Numbers for iPad: Are Spreadsheets Obsolete?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by vrDrew, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    One of the first Apps I bought for my iPad was Apple's Pages. And combined with a Bluetooth keyboard, I've found its a very nice little word processor. Perfect for those times I need to dash of a quick letter, or write a longer summary or report.

    But I've never thought seriously about buying Apple's spreadhseet App, Numbers. Which makes me wonder: Are spreadsheets obsolete for for the iPad?

    There's little doubt that spreadsheets "made" the personal computer. Starting with Visicalc, the spreadsheet was the "Killer App" - the must-have program that persuaded millions of businesses, and millions more consumers, that they needed to have a computer.(Don't forget, back in 1979 very few people had e-mail. And no one had heard of the Internet.) It made the Apple II. Just as Lotus 123 went on to make the PC.

    I've used spreadsheets a lot in my life. I can remember making all sorts of "what-if" tables, with various interest rates and down payments, to try to figure out what sort of car I could afford to buy. Later on I made a huge one to chart the inexorable, albeit slow, paying down of my mortgage balance. More recently, my main use seems to have been keeping track of a weekly "Pick-Em" NFL football pool - complete with a nifty Excel External Data Source routine that looked up weekly results from the NFL's website.

    But I really question if most normal people really need a spreadsheet these days. Especially on a device like an iPad. Its one thing if you are a financial analyst, doing "what-if" scenarios based on Eurodollar exchange swaps and the 6 month LIBOR. Its quite another if you just want to keep track of your household budget. There's an App for that...

    I'll probably always want some sort of spreadsheet on my personal (desktop) computer. If nothing else, its a useful tool to help teach yourself the rudiments of higher mathematics, and the beginnings of programming theory.

    But I just can't see myself ever buying a general purpose spreadsheet for an iPad.
  2. Ainkor macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I work for a restaurant company and our POS (Point of Sale) system compiles reports in excel.

    While it may not be the prettiest way to do things, the reports are fantastically customizable.

    I live and die by being able to use spreadsheets on my iPad2 and iPhone. It saves me easily 15 hours per week of work.

    For most people? Not needed. In fact, if you look at Numbers, it's more tuned for a soccer mom type person, not a business person. You hit it right on the head in your post.... Most people don't need a spreadsheet program and their is an app for what you are trying to do.

    For mobile professionals? Being able to link my 10gig Drop Box account with my iPad and iPhone and access my business documents on the fly is incredibly handy.
  3. Meanee macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2011
    Derailment alert

    What POS are you using? I've been supporting restaurant POS for last 6 years.
  4. Juggertha macrumors member


    Jun 18, 2011
    I'm a freelance teacher and I do all of my attendance and accounting on my iPad with Numbers.
  5. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    I use it for business quite often. Personally, I find the touch interface makes it much easier to use than Excel or even Numbers on the Mac--or maybe it's just more enjoyable.

    The average person probably won't ever use a spreadsheet, not knowingly of course. Many of the apps for budgeting, checkbook management etc. are all spreadsheets, they're just ready made with a slick UI.

    So to answer your question, no, the average user has little need for a spreadsheet "app", but spreadsheets are far from dead.
  6. macrat macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2003
    My Marathon training program is on a spreadsheet. It compares my actual training runs vs. the program with cumulative mileage numbers. I use it every year for 3 months until Race day. Starting another round next month for this year's marathon and this time the Numbers spreadsheet is on my iPad 2

    Outside of the marathon training period I use another template to record my daily runs and gym time.

    Therefore, I still use it extensively.

    I am a retired Accountant and yes I remember that very first budget I prepared with Lotus 123 on an IBM PC with 640K ram and saved on floppy disc!:D That was magical in every way
  7. radiogoober, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011

    radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2011
    Off-topic, but since there's a Numbers thread...

    At the Keynote, Jobs said that the current versions of Numbers, etc, in the App Store support iCloud. Has this feature been turned on yet? I'm running iOS 5 beta 1 and can't seem to figure it out. Maybe in the next beta?

    Edit: BTW I do use numbers. I'm always figuring out financial things and I can just hack them out quicker in Numbers than using/buying some specific app for it.
  8. Hellenek macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2007
    I use Numbers exclusively and often for business - great for templates for invoices and other documents.
  9. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    I use spreadsheets regularly on my desktop and laptop, for both work and personal reasons - but I don't really have any desire or need for one on my iPad. One more way that the iPad serves a different purpose from those computers.
  10. ZombieZakk macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
    its funny you say this because my ipad has become critical for my daily uses of a spreadsheet i am a manager of a family bus company and we keep our route board all on spreadsheets but with so many changes i can carry my ipad around with me and edit it regularly and i waste so much less paper! because i used to have to print out a whole new board for every change so this is nice. i still do my creation and editing on the computer but its great to view the sheets on my ipad its a life and tree saver.
  11. CHSeifert, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2011

    CHSeifert macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    I'm in the process of starting 3 small companies - and rely very much on numbers for all the accounting.

    This is all done on my computer and soon to arrive iMac - but I edit a good deal on the fly on my iPad and also like to be able to view the spreadsheets on my iPad just to check on something.

    I'm not a pro at using spreadsheets but could not live without them

    I have bought several budget apps, but still prefer to setup my own in spreadsheets.

    I also have apps for my gym and fitness training - but still find I prefer to setup my own program and progress log in a spreadsheet.

    Apps are only so good - to a certain point, still prefer to use a spreadsheet which often gives me a better and more simple overview of things than a 'smart designer app' does.

    So NO! spreadsheets on iPad is far from dead - in fact quite the opposite in my case..... ;)

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