When I wrote about why the iPad is significant, I stated that the iPad is a computer for everyone. While many people still see it as a media consumption device, I predict that it will ultimately replace the need for traditional computers. This is especially true for casual, non-business users.
The iPad goes well beyond an entertainment device. It supports the most common functions that one would expect from a desktop or notebook computer, including:
- Books, Magazines, and Newspapers
- Word Processing
It also simplifies the user experience by hiding unnecessary operating system layers, like the file system. Instead, the user is presented with icons that represent the application and task they want to perform. And with the introduction of iPhone OS 4.0, common computing elements, like multitasking, will complete the necessary features required to make it compete with traditional computers.
Apple Pages for iPad
One of the most common computing tasks is word processing. Apple made an iPad version of Pages, which is supposed to bring word processing to the iPad. I put it to the test to see if the iPad could truly work as a word processer – negating the need for a traditional computer.
The iPad version of Pages has most of the commonly used features of its Mac OS cousin. Documents were easy to style, and many of the page layout features that people are accustomed to on the Mac OS version are there. In fact, they’re fun to use. For example, you get to move and rotate images with your fingers.
There are some features missing though. For example, there’s no view for Page Info. So if you wanted to know your word count, you’re out of luck. However, Pages for iPad makes up for missing features with its minimalist functionality. Most of what you need is there, and unlike a traditional computer, working in one application helps keep you from getting distracted.
Once you’ve finished writing your document, and you want to share it, you can easily email it, export it (for syncing with a computer), or make it available on Apple’s iCloud.com. One notable feature that is missing from the iPad is printing. I’m not sure how they plan to handle this in the future, but it’s certainly going to become an issue if the iPad has a chance at replacing the need for a traditional computer. This problem may also be solved by Google’s Cloud Print initiative.
Writing Pages documents on the iPad is a breeze, especially if you’re using Apple’s keyboard dock for the iPad. It makes writing a pleasure, but it’s also great for using on other applications. I plan on leaving my seventeen inch MacBook Pro at home, and taking the keyboard dock and iPad instead. It’s a lot lighter, the battery lasts longer, and it’s the perfect size for airplanes and coffee shops.