Written Posts

The iPad Killed My Productivity

5 Comments 12 January 2013

Some of you may be familiar with my iFad posts of the past. I argued against the device as I didn’t see the value of having a device that fits somewhere between my phone and my laptop. I fought it until someone was generous enough to give me one of these luxury items about a year ago as a gift.

Now it’s a year later and I’m reflecting back on that 1st year with an iPad. As the title of this post suggests, I really feel the iPad has unfortunately reduced my productivity. Before you start hatin’ let me say that this post is not an attempt to tell fanboys and fangirls “I told you so,” rather a pros and cons summary of my experience with the device. It’s just me and how I feel about it today.

Let’s start with the pros as there are some nice conveniences it offers.

– Flipboard is a great app pulling most of my online reading into one spot.
– PocketCloud is a cool app that allows me to access my laptop if I decide to leave it at the office. It’s like tapping into my laptop and using my tablet as the monitor. Pretty sweet as I can access OneSite now from my tablet.
– I’m not a big magazine guy, but magazines through the newsstand are very nice and I appreciate being able to carry them with me wherever I go. (Downloading them is another story as that doesn’t seem to be consistently user friendly.)
– Other apps for reading or news are nice. Kindle app works well (although reading on an actual Kindle device does offer additional functions). USA Today app is good. Some sports apps are good like the Masters app. While I consider these pros for convenience purposes, I don’t think they are revolutionary.
– Games can be fun on the iPad. Angry Birds is a lot more fun with a larger screen, as is Draw Something and sports games like NBA Jam and Tiger Woods Golf. Of course it’s great for entertaining the kids as well.
– Convenience in general having email and social sites a couple taps away on a larger screen is nice too. While I don’t travel much, it’s nice to not have to lug my laptop to properties, conferences, or on vacation anymore.

Onto the cons.

– No Flash. Sure, many have adjusted sites so this isn’t as much of an issue, but Flash is still out there on the web and it’s annoying the device doesn’t support it when it does so many other things.
– App updates are a pro and a con, but I’ll put them on the con list as I feel I have to constantly approve the updates. Being an Android phone owner where updates download automatically this seems inferior to me.
– Sharing functionality is inferior to Android as well. With one menu touch on an Android device I get a list of apps to share something on or with. With Apple that share functionality has to be built into the app. +1 Android on that. One of the main reasons I’ve never gone iPhone.
– While the screen isn’t as big I can do most of the items in the pro list on my phone too. If I really want a larger screen my computer is available.
– It’s just not my computer. This is the big con. The keyboard isn’t as friendly, I don’t have access to everything I’d like to, and multitasking just isn’t as efficient.

Now, I never expected it to be my computer, but I hoped it would fill some type of void and provide a connectivity benefit I’ve been missing. For me, the main void it filled was in entertainment and content consumption. On my laptop I mainly do work. There are no games on there, and the most entertaining thing I do on there is visit Facebook and use Pandora. Facebook is more business for me anyway at this point, so I find myself focused on business items while on my laptop. However, when I’m on my iPad I’m often flipping through Facebook more casually, browsing through email (but mainly to filter or respond to urgent messages like I would on my phone), reading blog posts and articles, or playing games.

So the result has been more entertainment consumption, but little production with the device unfortunately. I’m not sure how I plan to use my iPad in 2013, but I do think it was a good exercise for me to create this pros and cons list and recognize it’s not really helping my productivity. Will I get rid of it, no, I don’t think so. However, it may just stay on my night stand unless I know I’m traveling somewhere and I can benefit from its portability.

I often say, “To each their own,” as I realize everyone has their preferences. For me, the iPad still has potential to be something better, but for now it’s killing my productivity and I need to repurpose its use for my world. I’ll get you an update in 2014. Have a productive year all!

  • Mark, I have to agree! In 2010-2011 the iPad was AWESOME because I didn’t have a laptop. Once I got my Macbook Pro, I haven’t touched the iPad. I gave it to my husband to use for browsing jsonline when the Badgers are playing.

    Flash is the biggest issue I had, and I hated the way apps would crash. (But now I have Java issues on my Macbook) For those without laptops, the iPad is a good choice for portability. I did enjoy reading books on the iPad and may borrow it back from my husband when I need it. 

    • BLM

      Mark, I understand your point but I think it is a matter of how you have chosen to use the iPad. In use the iPad constantly for productive work and find it a great benefit. It is especially useful for taking notes in meetings, research (saved to Evernote), keeping up with email, and giving presentations. I also use the iPad for international business trips. I avoid entertainment when I’m working (self discipline) but I have entertainment available when desired. I also have all of my books, PDFs, journals, etc., available. I can do extensive research using Evernote and Everclip.

      I think if you will use the right tools and avoid distraction you may find the iPad a great boon to your productivity. I have. But, I also love my MacBook Pro.

  • Thoughtful list Mark.  The lack of flash is my biggest disappointment too!  It is a handy device for taking notes during a meeting, I even started using Keynote instead of Powerpoint for presentations.  The graphics are awesome and the battery life is impressive.  No cables/cords to plug in when meeting with clients or giving presentations.  The ease of use for any age group and/or computer “savvyness” is nice for training purposes.  Basically  I use my iPad to keep up with things such as checking email, blogs, Facebook, etc. but at the end of the day, sometime you just need a computer to get your work done!  

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