I’m not an Apploid. You know – those people who have owned a continuous and overlapping series of Macintosh computers dating back to the Reagan administration, are carrying their third iPhone, their sixth iPod, and have a Bill Gates dartboard. Those people are a little scary, even to the folks who voted for Sharron Angle. No, I’m just a guy who uses a wide range of technology to get things done (and goes camping with a butane lighter, matches, and a firesteel – never have only one way to make a camp fire!). I have two desktop PC’s, a laptop, a netbook, a Kindle, an Android phone … and an iPad. But it’s that iPad that my wife refers to as my “mistress.”
If you haven’t spent a few minutes playing with (or “fondling,” as the Missus calls it) an iPad, I won’t try to describe the user experience. Let’s just say it’s as different from a Wintel laptop as the laptop is from an IBM Model 29 card punch. Just big enough to see everything without eye strain, just small enough to carry like a paper notebook – I still want a keyboard for “serious” writing, but for anything else, the iPad is more inviting. From the preloaded Maps, which leverages the internal GPS, to the Calendar, Contacts, Notes, and Email, you get perfectly good applications included. Or you can pay a few bucks to get even better ones from the App Store. And as I adopt more useful business apps, and a new stylus, I’m starting to neglect my other devices.
Penultimate is just one of many sketching applications for iOS devices; I like it because it’s simple, cheap, and uses a sort of “lab notebook” metaphor. I won’t try to review it, because there are already reviews on YouTube that do an excellent job. It’s just a really cool application, like nothing available in a Wintel experience. Similarly, Kindle for the iPad is a remarkable improvement over the native device, not just because it adds color, but because the user experience is so much more like reading a book. Even PMI has delivered an iOS app for PM Network, which makes it feel like a magazine always wanted to feel.
Specific to project management, FourthFrame Technologies recently released SG (Simple Genius) Project Pro, a $40 app that might justify the purchase of an iPad all by itself. With most of the most commonly used functions of MS Project, and the ability to read XML files exported from Project and other tools, it’s got the potential to change the way we present to and collaborate with our stakeholders. For the Agilistas, Dar-Soft has just released Agile Project Manager; more accurately, it is a Scrum sprint planner for $10. BetterApps offers iKanban; it allows you to manage your backlog, work in progress, and completed for only $3. And if you’re studying for the PMP exam, PMChampion offers PMP Processes, a PMBOK study guide for $12. There are even several different versions of Docs To Go, for you to create, edit, or just view MS Office documents.
So I find I’m using my iPad for far more than Email and surfing – I’m actually using it in all the ways I’d use my laptop, if it came up immediately and was easy to hold in one hand, re-orienting the screen as I shift positions, and … OK, maybe I’m comparing Apples to oranges. But I’m now officially hooked.