My 30 Days With the iPad experience is coming to an end. That means it's time to reflect back over the past month and sum things up. Despite the frequent claims of Apple fanboyism, it hasn't been all sunshine and roses, and I have my share of issues with the iPad--at least as a replacement for a Windows 7 notebook.
Don't get me wrong--I love the iPad. However, my appreciation for the iPad as a tablet in its own right does not automatically translate to loving the iPad as a full-time replacement for my notebook. With that said, here are my five biggest complaints about the iPad as PC.
1. Virtual Keyboard. Going into this project, I received a number of warnings, suggestions, and inquiries related to whether or not I planned to use a wireless physical keyboard. I did end up resorting to a Bluetooth keyboard, but in fairness it is not the virtual keyboard itself that I have a problem with.
The problem is that the iPad display isn't very large to begin with, and the virtual keyboard takes up half of it. As for the actual typing, I like the virtual keyboard--but I can't sacrifice so much screen real estate on a 9.7-inch screen.
2. File Management. I understand that the tablet is a different animal than a PC. The goal of the 30 Days With the iPad project was to figure out if an iPad can replace a PC in terms of functionality and productivity--not to try to make the iPad be a PC. That said, it would be nice if the iPad had some sort of common data storage native to the tablet.
Using services like Box.net, or the Files Connect app are good workarounds for actually storing and retrieving files, but iOS needs a file system that is shared between apps in a consistent manner. It doesn't need to be the traditional file and folder system per se. It just needs to be something more core to iOS and less dependent on individual apps.
3. Safari. I don't like Safari. I have never really liked Safari. But, like every other iOS user, I have been held hostage and stuck using Safari on my iPhone and iPad. There are two things in particular I dislike about Safari on the iPad--switching between different browser screens, and the fact that it's "Safari on the iPad".
The current method of switching from one browser screen to another involves tapping a button that brings up a display of tiles showing all open windows, or a blank one to open a new Web page. It is cumbersome and tedious. Thankfully, iOS 5 will change Safari to be a tabbed browser, so that problem should be fixed shortly.
I'm not aware of a fix for the other issue any time soon. The problem is that the browser is not detected by websites as just a Safari browser--it is detected as a Safari browser on an iPad which results in limited functionality in many cases. No, I am not talking about Flash. I don't care about Flash. I am talking about things like trying to use Google Docs or Office 365 and having it work differently than it would if I opened the same sites or services in Safari on a Mac or Windows PC.