Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reasons why the iPad rocks-#2 iWork

As I said in my previous post, I am a bit of a fan of iWork for the iPad. Sure, it has limitations, some of which are infuriating (lack of subscript/superscript for one) but when you consider the price, iWork really is excellent value. OK, it doesn't have the power of Microsoft Office but then it doesn't cost the best part of a hundred pounds and up and it runs on IOS which MS Office doesn't do (yet).

For me, the best part of iWork isn't what it does (basic office document production) but how it does it. It was Pages that convinced me to buy an iPad, I loved the way it worked with the touch interface. Keynote and Numbers are the same. The apps are very tactile, I never thought I would actually enjoy producing a spreadsheet but Numbers is really nice to use, it might not be the mighty Excel but it is fun. Ditto Keynote, it doesn't have half the functionality of PowerPoint but it is enjoyable to use and this is all down to the tactile nature of the touch interface. Don't get me wrong, MS Office is a superb package and very powerful and I certainly couldn't survive without access to either full iWork or Office but then the iPad isn't about replacing your computer, it's about complimenting it and iWork does a superb job of complimenting your full Office software. Most of the productivity work I do is simple documents. Worksheets, Presentations and the odd spreadsheet. Most can be fully accomplished in iWork for iPad, occasionally I start a document in iWork on the iPad and have to finish it elsewhere (usually hyperlinked presentations and more complex spreadsheets) and very occasionally, I can only do the document in a full office program (usually spreadsheets as I use conditional formatting a lot).

I love the way the iWork apps work and I love the iPad work flow. You start a blank document (I never use the templates, they look really good but I always start with a blank one, I don't really know why, I just do), click, type, click, hold, select, format. All very tactile. You want to add a picture, click the home button or double click for fast app switching, click on Safari, search for your picture, find it, click on it (all steps you would take on a normal PC/Mac) then hold and select save picture. Done! Non of that tedious right click (or ctl click if you are a Mac user and still have a 1 button mouse!), Save As, select your folder by clicking a couple of times etc. Then you have to get your picture into your document, insert, picture from file, navigate to folder etc. Nah, click on media, select saved photos and select your photo, brilliant (now, I know you can copy and paste from the web but I'm assuming you work like I do and always save pictures to your hard drive in case you want to use them again). This may seem trivial to an experienced ICT user but remember, I spend all day teaching kids how to use ICT and they can never get file structure. I have seen 16 year olds download a game every time they want to play it as they cannot remember where they originally saved it to! Try getting them to find a picture they just downloaded to add into a piece of work they don't really want to do. Kids live in a world where everything is stored on the web, they don't really want copies of stuff on their computers like adults do they don't get saving and file structure. iPads lack of file structure is actually useful in this situation and for me, I just copy stuff i want to keep to Dropbox and then delete it off the iPad.

Anyway, below are a couple of example of document I have produced on the iPad. The first is a worksheet I used with year 7 as a starter to them setting up and using their MiniBooks. The sheet uses a picture I got off the web, blanked out using iDraw and then exported back to photos, and a table. Not very inspiring but it did the job and got year 7 talking and searching which was the intention. This sheet was done completely in Pages on the iPad and has never seen a full OS.

The spreadsheet is just an example I did too get used to Numbers. I wanted to see how easy it was to format (limited but very easy) and how good the chart function was (again, limited but probably good enough for most users).

As I have said before, if your answer to this post is "I could do all that and more on my Dell ZX 75000 Extreme Turbo 4950 slimline running Windows 7 (Home User Premier Professional Edition with additional multi-media add on and special error message package)" then this post is not for you. The average person in the street doesn't care about folders, file structure, the number of USB ports and IF THEN statement. They want to surf the net, write stuff on Facebook and send a type the odd letter. iPad is for these people. I want a light, fast, instant on computer that allows me to make worksheets and presentations, research, read books, play music and videos, make music and not have to worry about constantly fixing/servicing a full OS, where I save files to etc and a machine I can fit in my saddle bag. The iPad is for me. Enjoy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: