It took me over a year to get used to typing on my iPhone. I persevered, however, and liked the other features enough to overlook the fact that I could no longer peck out an email on my blackberry at lightening speed without the danger of interjecting odd (and hopefully not inappropriate) words. Despite the fact that I had grown to love my iPhone, I couldn’t see how I would use an iPad however. Wasn’t it just a giant iPhone? A step backwards from what I already carried around in the palm of my hand?
And then I received the 16 lb. bag of books and course packs for our summer quarter.
I am traveling for an extended period of time this summer so lugging all that around would really cut into my baggage allowance. It is pain enough to carry everything you need for a study session around Chicago – I certainly didn’t want to have those books weighing me down while traveling if I could help it.
Once I started thinking of the advantages of an iPad and how I might be able to use it, in typical fashion I got very impatient and couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. I turned into one of those fanatics lined up outside the Apple store when they opened in the morning, hoping that they had received a new shipment. I couldn’t possibly wait two weeks to order one! I ended up with the line 64GB, Verizon capable model in large part because I didn’t want to wait for one with a smaller hard drive. I am not using the iPad for movies or music which take up a lot of space but after three months of use I surprisingly have only 10GB free so I think I made the right choice. (More on that later however.) I also planned to get only the wi-fi capable model and not one that was Verizon enabled but now I am very glad I have both options. I haven’t activated a contract yet but I hear you can do it month to month and considering how much I am now using it, I will almost certainly do that when I am back in country.
I wanted to play with my new toy before I left for the summer so that I could get used to using it, work out the kinks and see if I could avoid taking not only my books with me over the summer, but also (gasp) my laptop. It has been several months and I am now using this nifty little device for just about everything. I have been sharing my personal tips and favorite apps with classmates and friends so I thought I would pass on that information here in case anyone is considering buying one for school and needs to justify it to a significant other as a legitimate school expense!
DISCLAIMER: I am no expert on this topic nor an IT guru. I do not work for Apple or any company that designs these apps. I am a simple user and know only enough to be dangerous. My young love for this little device may blind me to some of its faults so read on at your own discretion. I look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions and all about your favorite apps – please share below!
Before I dive into the details here are the highlights;
I have access to almost everything I need in one place. This one gadget, no bigger than a thin notebook, has replaced my laptop, course packs, textbooks, notebooks, travel books, newspaper, magazines and calculator. It’s easy to carry around with me and read through a financial strategy case when I have a few unplanned minutes to study. I can quickly reference notes from a lecture I went to last semester, a book I read two years ago, or my calendar for next week. I can jot down notes on the fly, sit and type a blog post while waiting for a flight, play suduko, or learn Thai on this thing. I have been converted and am willing to work through the challenges but there are some worth mentioning.
The apps don’t talk to each other. I am not a techy so I expect that I might have some of these details wrong but not being able to access the file structure to save and access things where I want is a pain. I am not using this in conjunction with a computer so transferring things with iTunes is not an option. There is no real USB interface (see the Photos section below) so I end up emailing things to myself, then saving to DropBox (also below) and pulling them off there to modify, re-emailing and repeating the process. Not efficient. People have jail broken their iPads to get around this to some extent and say that works well but there are dangers to doing that. I am going to investigate.
No Flash! Apple’s browser, Safari, will not interface with Adobe Flash and consequently won’t load a lot of web pages (or some content on them.) This is simply annoying most of the time but downright problematic on occasion when there is no way to fill out a form without going to a PC. Supposedly these two tech giants are working out an agreement to remedy this issue but does anyone know how to load a different browser or another way around this in the mean time?