toy”.

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