Talking About iPads and Real Work

The always astute, Lukas Mathis, wrote a fantastic article about why he switched from an iPad to a Microsoft Surface so he could finally do “real work” using a tablet:

In general, I really love the Surface, and I use it much more, and for many more things, than I ever used any iPad I ever owned.

His thoughts on doing productive tasks with an iPad, and his review of Windows 8 — in which he clearly articulates the good, bad, and horrible — is all just excellent.

There are folks who are tiring of this whole racket around if we can or can’t use the iPad for real work. But I’m not tired of this topic at all.

The way I see it, being part of this ongoing conversation about “using the iPad for real work” is sort of like sitting in the front row and watching the personal and mobile computer landscape shift right before our eyes.

To quote Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

As amazing as mobile and personal computing is today, it is still in its infancy. The iPad is only a few years old, and think of how far it has come already. Twenty years from now, the average PC will probably be much more like a tablet (or a cell phone) and much less like a laptop/desktop. When my oldest son starts his freshman semester in the fall of 2030, I doubt we’ll be weighing the pros and cons of the iPad’s ability to do real work.

One day, as Lukas himself points out in his article, it won’t be newsworthy when someone does something creatively productive on their iPad:

If it was normal for people to use their iPads for creative tasks, there would not be newspaper articles about people using their iPads for creative tasks. The iPad will have arrived as a productivity device when news sites stop reporting about people who use iPads for productivity. So in the end, all of these links to articles about people who use their iPads to create things only seem to support the notion that this is not how most people use their iPads.

He’s right. Most people probably use their iPads for reading, surfing the web, light email, and checking Facebook and Twitter. And that’s fine.

But then there are apps like Drafts, Diet Coda, PDF Expert 5, Launch Center Pro, Editorial, and so many others (plus all the equivalent Windows 8 apps that I have no idea what they are) which are pushing mobile computing forward in small steps.

And those who are using these apps are also influencing the future of mobile computing. Because, and maybe I’m being grandiose, but I think those who are doing “real work” from their iPhone and iPad, are, in a small way, helping steer the direction of the personal computer.