It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting here with an iPad.  It’s not mine, Cramlington decided we should get one as let’s face it, the buzz surrounding them could mean they become the next big thing in education.Apple's iPadGetting a chance to play with it this weekend has been “interesting”.   I’m not sure where it fits into my ICT use.   If I want to check out my favourite websites, my mobile phone (an HTC Desire – Android smartphone)  can view those sites easily.   The size and weight of the iPad makes it uncomfortable to hold and operate.  And if I want to do more complex tasks, my laptop takes care of those. 

Ultimately for me, the biggest issue with the iPad is the limitations of the browser.   The lack of a Flash player aside, I found plenty of other websites it just didn’t handle particularly well.  I had planned to write this post on the iPad this morning; in much the same way as I used my phone to post on one occasion.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to using iPad’s Safari.   The software was so limited it could not interact with the non-standard text box.*

At this point, I suddenly realised what the iPad is.   It’s an App-using tool, not a mini-laptop.  Rather than using the preinstalled programs if I want to accomplish something, “there’s an App for that”.    In fairness, that’s not much different from the PC experience.

Like netbooks before it, it’s very easy to expect a higher capability than the device can deliver.  Is it my fault or Apple’s that I made this assumption?  Given the price tag (£365 + VAT for the cheapest option) I think it’s a little of both.  

My conclusion then?  That will have to wait until I’ve installed some Apps.  Given that other school staff desperate to get their hands on it, my conclusion might be some time.   So for now, I’ll leave you with this thought:   What good is a browser that cannot view Flash?  Especially that 90% of educational resources are made using Flash.

* If I had wanted I could have installed the WordPress App and written the blog that way.  I haven’t, because it’s a shared resource and in order to install Apps, you have to register with Apple.  I’ll do that Monday with the school’s credit card.

5 Responses to iPad

  1. Yep. It is an app player. I’m an app developer and I’m still figuring out my ipad. In May I bought my ipad, loaded some apps, loaded travel books, and then went on a big train trip through China and Russia in June.
    I missed my big fat laptop. I also missed my 10 lb. Lonely Planet guides.
    Travel ebooks generally suck. Difficult to flip the pages and scan. Poor user interface. Publishers tend to put their books in with links, thinking that that makes an ebook. Even the ones that say designed for electronic use are difficult.
    My husband brought his Kindle–It was even slower and more awkward.
    Travel apps are in their infancy. But that was in May and I didn’t have time to research before I left and then on the road I was dependent on wifi in random places.
    The real bottom-line for me: It’s a great tool. It’s just a different tool. I’m on my laptop right now because I’m jumping from email to blogging to tweetdeck. I just haven’t figured out how to do it all on my ipad.
    But it’s lovely at my bedside loaded with favorite books and on flights with HD videos. Games pop.
    I see it as an amazing tool for kids and learning. Clean. Simple. Beautiful. Multimedia. Fast.
    We app developers have only begun to conceptualize the possibilities.

    • Graham Quince says:

      You’re definetly right about the possibilities, that’s why we’ve bought one to see what it’s capable of.

  2. DavidScubadiver says:

    Typing this on my iPad, and not having any trouble with it. I find it hard to believe that 90 percent of education websites require flash, but if it is true, it will change as more educators buy ipads.

    • Graham Quince says:

      Just to clarify, I didn’t say 90% of education websites require flash, I wrote that 90% of education resources require flash. Which is actually untrue. What I meant to say was educational interactive resources.
      But isn’t changing the way we do things because of new technology a case of the “tail waging the dog”?

  3. […] pop the word “iPad” into your post somewhere.   Actually given the amount of spam that post attracted maybe that’s not such a good […]

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