It’s been a few days since I did an update on the iPad experiment. I am now 97 hours into the experiment and I feel like I can start to draw some conclusions. But first, an update on a few things
Printing still has not been accomplished. I have found several apps that claim to handle printing but none of them can locate my network printers, so to date I have not been able to print from the iPad.
OneNote still can’t be beat. I can’t find any of the plethora of notepad apps for iPad that come close to the power of OneNote. I did find one app that claims to be able to sync with my laptop OneNote. After following the steps to get them to sync multiple times, I’m still stuck in the ‘fail’ stage. I can see the laptop in the iPad app, but when I try to sync them, the app piece that runs on the laptop never prompts me to connect with the iPad as the directions indicate it should.
So my conclusions. The bluetooth keyboard makes the iPad exponentially more useful as an input device, and it remains an incredible output device for reading and portable web browsing and media viewing whether or not there is a keyboard.
It does some very cool integration with online storage. The QuickOffice app seamlessly connects with Google Docs, SkyDrive, Box.net and other online storage providers. Its very slick.
Battery life is great. I am only charging the iPad every over day which is awesome.
Where the iPad is really falling short as a laptop replacement is in applications and integration. The apps available are generally very basic and not as feature rich as the apps you would find on a Windows or Mac OS PC or laptop.
Printing is horrible. None of the printing apps I tried worked, and even if they did, they are not integrated with the other apps. Meaning that to print something, I would first have to create the document in QuickOffice, save it locally to the iPad storage, then open a separate app. Within that app I would have to open the document and THEN I could print it. Native OS support for printing is far too limited in that it only supports AirPrint devices, and very few of these exist.
In some ways, its a throwback to the very early days of computing when DOS and early versions of Windows left users looking for ways to share data between applications and you always had to cross your fingers when you tried to print.
Honestly, setting aside the cool factor, I find that my Samsung net book offers me the same portability and is much more feature rich than the iPad.
I am sure it will evolve and one day the story may be much better. For now, I am going to stick with my commitment to use this as a laptop replacement for 7 days – meaning no laptop until Tuesday at 2:30 PM. I eagerly await that moment, as I will definitely be happier using my laptop as a laptop and my iPad as an iPad.