iPad Alone: Is it a replacement for a MacBook?

Posted on by Mike Evans

Three days into iPad ownership I did a brave thing: I left for a week abroad with only the new toy, leaving my MacBook Pro at home. Now for most things, the iPad is fine. Email, web browsing, text input (I brought an Apple Bluetooth keyboard) and reading is a breeze. But I soon discovered limitations, and blogging is one of them. 

We use Typepad for this blog and, normally, posts are created directly into Typepad's web-based text editor. This creates background HTML and makes it easy to format, insert photographs and generally fiddle with the post to get it right.

The Typepad text editor isn't the best in the world and it sometimes does unpredictable things. I've been complaining about it for months, as have other users, but to no avail. Usually, though, you can get it to work. 

On the iPad, for some reason I don't understand, it is impossible to input raw text or to compose in rich text. You just cannot select the input box by pressing the screen. Other boxes on the form work - including the title input - but not the main text area. You cannot even select the box in order to paste text copied from another application. This post is being created in HTML, but it isn't something I like doing and would prefer simply to enter the text. 

I am awaiting a response from Typepad on this particular issue.

It is only one issue, but it is symptomatic of the problems trying to do all your usual work on an iPad instead of a MacBook Pro. For instance, in order to add a photograph to a blog you need to browse to a folder and select a picture. This you cannot do on the iPad (nor on the iPhone) because of the lack of an accessible file structure. Typepad's iPhone app allows you to select a photograph from the phone's list of photos, but the image is just dumped at the top of the post in an unslightly way. 

The lack of multi-tasking (a problem that will be partially addressed in the autumn) is another reason why it is relatively difficult to work on the iPad. You cannot have another reference document open while you are working on a post or final draft. I find myself opening documents on the iPhone for reference while working on the iPad. For now, therefore, you need to be careful when venturing abroad with just an iPad. There are some things that a proper computer does so much better.

UPDATE: This is the response from Typepad and it does seem that there are real problems. I've lost a week of blogging thanks to the decision to rely on my new iPad. 

"We are aware of some of the issues that iPad's Safari browser has with composing in TypePad. This is due to Safari not being able to gracefully accept the scripts needed for the Rich Text editor. We do not have a solution at this time, unfortunately, though it is something we are definitely looking into. We may be restricted to how much we can do since we are limited to what Safari is capable of."

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