The iPad as a writing tool - it's awesome!

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Scartissue, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Scartissue macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    #1
    I'm just going to put it out there that I've been writing with this iPad for about three weeks on and off, and driven by significant quantities of coffee over the last two days. I am no longer looking at the keys. In fact, I'm writing this right now with my eyes closed. Mistakes happen, but frankly, this is something of a benefit for me. A long writing project always benefits from editing, and that I'm not QUITE there, with the occasional dropped comma etc, means I get a good excuse to go back to it. LORD forbid what would happen if I get any more used to this.

    But yeah. I've actually come to prefer writing on my iPad to writing on my MacBook Pro, and nearly (NEARLY) prefer it to writing by hand. Take some time, force yourself to work through the initial toothing pains that are probably inevitable. I had to go through the same process when I went back to fountain pen from ballpoint, and it settled down after a while.

    Once you get past those opening stages, you find yourself with a beautiful device that does an incredible job when it comes to walking down the street and picking up a project that you were working on at home. It's the 'pick up, play, doodle, correct, work roughly' accessibility of a pen and paper, but with the benefits that come with digital word-smithery. Emailing for example. And readability.

    But anyway. Yes. One satisfied customer. Hope that helps someone make up their mind somewhere.
     
  2. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #2
    I do a great deal of writing on mine as well, usually with iPad in typing position using the MacAlly Bookstand case. But, if I know I'm in for an extended session, I put the iPad on a stand and pull out the Apple Wireless Keyboard to use instead. It's an absolute joy to use when you're working with an app that supports it.

    For those who don't understand why I wouldn't pull out my 17" MBP instead, it's heavier and less configurable than the iPad/stand/keyboard combo. Using a lap desk, I can raise the iPad to a comfortable viewing height while the keyboard sits far lower in a more ergonomic position than I can achieve with a one piece unit. Plus the iPad is usually right on hand, the laptop is wherever I left it last...and since the iPad came home, half the time the laptop hasn't been charged. LOL
     
  3. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #3
    Similar situation here. Typing in portrait mode as we speak, I won't correct any errors just for the record lol.

    I do a fair bit of typing on the iPad, and can type roughly 95wpm on a real keyboard. I think I can virtually type that fast on this iPad! Its amazing. I liken the typing experience in landscape mode to that of the latest aluminum keyboards from apple, if you can type on that then you will be fine on the ipad in landscape. In portrait mode igs a tiny bit different, and its harder in a compressed space like whag I am in now, currently in the car. Don't worry, I'm not driving lol.

    But yes, WELL worth it!!

    Hmm I see two typos, not bad lol.
     
  4. MikeTemple macrumors member

    MikeTemple

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    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    In the cloud
    #4
    I can't manage portrait mode, but landscape works pretty well for me. It's surprising how quick you can get, but I still think a real keyboard is quicker.

    What software do you use? I've found Simplenote great for bashing out words, and it syncs to my Mac automatically (and vice versa).
     
  5. keyofnight macrumors regular

    keyofnight

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    #5
    I, honestly, haven't had the chance to use the iPad as anything more than a consumption / organizational tool—I use it to sift through academic articles, read the news, keep track of todos, etc. I haven't had a chance to use it for jotting down notes. I still use a Moleskine for that.

    I don't like Simplenote. It's not elegant enough—it feels too bare. I'm looking for something like Writeroom for the iPad, but more…substantial. I'm looking for a happy medium between Simplenote and Evernote.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

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    Jan 14, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #6
    I've done a little typing on mine so far and will say it is vast improvement from my iPhone, but I still feel really cramped typing on my iPad. Perhaps you all have smaller hands than myself.

    I have a spare wireless Apple keyboard laying around that I paired with my iPad and that works pretty well. I need to fine a good stand for my iPad now.
     
  7. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #7
    I'm using Notebooks for iPad currently; the ability to organize everything into multiple nested notebooks fits the way I think. It's compatible with a lot of formats, so I've imported .docx and PDFs, and routinely clip web pages for reference to stash in there. I also do all my writing in it--a few font options, but while you can import rich text, you can't actually edit in it.

    Synch was iffy for some until this week's update, so if that's a priority, you'll want to research on the website--appears mostly WebDAV based. I haven't bothered so far, just used their wifi transfer to copy everything onto a backup folder on my hard drive. I'm just not finding that I'm using any other devices anymore, so synch for me would strictly be for backups.
     
  8. redman042 macrumors 68030

    redman042

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #8
    I can type satisfactorily on the iPad, but I'm a fast touch typist on a PC keyboard, so it's always a compromise for me to use a touch-screen. Not being able to rest my fingers on the keyboard, or easily see or feel the keys I'm tapping, is one of the biggest issues that slows me down. Therefore, I picked up an Apple Wireless Keyboard the other day. For casual use of the iPad, I won't bother with it, but for serious work or other longer typing sessions, that's what I will use. It's terrific! It is incredibly light and sleek, the keys feel great, and the keyboard shortcuts such as copy, paste, arrows, shift-arrows for highlighting text, etc. are indispensable for me (unfortunately they don't work in all apps yet but I expect that will change over time).

    So my advice is to invest in the keyboard if you plan to do a lot of typing and you are a touch-typist.
     
  9. wyneken macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    The great State of Maine
    #9
    You might take a look at myTexts. It has a desktop sibling that is Writeroom-like, and the two sync easily. The iPad version is text-only, so it isn't suitable for all projects, but it has a nice professional look and feel — and word-count (!), which is omitted from Pages.

    Speaking of Pages, though, have you tried using this in full-screen mode? All the cluttery stuff at the edges of the screen disappears, and you just see the page of text — and of course the keyboard if you're not using an external keyboard. Then if you need to do some kind of formatting or whatever, you can switch out of full-screen, tweak the settings, and go back again.

    I bought both the Apple keyboard dock and the Bluetooth keyboard, but in practice now I hardly ever use either of them. I go everywhere with just an iPad and a Pelikan fountain pen. It's my entire writing kit. It's like the old pre-computer days when I carried a notebook everywhere. Only cooler.
     
  10. MikeTemple macrumors member

    MikeTemple

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    In the cloud
    #10
    I have a problem with buying an external keyboard and stand as I decided to get an iPad as a lighter weight alternative to a laptop, and I can't help feeling that it would defeat the advantages of getting it in the first place.

    I quite like the simplicity of Simplenote. All I need is the ability to bash out words and synch easily to my Mac. I then do any final tweaking and formatting on there.
     
  11. talkingfuture macrumors 65816

    talkingfuture

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    The back of beyond.
    #11
    I have only managed to do some short bits of writing on it so far but I agree with the op that it is an excellent device for writing on. It's 10 times better than I expected compared to writing on the iPhone. I was genuinely amazed the first time I typed out an email how easy it was to get used to the touch keyboard.
     
  12. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #12
    I completely understand that thinking, but the iPad, + stand up case or folding stand, + wireless keyboard, still takes up less space AND weighs less than my husband's 13" MacBook. My 17" MBP is Godzilla by comparison. That keyboard weighs next to nothing, and I gain back tabs, arrow keys, and easy cut/paste functionality.

    I do probably 80% of my typing on the virtual keyboard, but that last 20% is just a lot quicker and more comfortable when I pull out the wireless keyboard. It's probably the best $$ I've spent so far related to the iPad.
     
  13. Perihelion macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    #13
    The ability to type well on the iPad was a big concern for me originally. Test driving it in the store, I actually held off on buying one because I couldn't type smoothly on the virtual keyboard. After a couple of weeks, I gave in and bought one anyways and within 3 days I was up to about 60 words a minute. Not as fast or as smooth as a real keyboard but plenty enough for me! Love it now.
     
  14. Crosbie macrumors 6502a

    Crosbie

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    May 26, 2010
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    #14
    Yep, I love using it for this, and almost wish I had more excuses to write at length on it! I've just got into the finger-slide trick and am getting used to knowing where all the punctuation is hidden underneath the main keyboard. :)

    My main problem is striking n or occasionally m or b when hitting space (with my thumb). If only autocorrect was better at recognising when two words were linked by one of these letters, it wouldn't be such a problem. Is this my own personal quirk or does anybody else find the same issue?

    I find myself making autocorrect assumptions when typing on the full keyboards at work - hitting double space and expecting a full stop to appear, or typing right through didn't and can't and you're, expecting the apostrophe to appear!
     
  15. MikeTemple macrumors member

    MikeTemple

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    #15
    I may give in and get a keyboard. The lack of arrow keys makes editing a pain, especially when using Wordpress web interface. The problem then is that an iPad plus keyboard does not sit on my lap very well, which is where I normally use it.
     
  16. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2010
    #16
    I am splitted between ipad doc keyboard and apple wireless keyboard. They both have pros and cons against each other and oh well...
     
  17. bri1212 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #17
    What writing programs are you using?

    I have been using notes, for basic writing, but don't have Iwork on my macbookpro, so I haven't gotten it for the ipad. What is your favorite writing program for the ipad?
     
  18. wyneken macrumors regular

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    The great State of Maine
    #18
    I've got three:

    Pages for most purposes, especially when formatting is required or plain text is not sufficient.

    myTexts for its minimalist, elegant design — and its ability to do a quick word count! — when plain text is enough.

    MaxJournal for daily record-keeping and note-taking and that kind of thing.
     
  19. Crosbie macrumors 6502a

    Crosbie

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    May 26, 2010
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    Brighton, UK
    #19
    Yep, arrow keys - or a functional equivalent - would be really welcome.

    Give us an advanced settings menu where we can choose a custom layout! I'd gladly lose a bit of space, say, at the edges of the spacebar to slot in arrow keys.
     
  20. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #20
    Aahhh that would be nice :) arrow keys are what I dream of!
     
  21. MikeTemple macrumors member

    MikeTemple

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    #21
    I think I could manage with the virtual keyboard if it had arrow keys.

    We can only hope an option for arrow keys appears in the future!
     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Singapore
    #22
    Don't forget the ability to hold shift + arrows to highlight stuff, and option + shift + arrows to highlight words. Very useful.
     
  23. Scartissue thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    #23
    *reread original post* - Man, that was a rough night on the caffeine there.

    Still stand by it though! Thanks for the tips about some of the minimalist text editors with word counts. I'm going to look around at keyboards and see if I can find something that works, for the arrow keys... To be fair, I've started rewrites on something today, and shifted back to the MBP for copying, pasting, moving within text. Which has only served to get me riled again at the comparative immobility of sitting at a desk. I'm spoilt by small Apple products.

    Possible alternative for home use is the bluetooth keyboard and the apple case in picture frame mode. Maybe. Unless someone has something better?

    Also, addendum to the first post. I'm even more entrenched now in being able to sit up when drifting off to sleep, idly thinking about a scene or idea, and turn it into something there and then. It's a beautiful tool.
     
  24. IrishVixen macrumors 68020

    IrishVixen

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #24
    I do use the wireless keyboard with my MacAlly Bookstand case all the time, with both on my lap and my legs up on a nearby table or footstool. The MacAlly (similar to the Apple case) is in typing position, resting on or just in front of my knees; the keyboard is closer to my hips at whatever distance is more comfortable at the time. The added angle of the MacAlly means I can still read the screen just fine in this position, and I can type for fairly long periods like that. It's pretty rare that I have to resort to a table or desk, though I do have a lap desk I'll use occasionally if I want added viewing height.

    I thought lap typing was going to be a problem with the iPad. Instead, I do it all day long.
     
  25. Red5403 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    KS
    #25
    Yes, I find myself doing this too. It is quite annoying, but I think itnis some laziness in my fingers or something.

    Yes! I am doing this all of the time when I'm on my MacBook, which is not very much anymore.

    I also tried to launch safari from the dock by touching the screen. Didn't even realize it until safari didn't launch. I had to laugh at myself. I also find myself trying to click on the top when in safari, to get immediately to the top of the page. I was wondering if anybody else was having this "issue".

    Glad I'm not alone!

    ---
    Edited to add: I noticed that I had the "n" problem when writing this post. Total accident, but I,had to laugh at ,yself.
     

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