How my iPad went from “media” device to “work” device


I don’t mean for this to turn into an iPad-dedicated blog, but again, it is highly affecting my tech habits and thus I feel compelled to share. 

I bought the thing to replace a laptop and assumed then that I wouldn’t be doing so much work on it anymore. For the first month or so, that was totally true. I watched movies (Netflix), read articles (Reeder), socialized (Twitterific), and generally played around. Which was awesome. But all of a sudden over the past month, I have been really looking at the device as much much more than consumption. 

After joining ReadWriteWeb as a research intern (a gig I am really enjoying and learning tons from) I have really been needing an extra screen to manage the variety of content I am monitoring now. So I started looking into new apps and ways to utilize the iPad as a content creation/adaptation tool. 


My needs: 

Chat client

Document Editing (pdf and doc; highlighting, cut/paste, etc.)


Seamless interaction between apps


Today I did my first experiment using the iPad as a work device. I am volunteering some free time (since I am STILL jobless in NYC) to help out @juliaxgulia with some work on the ArtsTech Meetup, and I am glad to say, after some fumbling the iPad turned out to work ok.

Issues I encountered:

Editing documents is not easy. I was working off a Google Doc Spreadsheet, which should be updated in the near future, and copy/paste was not as smooth as I had hoped. 

I have been using GoodReader for my doc reading and today it reached its limitations. I needed to edit something Julia sent to me, and couldn’t in GoodReader, so I had to copy/paste it to SimpleNote, edit there, then copy/paste to the email. It seems that there should be an easier way to do this. Receive emailed document, choose which app to open with, once in app edit at will and send back to Mail. 

I like to keep an eye on Twitter for news and interesting stuff, but while logged in to any app, of course it takes up the whole glorious beautiful screen. I think I may experiment with using my iPhone as a content stream to the side while working on the iPad. 

Now about multitasking, this is the complicated one. I like the fact that the iPad is a unitask device. It makes me slow down, consider what is in front of me, and follow through. That said, if it is to be a “work” device multitasking at some level must be introduced. It’d be great, as in my case today, if I could keep Mail open while editing and flip back and forth quickly. 

The biggest issue confronting me right now is that I am cheap and not willing to pay for apps that will do some of this stuff. But, I’m coming around. Highly considering IM+ Pro for a chat client and really crossing my fingers for that GDocs update. And I hear iOS4 is on the way for the iPad?! All my dreams are coming true! Now if I could just get a job that requires me to work like this all the time.  


One thought on “How my iPad went from “media” device to “work” device

  1. Great thoughts Micah… I’m kind of in the same boat as you. Love the iPad for it’s content consumption but really trying to push forward on the content creation side. It will only get easier and better, especially with competing devices.

    I’m now dabbling a bit with writing capabilities, having sprung for an app called Penultimate ( It is a smooth and slick app that lets you write/sketch/draw. What I really need is to find a solid stylus pen that will make it easy to write. (Yes, a bit old school but you do need options!)

    I’m looking forward to iOS 4.2 and hopefully it will be the building blocks for convenient mobile content creation.

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