In a move that had one of my friends deciding that maybe the Mayan forecast of the end of the world was true and another suggesting a tiny bit of hell had frozen I bought an iPad Mini the other day. Now understand that while I have used Apple computers before I have never been a fan. The user interface drives me up the wall for one thing. I like my Windows. On the other hand the future is hand held devices and iPads seem to be almost ubiquitous these days. This is especially true at educational technology conferences. So out of self-defense I realized I have to learn this platform.
I’m still getting used to it of course. Trying to be open minded about it but it is different. I’ve been using Windows 8 on a slate (A Day With a Windows 8 Slate) and while a lot of things are the same some are different and that takes some getting used to. For example I Windows 8 I grab the top of an app and drag it off the bottom of the screen. On the iPad I do a sort of five finger squeeze. Neither is better or worse – just different.
So far I have installed mostly apps that I also run on my Windows slate. Things like Skype, SkyDrive, Amazon Kindle and some games for example. I’ve got Star Walk which is a sky viewing application that doesn’t appear to be available for Windows 8. I’m excited to try that out. I still need to do some looking around as I suspect that applications (apps – not a fan of the word) are likely to be a big differentiator. I’m open to suggestions for both platforms.
Other than apps I haven’t found anything I can do on the iPad that I can’t do on the Windows 8 slate. On the other hand I can’t seem to have two apps on the screen at one time on the iPad as I can on the Windows 8 device. And the search is nicer on the Windows 8 system. The software keyboards that show up on the iPad often have the “Enter” key relabeled in helpful ways which I appreciate. For example if I am entering a search value the Enter key will say “Search” rather than “Enter.” Very beginner friendly.
While I can plug all sorts of things into the Windows system (USB being a key one for me) one can’t attach anything to the iPad other than by Bluetooth. I may shop for a Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with either device at some point. Creation still screams for a keyboard for me. I can run “real” Windows applications on my Windows slate but I couldn’t do so with a Surface either so that is not a big deal for me.
Next step is to look into developing software for the iPad. Anyone know if I can do so on a Windows system or do I need to acquire a Mac? I’m still learning but over time I’ll blog about what I learn and how the two platforms compare. Who knows but maybe I’ll pick up an android tablet to compare as well. Do you have an iPad or a Windows Surface? What should I be trying to to compare?