The Shattered Potential of the iPad - Student's Perspective

Unprocessed1

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 23, 2008
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(I meant to write 'Perspective' in the title - irony...)

I was a bit underwhelmed with the keynote, however the introduction of iWork left me impressed. But, I don't think some people realize how the lack of multitasking can harm the enjoyability or practicality of the device.

After thinking about the device for a while I found a significant 'hypothetical' problem with the OS:

If you are writing a research paper/proposal in Pages, and need to use Safari, you'll have to open and close Safari/Pages every time you want to switch.

A steady workflow is impossible with the current iPad software, and that's why it will be an impractical tool for students who could have potentially used the iPad for surfing the web, music, and writing papers. Writing papers will be a NIGHTMARE on the iPad. It will be much easier on a netbook, even with the iPad keyboard attachment.

I would have bought the iPad if multitasking would have let you have 2-3 apps open, but it doesn't. I don't see how light multitasking would have "cut into" macbook pro sales. It still wouldn't be intuitive enough to replace the OSX experience.

Also, a stylus that would have let you write over PDF's, documents, and e-books would have been spectacular. That alone would have probably made this gadget a "must-have" for students, but the iPad doesn't have much appeal to the academic sensibilities of students. (If it did, then this would have actually been a revolutionary product, IMO).

I really like the speed and fluidity of Safari, the amazing multitouch capabilities, and I think the app store will produce some amazing things in the coming months.

Even if I want to take notes in class and browse the web at the same time, I can't do that, and if I try it, it will be very frustrating. As far as I'm concerned, the netbook is still a better tool for students by a longshot.

Finally, is it even possible for 3rd party apps to create app-switcher, or multi-tasking? I'm not too knowledgeable about what the app store offers the iphone, but if there will be a good 3rd party option that lets your surf and write at the same time, I think I might get it.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
I've said this before, but I will repeat it here... I think even people who really like this device all agree that no multitasking is the biggest let down. However, I believe we are going to be surprised by an OS 4.0 introduction around the time the 3G models come out (90 days) with at least some sort of multitasking. I also think they will announce this in 4 or 6 weeks, just in time for the wifi only model preorders/release. They want to keep the hype machine working for the next 60-90 days.
 

Unprocessed1

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 23, 2008
1,361
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I've said this before, but I will repeat it here... I think even people who really like this device all agree that no multitasking is the biggest let down. However, I believe we are going to be surprised by an OS 4.0 introduction around the time the 3G models come out (90 days) with at least some sort of multitasking. I also think they will announce this in 4 or 6 weeks, just in time for the wifi only model preorders/release. They want to keep the hype machine working for the next 60-90 days.
I don't know how that would make sense for Apple - why announce it w/o multitasking if they were planning to enable multitasking just weeks/months before or after launch?
 

Cougarcat

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2003
7,766
2,545
I don't know how that would make sense for Apple - why announce it w/o multitasking if they were planning to enable multitasking just weeks/months before or after launch?
Possibly because they are still working on it, and they want to get it just right before showing it off. There's a reason the OS is 3.2 and not 4.0--there are essentially no new features. They announced it now because they wanted to get the SDK in the hands of developers, so there are some really cool iPad apps when it launches.
 

Unprocessed1

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 23, 2008
1,361
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Possibly because they are still working on it, and they want to get it just right before showing it off. There's a reason the OS is 3.2 and not 4.0--there are essentially no new features. They announced it now because they wanted to get the SDK in the hands of developers, so there are some really cool iPad apps when it launches.
I REALLY hope that's true.

I also understand this device has a lot of potential, it's just a pain to get teased, disappointed, and then have to wait another 6 months to possibly get what you want out of the device.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,525
8,142
Colorado
I've said this before, but I will repeat it here... I think even people who really like this device all agree that no multitasking is the biggest let down. However, I believe we are going to be surprised by an OS 4.0 introduction around the time the 3G models come out (90 days) with at least some sort of multitasking. I also think they will announce this in 4 or 6 weeks, just in time for the wifi only model preorders/release. They want to keep the hype machine working for the next 60-90 days.
Agreed, no multitasking is a huge oversight on Apple's part. Hopefully you are right about an update that allows it. Time will tell.
 

Unprocessed1

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 23, 2008
1,361
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Also, why not just wait until they had 4.0 ready to release the tablet? They could have killed any rumors very early on, and then announce the ipad in the summer, or when they were done with OS 4.0... I don't know if your theory is reality, as much as I want it to be.
 

elurscam

macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2009
10
0
no offense

I don't believe that this device was aimed for students, I mean, you are a student in the 21 century, the majority of your work is on a computer and typed, you need a real keyboard and multitasking

I think it was designed for the average person looking for a digital personal media/organizer/entertainment device that was easy to use, lasted a long time, and was more portable than a laptop, and more comfortable to use than a Smart Phone.

.02
 

Tomomcd

macrumors newbie
Feb 26, 2008
28
0
i imagine they don't want the tablet launch and the next iphone launch to get in each others way toooo much.

Worse case is just to jailbreak it when it happens
 

G4R2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2006
546
2
On the flip side of this discussion, don't assume that just because it will be beneficial to your particular circumstances that Apple will add the feature you're looking for.

Apple has long had a resistance to multitasking. In the 80's, even when pre-emptive multitasking OS's were beginning to emerge, Apple belittled this feature that would eventually become integral to modern computers. Along with early versions of Windows (remember Windows was released several years after the Mac first appeared) Mac's used "cooperative" multitasking instead of the pre-emptive multitasking scheme we are all currently familiar with.

How this legacy will reflect on the iPad is unclear, but it does seem that Apple expects a certain performance from this device to distinguish itself. Is the lack of multitasking really an impediment when compared to a netbook that can, and do frequently do, get bogged down with numerous resource intensive applications? It may actually turn out that it is easier and faster to manually switch between applications then to have them slowing down your system.

In any case, while I do hope that Apple does develop multitasking into a future update, along with widget like apps that would make something like iChat more feasible, I wouldn't purchase this device with that expectation.
 

InsertName

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2009
49
0
It's not unheard of for releases to be updated from original offering just prior to availability. As a tactic it helps shift those who are sitting on the fence.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
Also, why not just wait until they had 4.0 ready to release the tablet? They could have killed any rumors very early on, and then announce the ipad in the summer, or when they were done with OS 4.0... I don't know if your theory is reality, as much as I want it to be.
Because it's good marketing. They can basically spend $0 on advertising over the next 2 months but EVERYONE will know what the iPad is by then, IF they can sustain the buzz. They need to show us the physical product, "here's a big pretty new toy". Get everyone talking. Then tell us a bunch of new features and get us all talking again.

I could easily be wrong, but I think it makes sense. Apple has often taken their sweet time about doing some things that seem simple and obvious (like cut and paste in OSX mobile).
 

4DThinker

macrumors 68020
Mar 15, 2008
2,033
1
It's a device for media consumption primarily. An iPod Touch for 40- somethings that need reading glasses to see an iPhone's screen clearly.

As the OP point out, the lack of multi-tasking seems to be the big roadblock to media production, even simple text documents. Do any printer manufacturers make printer drivers for it?
 

Unprocessed1

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 23, 2008
1,361
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Because it's good marketing. They can basically spend $0 on advertising over the next 2 months but EVERYONE will know what the iPad is by then, IF they can sustain the buzz. They need to show us the physical product, "here's a big pretty new toy". Get everyone talking. Then tell us a bunch of new features and get us all talking again.

I could easily be wrong, but I think it makes sense. Apple has often taken their sweet time about doing some things that seem simple and obvious (like cut and paste in OSX mobile).
That makes sense, but Steve Jobs might be a little bit too stubborn to re-introduce a version of the software before launch.
 

Etnies419

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
392
0
I don't know how that would make sense for Apple - why announce it w/o multitasking if they were planning to enable multitasking just weeks/months before or after launch?
Because it will most likely be one of the biggest selling points for the new iPhone. They don't want people complaining that "Well, it was already on the iPad, so they just ported it over easily. I want something completely new now."
 

al256

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2001
839
173
Also, a stylus that would have let you write over PDF's, documents, and e-books would have been spectacular. That alone would have probably made this gadget a "must-have" for students, but the iPad doesn't have much appeal to the academic sensibilities of students. (If it did, then this would have actually been a revolutionary product, IMO).

...

Even if I want to take notes in class and browse the web at the same time, I can't do that, and if I try it, it will be very frustrating. As far as I'm concerned, the netbook is still a better tool for students by a longshot.
Your entire post was one of the best thought-out/explained posts I've come across in this forum in a while. I agree with you. All we can do is hope for the best, I guess..
 

disco stu

macrumors newbie
Sep 17, 2007
21
0
I actually think the education market is a huge focus for this device. There's been a ton of talk about how this will revolutionize textbooks, and books in general. Being able to add built in color pictures, graphs, charts, and video as well. Apple was not trying to create the perfect "everything" device. I think one of the biggest reasons for this is the explosion of the eReader arena. The iPad is very focused on the publishing world, and has built in a lot of the other things that already exist in the iPod Touch and iPhone. Apple doesn't want to cannibalize their other products, so making it the perfect device that can do everything was not the goal. It is goinig to be a great mobile entertainment device with the best user experience around (typical Apple).

And I am not a techie, but I wonder if one of the reasons for no multitasking is that it might compromise the overall experience, primarily overall speed. I am not sure the device, with the current technology could keep up the same speed with multiple things running at the same time. Apple is all about the experience, and jeopardizing that is not an option. Other companies wouldn't care as much.
 

jajohns8

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2008
237
0
Thinking back to my college days.

Let's see, carry around laptop, physics book, calculus book, OR carry around this thing.

Hmm. I'd have traded my invite to the kick butt band party at the Sig Ep house, and paid 499.00 for one.....

In my opinion, I could have traded all the extra standard full OS laptop perks for what the OS on this thing offers in terms of size/weight. That's not everyone's cup of tea, however. Some people want/need full on computing power in class, and I understand that. Actually my CSC classes that required a laptop wouldn't work so well.

In some cases though, if it only replaced a few heavy text books, and still let me browse online lecture notes, then hey, that's pretty freakin' cool.

A stylus for freehand notes/editing really would be cool too. Maybe in an update?
 

pranavss11

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2007
361
0
San Jose
Like I said earlier in a different thread. Stylus for diagrams iSight for web chatting and finally flash to play 75% of the videos (no matter how bad flash is ) and i'd be the first person in line to buy this.
 

limesmoothie

macrumors 6502
Apr 20, 2009
450
64
Edinburgh, Scotland
You kids today, I used to WP my University assignments on a Mac Classic with teeny tiny B & W screen.........:rolleyes:

But yes, I was talking to my students about this device today and they were all unhappy with the lack of simple multitasking for the reasons you gave. Nearly all of them indicated a willingness to purchase, though, so form over function won the day.
 

Cynocephalus

macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2010
3
0
I'd like to return to a couple of the other comments. I agree that the lack of multitasking is huge, but I suspect that it will be addressed at some point (hopefully soon.)

In terms of its usability for students (and, I think, others), it would have been great if it included some kind of stylus for use to jot down notes in a notebook (rather than having to type them.) I know it's archaic, but sometimes it is just easier to hand write notes (in a meeting/class or when walking around a job site where you can't flop it down to type.) Going along with that, I'd really like to see the ability to write notes in the margins of your ebooks (or pdfs you downloaded from the web for reading.) I like being able to write my thoughts right in a book and it would be a shame if this was not possible with the iPad. I think both of those features would be really useful for students and others and I hope that you'll be able to do them with the iPad.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
On the flip side of this discussion, don't assume that just because it will be beneficial to your particular circumstances that Apple will add the feature you're looking for.

Apple has long had a resistance to multitasking. In the 80's, even when pre-emptive multitasking OS's were beginning to emerge, Apple belittled this feature that would eventually become integral to modern computers. Along with early versions of Windows (remember Windows was released several years after the Mac first appeared) Mac's used "cooperative" multitasking instead of the pre-emptive multitasking scheme we are all currently familiar with.

How this legacy will reflect on the iPad is unclear, but it does seem that Apple expects a certain performance from this device to distinguish itself. Is the lack of multitasking really an impediment when compared to a netbook that can, and do frequently do, get bogged down with numerous resource intensive applications? It may actually turn out that it is easier and faster to manually switch between applications then to have them slowing down your system.

In any case, while I do hope that Apple does develop multitasking into a future update, along with widget like apps that would make something like iChat more feasible, I wouldn't purchase this device with that expectation.
Personally, I think we won't get multitasking the way we all think of it... I mean, I would like to open multiple apps and use a coverflow type interface, but I'm not sure we'll get that.

What I think we might see is a dashboard environment that runs in the background and lets us "multitask" using widgets. Much like you can double tap the home button to get a music app control widget, you could double tap the home button and get lots of widgets. A twitter app, an email checker, calendar, basic control panel, whatever.

It's not real multitasking but it does solve many of the issues of no multitasking. It doesn't address the OPs concerns of having reference docs and Pages or Numbers open at the same time.
 

JohnnyQuest

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2006
1,439
179
I'm sure that in the future, multi-tasking and note taking will be added. It's something I want too, but Apple knows what they're doing. This thing will develop and hopefully these functions will be added.