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Doug's Mailbag: Tablet Advice

Doug is thinking about picking up an iPad and asked whether it works for the business setting. Here's some of your responses:

I'm not convinced it's good for on the job. In addition to spending a lot of time on the Internet, I also spend a lot of time in MS-Office apps: Word, Excel, a little PowerPoint and some MS-Access to boot. If an iPad, or any small tablet, could handle Office apps, I'd consider it, but it seems to me the iPad et al are being touted for the webmaniacs among us: Facebook, photos, videos, angry birds, etc. Can the iPad handle real work?

I do a lot of things out of my iPad 2 now. But there's something you still can't do easily with an iPad.

For example, when people send me an Excel file, I can't see what they highlighted. And it takes a long time to download. I can't open up Word to update my resume and send it out for job applications.

There's no Skype for iPad that supports 3G (don't remind me about FaceTime...). There's no Facebook for iPad, although there's a third-party app.

I cannot download music on the Internet and put it on iPad (don't tell me to buy from iTunes -- I am a Chinese and iTunes don't carry Chinese pop.).

I can't put my favorite movies from iPad (don't tell me about Netflix, as I pay them 10 dollars a month to see old movies only).

The list keeps on and on. But for Web browsing, e-mail and eBook reading, iPad works fine.

If you're going to wait until next Christmas, hold out a few more months for the iPad 3, which I expect will have more powerful graphics, a high-dpi "retina" display and launch at the usual iPad spring refresh time in 2012.

Use dropbox if you can, but watch out for corporate security restrictions (many policies won't allow storing confidential data on a service like dropbox).

Even with VDI, interacting with Windows user interface on an iPad can be a real PITA. Touch doesn't always translate well to apps designed for a kbd/mouse UI.

Get used to converting documents to .pdf if you want them to look right on iPad. The text comes across ok natively, but if formatting matters, you need PDF.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/20/2011 at 1:18 PM


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