Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why iPad is unproductive for me

Ok! Here am back again with anti-iPad ranting. Last time, I wrote at length why I dislike iPad. That was just after I purchased my iPad 2. That's  long back. iPad has got updated, though the main complain on file structure still remains.
Even then, I thought to be rational and unbiased. I need a tablet for my work. Being an experimental biologist, I want to use the tablet for productivity: search and surf web, read books, read papers (pdf files) and comment on those,  take help of my reference management tool Mendeleye, read documents and edit those (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel), look into my experimental results (all either MS Office files or images). I want all these files neatly synchronized between my office desktop and the tablet. And I should be able to work on these files offline too, as that's my status most of the time when am not in office.

With all these in mind, I was looking into different Android tablets. Am using Android for long and I meet all these productivity requirements with my Android phone (and a Micromax rudimentary tab). But I gave a second thought, to get away from the 'fixation' with Android. So comes iPad mini. It's 7.9 inch screen is good for me. It's light weight but well built. I could comfortably hold it in one hand while working. It's super smooth and battery life is much better than an Android device.

So I looked back to my iPad that has been hijacked by my daughter. And tried to check for my requirements. With last update and recent apps, iOS allows me to do almost all the way I want. But it still suffer from the the problem of file handling. In office, I use MS Windows. My files are organized in folders and subfolders with suitable names.  All the important  folders are autosynced with my Dropbox. I want all these files and folders autosynced in my tablet too. And the autosync should be two way. So, if I do some editing on a file in the tablet, I should get that updated file in my desktop too. And all these without disturbing the folder architecture that I am using in desktop. I already have this in my Android devices. With such synchronization, the Android phone in my pocket is essentially a smaller version of my office desktop. Don't bother about memory, I use a fat external SD card. Unfortunately, I can not achieve these in an iPad (mini). The Dropbox app in iPad does not allow two-way autosync of folders. You can use another app Documents to achieve autosync for Dropbox. But it can work two-way only when you open and edit the file within this app. That means if I comment on a synced PDF file, using Adobe PDF reader in iPad, that will not get autosynced in my Dropbox and my desktop. Android has no such limitations. I keep folder synced in the external SD card. Just like a desktop, I can access those files using any file explorer of my choice and open and edit using suitable app of my choice. Any modifications gets autosynced in all machines through Dropbox. That's call productivity.

Sorry iPad (mini), you are still an entertainment device and I will go for an Android tab.