I had anticipated that the iPad would have been most useful for reading and annotating, eliminating the need for carrying around stacks of papers and several different pens/hi-liters.
However this specific application has been difficult for several reasons:
- Annotating is almost clumsy at times with taps and gestures being misinterpreted too often, while typing with the virtual keyboard leads to far more errors (and improper auto-correction) than would otherwise occur with a conventional keyboard
- The tactile sensation of “paging” through a document is missing in a surprisingly powerful way, and becomes very obvious when it is necessary to switch between documents (for example, when reviewing a paper that has text as a PDF and figures as PowerPoint files)
- Having the same file in several locations (Dropbox, then DocsToGo, then someplace…), and not really being able to see where these files are has been frustrating and difficult to navigate, especially with a PC laptop.
Nonetheless, these challenges are balanced by the increasing prevalence of the iPad in my everyday use, thus I suspect that these particular challenges with this device will eventually be overcome.
I also explored the apps Bamboo Paper, Evernote and MyScript for the purpose of taking notes during seminars, however the utility of the iPad for taking notes has been limited by the inadequacy of the stylus. The stylus interface is not fine enough; while this could be overcome by zooming into the page, I often need to see notes taken on other parts of the page as I write. Further on the zoom, the constant scrolling of the page is distracting, and cumbersome if you want to go back for some reason to see what was written. It is possible that a better stylus could improve this use.