Adam’s Guide to the iPad

The iPad is the computer I have been waiting for my whole life. It is easy to use, portable, quiet, and quite frankly, magical. The iPad is my personal computer; I sold my MacBook after realizing how much I was neglecting it in favor of the iPad. Yet, there are things you cannot do on the iPad. Or at least, there are somethings I cannot do on the iPad. The hardware itself is not the problem. I have the now aged iPad 2, and in the last year I have owned it, I have never thought the processor should be faster or the RAM should be larger. (The 32GB of storage is limiting, and I highly recommend the new 128GB iPad).

Finding apps is not a problem. There are so many apps for the iPad, the only problem is picking the best apps. There are more free apps for the iPad than apps for competing platforms. These are my go to free apps:

Adam's Favorite Free Apps

Productivity is not a problem. This entire post was typed on a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover at regular speed. The iPad also has a bevy of office apps, a plethora of PDF apps, multitudes of photo and video editing apps, and hordes of task management apps. In fact, you can probably do more on the iPad than you can do on a regular PC or Mac.
Finding internet storage is not a problem. Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, etc all provide some amount of free storage. Documents by Readdle has become my de facto file system for the iPad. Documents is completely 100% free and I can connect it to nearly any cloud storage service and then downloaded my essential documents to the iPad.
Documents by Readdle

Documents Works with Any Cloud Storage

Oddly or perhaps ironically, while transfering files to and from the cloud is easy, transfering files locally is excruciatingly difficult. The iPad has no native way of connecting to drives and computers on a local network. Some apps like Photosync will connect to local FTP servers, assuming you have the local FTP server set up correctly. (I am not about to buy a server to test the app.) And of course you can transfer files in Rube Goldberg like chain from the iPad to cloud storage to the family computer and finally to network attached storage. For large files such as a 10 minute video, I have yet to find a cloud service that will accept the huge upload size. In an odd twist, you can transfer files from an SD card, iPhone, or camera with a Camera Connection kit, but you cannot transfer files to an SD card, iPhone, or camera. Apple should add local file transfer to iOS 7.
drawing made with Sketchbook Pro

This would have looked better on real paper.

Drawing is another sore point I have with the iPad. I downloaded Sketchbook Pro, the premiere drawing app for the iPad, and found the app to be much more difficult to use than pen and paper. The app itself is fine. The problem is my big fat finger. The iPad was made for finger input, not stylus input. Most styluses for the iPad have big fat rubbery tips to mimic fingers. These drawing apps show demos of some really good looking art made on the iPad, but I guarantee the artists creating the demos would have worked faster and produced better results with pen and paper. My kids do not mind; their tiny fingers are about the same size as their Crayons.
Aside of file transfer and digitizer issues, the iPad works as well as or better than a traditional computer in all respects. The drawing failure is not so much the iPad’s fault as a marketing issue. The iPad is held out as the next big thing in art and for my kids, that is true. Cintiq and Wacom can feel safe in the viability of their products. Some business apps, like PDF mark-ups, would also benefit from a finer stylus input. The file transfer issue is a vexing conundrum, especially when someone hands you a USB thumb drive.

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