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iPad: A Few Upgrades Short of Perfect

Don’t let the title of this post deceive you… I love my iPad.

In the time since it arrive (has it really been less than two months), I have found myself picking it up almost as often as my laptop.

Still, Apple’s little tablet is not perfect and, especially before it’s ready for classroom use, the designers need to implement several major upgrades to the OS.

First, they must develop an easy, consistent way to get files on and off the machine.

Plugging into a computer so it can act as an intermediary doesn’t make a lot of sense when this device has the potential to completely fulfill the computing/communications needs for many people.

The iPad should be able to connect with web-based storage utilities like Dropbox in order that files can be sent to and from various programs.

A few apps like GoodReader can already get files wirelessly from many different sources (even if the process is a little clunky) but this needs to be available from anywhere on the device.

Next, we need to be able to edit Google Docs, and other cloud-based documents creation systems, and not just view them.

It’s not likely the iPad will replace “normal” computers as the primary document creation device for most people but it still needs the capability to edit and update many common types of files, often in collaboration with others.

Then there’s the video out issue.

One essential function for any computing device used in a classroom is the ability to show materials to groups of students on a large screen or projector.

This is a feature in a few apps but Apple needs to make it possible with most, if not all parts of the tablet.  Starting with their own Safari browser!  Why wasn’t that a feature from day 1?

Finally, if Apple expects schools to use large numbers of iPads, they must develop an easy process to buy or license multiple copies of apps and make it simple to distribute those apps to large numbers of devices.

Considering how I dislike computer labs, I hesitated to add this last item but it’s still a practical necessity in the near term.

Ok, Apple. That’s my short list of what should be included in the next major upgrade.

As for Flash… I really don’t care.

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3 Comments

  1. Hey Tim,
    Good suggestions. Mine arrives June 10th or so. I’m excited to play with it. I’m going to be working with VDOE on a pilot to see if a grade’s worth of curriculum could live on an iPad. So, I’m going to be asking you for lots of input, especially given your thoughts above.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hi Tim,

    For what it’s worth, there is a DropBox app. (I know, you still need a DropBox account etc.) I agree that this needs work before I see large scale adoption by schools!

    Doug

  3. I agree with you about the need to present with more than just Keynote. Everything, in fact, should be visible… it should all be WYSIWYG. Google Docs should definitely be available, and cloud computing through iWork and Mobile Me should work differently (more like Google Docs) to be useful.

    To Chris O’Neal, I’d say that there’s definitely room for a couple of years worth of curriculum on an iPad. I have around 200 books of various formats on mine, and there’s definitely space for them, plus music and podcasts and such.

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