The iPad Way: Patience, Adaptation, and Paradigm Shifting

If I try to detach and observe my iPadOnly learning process, I’m seeing interesting shifts in paradigms and problem-solving. I expected some, but not as many as I’m experiencing. Adapting both workflows and what’s  necessary is both zen-like and often frustrating (but only briefly for the most part). 

Initial Insights

  • The iPad is not a laptop, although that’s the first mental framework I had about the tool.
  • The iPad is not a large iPhone either, which was my second attempt to label it as something I could understand.
  • The iPad is a new type of tool that is a hybrid in nature and it’s own newly hewn path for extremely mobile and minimalistic…computing. Not even sure that last word is accurate anymore.
As I work through my various needs and streamline my workflows to support them, the iPad’s true nature is slowing revealing itself to me, as is it’s dark side. 

Brilliance and Smiles

  • Battery life remains amazing for a portable device run constantly on wifi with the brilliant retina screen.
  • Multi-tasking, the thing many knock about the iPad, is amazingly fast and simple, although it’s not the same multi-tasking flow one does on a desktop or laptop. You’re thinking no mouse, so how could multi-tasking be fast? I’ll have a video soon that will surprise you how fast it is on an iPad.
  • “There’s an app for that” is astonishingly true. Whether the apps do what you want in the way your laptop-mind thinks they should is a another thing, but sometimes that’s only because your laptop-mind’s in the way.
  • Apps are cheap. $100 buys you weeks of fun trying out dozens of apps, so if something doesn’t quite work, you’re out $2-5…not $40-100.
  • Have office (really, everything’s in this small bag), will travel. My entire mobile kit — my case, iPad, keyboard, earbuds, iPod, notepad, iPhone — is the size of a 400-page hardback novel.

Twitches and Hmmms

  • Printing is challenging. Luckily I have a Samsung printer and they have an app aimed at their printers that works well. If you have a newish printer, odds are it’s air print capable which makes things easier.
  • Can you love a cloud? The iPad Way requires loving the cloud, embracing the cloud, and…trusting the cloud. The whole file-file folder-file mentality goes out the window. It’s all about push-pull through iCloud, DropBox, or Box. Oh there are files…just can’t easily seem them outside the program you’re working on. 
  • Where’s that photo of…? Photo management is the last app frontier for me. Still working on how to easily work my extensive photo library from the iPad for blogging, sharing, etc. Cumbersome at the moment, but like everything else I’ve tackled on this tablet, it will come. Will definitely have to get outside the box to figure it out, but that’s the iPad Way.
  • Advanced formatting. Some work I do in Excel/Word, etc, requires some esoteric formatting, the kind that often doesn’t transfer when I used to save to an older program version. iPad apps that mirror desktop apps (same program) often fall short on their feature sets, but the gap is closing. When I compare the iPad I briefly owned two years ago to this one, and the same apps, there is a noticeable improvement in this area. So it’s a matter of patience and time for the feature sets to catch up. Plus, as mentioned, there’s always ways around such roadblocks.

In future posts I’ll be writing about specific ways I’ve had to adjust my thinking for  different workflows. By then maybe my twitches and hmmms will be down to a few whimpers.

2 thoughts on “The iPad Way: Patience, Adaptation, and Paradigm Shifting

  1. Dear Gary,

    Love this post. I also struggle like you with your initial Insights. I want it so bad that was more than a Laptop at the beginning, more like the image in my mind of a Tablet PC. As you guess, I struggle with that. Same with your second one, I had try on different occasions to use them interchangeably, and failed. The iPhone will not substitute the iPad nor the iPad the iPhone. It was a challenge to me to understand your third insight. The iPad is a great tool, but it is hard to define many times.

    I like you continue waiting for the time of the perfect office app, but sometimes wonder if what my brain needs is the office suite I used for many years on the Laptop, and it is that the reason I miss it instead of embracing more the good of the new version and platform…

    Time will show us how much things change and evolve, and will help us get closer to that place where I hope I can really go #iPadOnly, like 100% of the time.

    Have a great week!


    1. Gary

      Thanks Augusto. Every day’s getting easy to leave the laptop behind. I wonder if others, like you and Michael, struggled initially with mixing iPad and laptops. I have to confess to many, many times on the MacBook of tapping the screen and expecting something to happen! Makes me laugh, but shows one how quickly we subconsciously adapt to these UIs.

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