iPad Productivity: Shortcomings exposed

Posted on by Mike Evans

This week’s announcement of the “productive” Microsoft Surface tablet has again raised the question of the iPad’s true vocation: media consumpton tablet or productive workhorse. As I have said on numerous occasions, the iPad is a wonderful device but it falls down in some crucial areas.

I find it difficult to manipulate photographs and properly edit posts for this site. More seriously, working with Pages or Numbers is frustrating because of the current inability of iCloud to synchronise with the corresponding Mac apps[1]. On the plus side, working with text files is perfectly acceptable by using Dropbox as a sync platform.

I was interested to read tonight that my friend Pietro Montalcino of had decided to conduct his blog entirely from iOS devices.[2] I wished him luck, because I haven’t had much success and constantly need to retreat to a Mac to edit picture placement or make final adjustments. Earlier this week MG Siegler made the identical points.

Now, sixteen days later, Pietro has thrown in the towel. In frustration he has dusted off his trusty old iBook G4 that had been sitting on a shelf for several years. Surprisingly, the little old machine sprang into life and has proved up to the task. More up to it, in fact, than the 2012 iPad.

Apple should address the issue of productivity and grasp the opportunity given by the six-month lead time before the Surface surfaces. The iPad is a great device. It wouldn’t be selling in such numbers if it were not. But there is a section of the customer base, probably not that large in fact but in reality extremely influential, that could be tempted away by a light, productive tablet with an integral keyboard.

For the moment the MacBook Air fills the void, but Microsoft is about to offer a bridge device that will be attractive, especially to Windows users who would otherwise have considered defecting to Apple’s ecosystem.

  1. Documents from the Mac can be opened on the iPad and iPad documents can be sent back to the Mac, but there is currently no true sync. This, I understand, is to be rectified with the introduction of Mountain Lion next month and it will go a long way to improving the productivity capabilities of the Apple tablet.  ↩

  2. The decision was a temporary affair since he had sold off his MacBook Pro and was waiting for last week’s new model lineup. He has to wait a few more weeks before buying the new device.  ↩

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