I recently acquired an iPad mini. Aside from the fact that it’s a fun new toy (I’m typing on it right now!), I have some very positive initial reactions. The form factor is great – perfect for watching Netflix and reading books – and doesn’t lead to the same kind of hand fatigue that the nomal size iPad induces. It is more portable than a regular iPad. It can fit in oversized pockets and such.
Before making the decision to buy an iPad I asked myself a number of questions. Would I be able to view, edit, and compose Word Docs and Excel Spreadsheets? How would I get to my documents? What program would I use for ebooks, and would it support free Google Books as well as iBooks Author books? How would I type? I hope my answers to these questions will prove beneficial to share, especially if you’re considering an iPad for business or school use.
First, I needed to make sure that I would be able to work on MS Office documents, as that’s what I use for both work and school. After some research, I found Quick Office Pro HD. It allows editing of all MS Office document types, and seems to be a rock-solid program. And since it also integrates seamlessly with Google Drive (and Dropbox, to name a few cloud storage providers), I have instant access to all of my files. So far I have been very happy with my decision. We’ll see how it holds up in the long run, but I think it will be just the productivity suite I was looking for.
Now what to do about ebooks? I don’t like getting locked into a single system, which is the reason I decided against a Kindle. I want to be able to use any ebook reader on any device. I have partially accomplished this using iBooks because it will read epub format and I can sync free Google Books through iTunes. I can also use multi-touch books created in iBooks Author, and my notes sync between devices. It’s not ideal, though, because it does not allow me to sync these notes with my laptop if I wanted to read there, though I can email the notes I took if desired. I still have some work to do on this, but so far this method seems like the best option out there.
As for typing, I decided to go with a dedicated keyboard folio because I need the tactile feel of a keyboard. While very small, the keyboard is working out well. I am typing this very blog post on it. To sum up, I went into this decision with my eyes open and tried to do as much research as I could before jumping in, and I feel that I have made a good decision. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.