Business Hardware

Five Things the iPad Needs to be Complete

I pre-ordered the Apple iPad, so it has been a month now--or near enough--that I have had my 32 GB WI-Fi iPad. I have had ample opportunity to try it out in different scenarios and form a reasonable opinion about both its capabilities and its inadequacies.

I love the iPad. It is my default mobile platform. It is lighter, thinner, smaller, and faster (for at least some tasks) than my notebook, yet still allows me to do virtually everything I might need to do while on the go.

It's not perfect, though. Here are five things that I feel the iPad needs to be complete and to truly enable me to be productive anywhere and anytime.

1. File Management. The iPad--whether you choose the 16Gb, 32Gb, or 64Gb model--has a finite amount of memory to work with. There is no way to upgrade or expand the storage capacity of the device, so it makes sense that you don't really want to store files on the iPad. Storing data on the device itself also makes it a greater risk should it be lost or stolen.

Fair enough. It's a mobile platform in a cloud-driven world and I can store my files on Box.net, or iWork.com, or Google Docs, or a Windows Live SkyDrive, etc. There are plenty of free or low-cost options for storing data on the Internet.

However, the iPad doesn't even make accessing those files simple or intuitive. I can view a file in Box.net, but in order to work with it in Pages or Numbers I have to e-mail it to myself, open the file attachment, then tap the button at the top right of the display to open the file in the appropriate app.

What a convoluted pain from a company that prides itself on an intuitive interface and exceptional user experience. Not storing data on the iPad itself makes sense, but let's figure out how to streamline access to cloud-based files.

2. Embedded Links. This may not come up on a regular basis for other users, but one of the most glaring deficiencies of the iPad--or more specifically of the iWork for iPad Pages app--for me is the inability to add or embed URL's in a document. I use the iPad to write articles such as this one (although not this particular one) when I am away from my home office, but adding links to other articles and resources is less than intuitive as well.

What I do is insert asterisks to note where I would like to link the text or embed a URL, then e-mail the file in Word format to myself so I can open it in Microsoft Word once I return to my desk, add the necessary links, and post it online.

If I am not returning to my desk, I suppose I could connect from the iPad using the VPN capabilities, upload the content, and add the links from within the article publishing tool at PCWorld, but embedding links is not exactly a cutting edge feature and ought to be expected within apps like Pages and Numbers.

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