No device is perfect, and as enamored as I am with my iPad, there are times when I want to chuck it out the nearest window. Here are five things I hate about my iPad:
- The Touchscreen Keyboard.
- The Home Button is Prone to Accidents.
- The Absence of a Universal Bluetooth Game Controller.
- No USB slots.
- Mobile Sites.
It makes me feel like an inarticulate chimp when I try to express my thoughts using its arbitrary sensitivity. Usually the autocorrect steps in, but that creates a whole host of new issues for me. When it corrects something I’ve legitimately mistyped (due to my fat fingers), it feels like it’s patronizing me, and when it gives a suggestion for something I’ve typed correctly because it thinks I must mean a different word, it feels like it’s censoring me. Either way, there’s no way I’d be able to produce content at a decent speed without my bluetooth keyboard, at least not without going through several window-chucked iPads.
For sale, one iPad, slightly window-chucked. (Creative Commons Image by iRepairUAE)
Especially while gaming. It’s a vicious cycle, really: I get so focused on blowing up enemy fighters in Galaxy on Fire 2 or exacting my revenge in Grand Theft Auto 3 that I forget the Home button is even there until suddenly I’m staring at the app screen screaming, “NNNOOOOOOOOO!” in the middle of Starbucks and everyone’s staring at me for some reason. While the game stays in memory and always picks up exactly where it left off when I re-launch it right away, it takes me out of the moment and spoils a perfectly good experience. Considering how many games are best played in Landscape mode, there really has to be a better place for the home button than right where my thumb naturally goes. And speaking of gaming . . .
While there have been several promising advances, there is still no one controller that works for every game. This is a problem, not only because of the Home button problem mentioned above, but because Touchscreen controls are unimmersive because they have no physical feedback. With a controller, you can feel the push of the button, and steer with a small joystick, even feel the rumble of a hit. While there are some workaround hardware solutions, they don’t really compare to the comfort and immersion that you can get from a physical, XBox-like controller, not to mention the questionable ergonomics of gripping a two-pound tablet.
This isn’t really a huge complaint for me since I have a habit of syncing my iPad with any files I need from home before I head out for the day. But it speaks to a perceived arrogance on the part of Apple that their portable device doesn’t play nice with other commonly-used portable devices. Even one jump drive slot would be enough, I would think, and if the designers are really concerned that it will mess up the aesthetics, they can always use a cover that’s similar to those on smartphones and digital cameras. Maybe some day we’ll live in a perfect world where everything is wirelessly connected and no one ever needs to use any kind of physical media, but we’re not there yet.
I have kind of a love/hate relationships with “Mobile Sites,” where I completely adore the ones that work well (like Zoho Mail, which I use to host my email account), and want to kill with fire the sites that look terrible, are unintuitive, and basically useless (I’m looking right at you, Google+). Unfortunately, most Mobile sites fit into the latter category, and so my online experience is sometimes hampered by poor design, lack of accessible content, and thrown-together interactivity. While Chrome has a handy option under the menu called “Request Desktop Site,” it seems to only work on a page-by-page basis, and as soon as I navigate to another page on the site I have to request the desktop site again, which sometimes leads me back to the homepage and ALL I WANT TO DO IS LINK TO THIS FUNNY ARTICLE ABOUT NAPOLEON BONAPARTES’ OBSESSION WITH COIN-COLLECTING WHY WON’T YOU LET ME LIVE?!
Still the one
At the end of the day, the iPad is still my preferred device and platform for maximum produtivity. It works great, keeps me focused, and is fun to use, which makes it perfect for me. If you have some iPad frustrations of your own, send me an email: editor[at]iPad4Life.net and maybe I’ll find a solution in a future post.