Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Things You Can’t Do on an iPad

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Side-By-Side Multitasking

The Macintosh was the first consumer-oriented computer that could run multiple apps on the same screen. It is ironic that Apple’s newest technology does not facilitate this user experience. If you want to refer to another app, you have to switch to that app or maybe reference a Notification Center widget. I often find it frustrating to look up information in another app.

Some apps will reset when you return back from another app. For example, some social networking apps will re-initialize and display an updated view of your “wall”. This prevents me from leaving the app to look up information or post a link. Doing so will lose my place in a post, returning me back to an updated view of my “wall”. It’s very frustrating and demonstrates how a simple thing cannot be done on an iPad. I have found myself compromising. Instead of researching a fact or posting a link, I will try to recall the fact and tell people to search for certain keywords. There are myriad applications where side-by-side multitasking is useful, however, and iPad cannot perform this function at all.

iPad can't do side-by-side multitasking


UPDATE: iOS 9 introduces new multi-tasking features for select iPad models. The new features, Slide Over and Split-View, enable running two apps on the same screen. There is also a picture-in-picture feature which supports video playback in a resizable and positionable window.

These features are still not as good as the original 1984 Mac and pale in comparison to OS X and Windows. Both operating systems allow users to create whole desktops with multiple apps and quickly switch between these. You can have several apps on one screen and several screens organized as multiple desktops. This is an order of magnitude more powerful than the iPad. The new iPad multitasking features reveal how primitive and simplistic iOS still is. It’s a mobile operating system. The iPad is still just a bigger iPhone.

Name Images

While working on my site using my iPad, I was shocked at how difficult it is to name an image. iOS has abstracted file names from the file system. I tried copying the image and changing properties, however, when I uploaded the image to my site it retained the generic name. I also tried a few third-party apps which claim to be able to rename files. They only do this internally, within the context of the app. When I try to upload the image using a browser or app, I am forced to use my Camera Roll and get a generic image name, such as “image1.png”.

There are some workarounds. You can upload the image to a FTP site, rename it, and move it to your site. That’s a lot of effort to assign a file name. This method also requires another computer, the FTP server, so it isn’t done on the iPad. The workaround is to use another computer.

This is a deal breaker for me. I don’t like to publish images with generic names. It makes it much harder to manage hundreds of image files. It also negatively impacts SEO. The inability to rename files was truly eye-opening. It’s such a simple and basic task, but so difficult when you only have an iPad.

iPad can't rename an image

Play World of Warcraft and Other Games

World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games, but you can’t play it on an iPad. The game requires a Mac or PC, due to its complexity and UI requirements. You can’t have a software keyboard popping up on the screen while playing this game. There are many other games that can’t be played on an iPad. The serious gamer is best off with a Windows PC, although many games are now available for the Mac.

Play Flash Content

Steve Jobs decided that Adobe Flash would have no presence on iOS devices. Given that Flash is the main cause of crashes on the Mac, this makes sense. Furthermore, Flash exposed Mac OS X to the largest malware incident in Apple’s history, infecting 600,000 Mac users with the Flashback trojan horse. Flash was also never modified to work with touch screens. I applaud this decision, but unfortunately, Flash still has a presence on the World Wide Web. (continue…)

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