Monday, May 03, 2010

Additional iPad thoughts

I have now spent a couple of days with the iPad and find it more and more useful every day! I am just trying out features as I need them, not testing every little option on the device.

I just tried the USB camera connection component and the wired, full-size aluminum keyboard, but the iPad popped up a message that the keyboard accessory took too much power. So, I have moved to the iPad keyboard dock, and it works like a dream!

I have hand-carried the iPad, put it on a table, used it in landscape and portrait mode, and have concluded that it truly is a lap device. During the Jobs iPad announcement conference, when he showed it off for the first time, Steve was sitting with it resting on his legs. It really feels natural to use it that way, and, with the touch-screen interaction, it becomes a very usable personal device! (I hope schools that pilot classroom sets will remember to let students use the devices while sitting in easy chairs, and not tie them to a desk or table for use.)

I hooked up the iPad via the VGA connector to an external monitor today, and practiced going through a Keynote presentation while going into the Videos area to show movies and then going back into the Keynote presentation. It is not dis-similar to moving back and forth between a presentation and a helper app on a desktop, and the iPad is so quick, it really should not impact the audience as you go in and out of Keynote. One suggestion is to put both apps on your taskbar, at least for the presentation time, so you can easily locate the icons. (Tip: I am assuming you already know that you can actually put 6 icons on the taskbar, even though the default is 4.)

Today at lunch, of course I lugged (okay, carried) the iPad along to show it off. One teacher had a question about Twitter and three of us were comfortably able to view and share the screen when I showed them Tweetie in 2x view-- the big image is a tad fuzzy, but very usable. The teachers were not wowed by the iPad itself, but by the fact we could actually collaborate easily! w00t! I love being an unintentional mentor!

Being such a heavy iPhone user, I do miss having a camera. I downloaded Camera A and Camera B, which are two apps-- one that runs on the iPhone and one on the iPad. You start them both up, they connect with each other, and then the camera view on your iPhone shows up on the iPad. Once you take the photo, it is on the iPad! You really have to have a steady iPad hand, but it will work in a pinch! (Of course, you can always email yourself the photo from the iPhone...)

When I wrote my first iPad post, I noticed some weird things about Blogger. After doing some research, I found out Blogger's regular interface does not play well with the iPad, so I purchased the program I am using now, BlogPress, and it seems to work well with the iPad. We will see what the live post looks like in a few!

I attended a Discovery Educator Network webinar today via WebEx, and I tried to log-in with Safari on the iPad. That did not work because of the lack of Java support on the iPad. I then downloaded the WebEx app for iPad, but, since Discovery did not schedule their presentation directly through the WebEx meeting scheduler, I could not join via the iPad. The app informed me that I would have to use a computer to view that particular webinar. (This is just a reminder in case you want people with iPads to attend your WebEx!) I will be trying an Adobe Connect presentation tomorrow when I create a meeting on the computer and join with the iPad/iPhone client. It works well on the iPhone, so I am sure it will work on the iPad with no problem.

The only thing I am impatient about is waiting for updated iPad-designed versions of my favorite apps, like Tweetie, SlingPlayer, and some others that I use regularly. With the increased screen real estate of the iPad, it is great to see some of the updated apps and how they take advantage of the space to add additional features and/or allow more information to be viewed at one time.

That's it for now. Bottom is a fun, fast, intuitive, usable, useful, and the 3G is just the icing on the cake for anytime, anywhere access. I think Apple got it right!

- Kathy Schrock