Creative Storytelling in web, iOS, and Film

One user’s positive experience with the Apple iPad

By on Apr 17, 2010 in Blog | 1 comment

Using the iPad to show HD video on a large TV at LAFD headquarters.

Using the iPad to show HD video on a large TV at LAFD headquarters.

Per my previous post on the iPad, everyone here that uses one has been enjoying the experience. However, there’s no doubt that our use is not “average.” Separate from development, we use the iPad to review video with clients, to deliver presentations, to connect to our servers and server farm, as a slate during video production, as a teleprompter, and so on.

On Tuesday of this past week, it all changed for me. My Macbook Pro (nearly 3.1 years old), suffered a miotechnical infarction. It had a CPU attack – and died. As a side note, I find it bizarre that it would die within a few days of its AppleCare protection expiring, not to mention on the same day as the new MacBook Pros being introduced by Apple.

Getting a new computer would be easy, but in the midst of the huge number of projects, the last thing on my mind was getting a new laptop. Worse, the prospect of migrating several hundred megabytes of data and applications was not inspiring.

It got worse. No matter what we did (the dealer and I), we could not get the content of my old Mac to transfer to the new one. Meanwhile, I had work to do. So, I decided to see what I could accomplish using the iPad. I left the migration project with my dealer, who diligently attacked the problem.

I have an iPhone and it’s great for email. I rarely use it for longer email notes. So, with the iPad in hand, I decided this would be a good test. Apple Mail is not my favorite app (on the Mac), but on the iPad, it was refreshing and even, careful now – fun. Apple gives tremendous thought to the process of their products, and it makes all the difference in the world. I love the way the in-box displays, the images pop up, etc. It’s very slick. The big trick was using the built-in keyboard.

For the first few email notes, I was not impressed. It seemed that I was missing keys and looking for other keys that weren’t there. Well, they were, but you had to swap overlays to see and use them. After three email notes, I answered the phone and walked away from the iPad.

When I came back, it was as if I had suddenly mastered typing on the keyboard. It was a cross between iPhone email and the Mac – the auto-spell-check worked nicely, and the graphical display and orientation of mail was easy to follow. In fact, it made sorting and responding to email far easier than on my desktop app (Entourage). So, using the iPad for email proved to be a snap.

Speaking of keyboards, I have been working on several reports, and thankfully, copies were stored in my mobile me account. So, I connected and transferred the files to my iPad. That was easy. But, then, after two pages of typing on the graphic keyboard, I started to get frustrated. I can type quickly. I cannot type quickly when using the iPad. Roadblock.

Then, I remembered I could use a bluetooth Mac keyboard. So, I drove to our office and snagged one from a workstation (sorry!), and brought it home. I plugged the iPad into the neat little stand you can get, and connected the keyboard. Now, I was typing quickly again. And Apple Pages for the iPad is totally cool – and it’ll cost you ten dead Presidents, so it’s cheap, too.

The next morning, in my email, I received a film budget in Excel format. Jeez, now what? Oh, I remembered that Apple Numbers was available – I already had Keynote and Pages. So, I tapped on the Apple iTunes Store (remember, we no longer click – we tap), and within a few seconds (literally), I had purchased Numbers (also ten dollars), downloaded it, and was reviewing the spreadsheet. I made some changes, and then sent it back to my finance guy. So, although I wasn’t editing video, I was doing many of the things I do with my laptop. And this is in between all of the things I’ve discussed in my previous post – keynote, video, audio, networking, etc. I was doing all of that, too.

After two days, my new laptop was ready to be picked up, but I was pretty surprised and pleased with the iPad as an everyday communications device. I would note that using it that way is not its strength. It’s really ideal for the other types of uses previously described, but when called upon, it stepped up and for the most part, was a workable solution.

Would I stop using a laptop? Nope. But, the iPad has changed the way I look at computing. The devices have started to fall into different use categories. My MacBook Pro is essentially my primary computing device. I can take it from home to the office. If working on a film production, I can take it on location. However, when running around town, meeting with clients, etc., I don’t take the laptop. The iPad is far more convenient, and workable. There is no doubt it will help us build our business. But, that’s a different story for another time.