In researching the iPad, I discovered there is a lot of negativity toward the product, particularly the ergonomic aspects. In general, the most common complaints were:
- 1. weight – heavier than a hand held
- 2. portability – bigger than an iPod or other similar device – smaller than a laptop.
- 3. viewing angle – needs to be held up or propped up. This can either cause strain on the hands and arms to hold it at an angle where the screen can be viewed properly or requires a poor sitting posture where the neck is bent, causing strain. Apple’s answer was a dock – which leads to a portability issue in itself.
- 4. typing – difficult to input data without the Apple keyboard attachment
While the above issues seem to be the most common complaint on a lot of blogs and product reviews, one must keep in mind that a product’s benefits depends on what you are using it for. Laptops, for example, are still not a replacement for a regular computer that comes equipped with a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse. Working an 8 hour day on a regular laptop will also result in discomfort to the user.
So what is the actual intention of the iPad? Certainly, it isn’t meant to replace the laptop or a computer. It’s a handy device but has Apple claimed that it is the answer to bulky laptops or non-portable computers when typing an office report or college essay? It’s intention, maybe the fault of Apple marketing and advertising or perhaps it’s target market’s comprehension of what the iPad is meant to do, is a little misunderstood.
Let’s look at the actual functions of the iPad. Apple does not say “perfect for working on office projects while you are on a plane to Mexico.” The direct quote from the website says “The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down.” The iPad is a larger version of the iTouch or iPhone – and I would rather check my email on the iPad’s larger screen than on my teeny iPhone screen! It really isn’t any different than holding a large hardcover book. Another use is one that our very own Linda Miller came up with – it can easily replace the clipboard and paper when making notes or filling in a check sheet when conducting an assessment and then transferring it to your computer workstation.
If your intent is to replace your laptop or home computer, you best buy the accessories to make it more ergonomically sound. It will need the docking station for reading a book or even reviewing reports. It could also use a separate keyboard if you plan on actually typing your Philosophy 101 final essay in Starbucks. Remember, even a laptop isn’t meant for prolonged use without using peripherals.