28 May 2010

iMac apps vs. iPad apps

In a comment to I’ve Changed My Mind About The iPad, Joeflambe wrote:

yuck, an iPad, really?

not a real computer since there are no real apps that you use daily on your current computer.

This seems like an interesting exercise. Let’s look at the most used apps on my iMac and whether there is an iPad equivalent.

  • Safari: Check

I have a Flash blocker installed on my iMac, so lack of Flash on the iPad isn’t much of a change for me.

  • Mail: Check
  • iChat: Check (AIM)
  • iCal: Check
  • Address Book: Check
  • iTunes: Check
  • iPhoto: Check
  • GarageBand: Check (StudioTrack)
  • Evernote: Check

Now, to be fair, the iPad equivalents of the above do not always have all the features of their Mac counterparts. The main functionality is there. The rest...well, the iPad isn’t even a year old yet.

  • Preview (as PDF reader): Check

The iPad has PDF reading built in, but no specific app for it. I do most of my PDF reading/referencing in GoodReader.

  • iWork: Check

Some people will say matter-of-factly that nobody is going to want to write a term paper or create a spreadsheet on an iPad. shrug

OK, Pages for iPad doesn’t have footnotes...yet. It can’t print directly from the iPad—though Jobs himself has allegedly acknowledged that printing is in the works. (Yes, I’ve seen the photocopier pic. I LOL’d...the first time.) With my Bluetooth keyboard, I can’t see why I wouldn’t write a lengthy document with Pages for iPad. Even if I currently have to move it to my iMac for the finishing touches.

The whole keyboard + iPad topic is fodder for its own post.

I’ve created a few spreadsheets on the iPad. No less complex than those I would have created on my iMac. Although, I’m not that much of a spreadsheet user.

The iPad actually seems like a fine platform for creating presentations. We’ll see how it goes when I next need to create one.

I recently bought this Mac app. In fact, I bought it—in part—to produce content for the excellent TabToolkit iPad/iPhone app. (The fact that I can’t use it for that at the moment could be another post.) This is another app—like Keynote—that might actually work as well, if not better, on the iPad.

Unfortunately, Apple’s rules don’t allow for an equivalent to DrScheme.

What if? Well, if it were a fairly straight port, it probably wouldn’t work very well without a keyboard. (Which is OK; I have one.) I can imagine a visual/touch interface for editing Scheme source code, though. (I’m imagining something like what I imagine the Viaweb editor was like.)

I think you could do a “DrEcmaScript” within Apple’s rules, though. As either an app (if it used WebKit) or a web app. I suppose a Scheme interpreter written in Javascript would be allowed, though perhaps not practical.

So...only two strikes.

It might be interesting to look through my iPad apps and see which ones don’t have Mac equivalents...or those for which I wouldn’t want a Mac equivalent.

Is the iPad going to replace my iMac? No, I don’t think so. Not anytime soon. It can, I think, come astonishingly close, however. There is a lot of overlap between the Mac, iPad, and iPhone; but there’s also enough outside those overlaps to justify each. The overlaps mean more flexibility.

The iPad may not replace my iMac, but imagine an iPhone OS desktop device. That might. Of course, being a programmer, I might still want a Linux/FreeBSD system for tinkering. (One of the nice things—for me—about Mac OS X is that I can get to the BSD personality underneath it when I want to.) For getting things done, however, I’m happy to use “app consoles”.


peter blount said...


peter blount said...

The reason there is not much to comment on about this blogs inference is because "we" meaning Mac lovers and win lovers alike have come to know "Windows haters" and "Mac haters" when we here them. First of all its "purposely unfair" to compare the "Imac" and the "IPad" for the same reason you can't compare a pc running windows XP, Vista, or 7, to a handheld running CE, Android, Google, or palm. For you to write this blog as if you know these devices, and 2
as if you really use them on a daily basis I really don’t believe that this is the case and 3 if you really cared that much, instead of repeating the "Mac haters" buzz words post your blog on a site where you can be heard by people who actually use these devices and not on one that try to scrape up readers by using buzz topics. Why Corporations still try, We are just not that dumb anymore.

Robert said...


I’ve been unsure both about whether to respond to this and how. But I think it deserves a response, so here goes nothing...

“The reason there is not much to comment on...”

This post wasn’t meant to solicit comments. I thought it was an interesting exercise. Like everything on my blog, I put it here so as not to bore uninterested people with it or simply not share at all. This blog provides a nice middle ground where I can share my thoughts and people can read them or ignore them as they choose.

“...this blogs inference...”

What am I inferring? No, don’t answer that. I don’t really care what you may think I’m inferring. I think I was pretty explicit. The iPad already has many (if not most) of the apps that I used to use daily on my current computer, and that will only increase. I wasn’t intending to infer anything else.

“...its ‘purposely unfair’ to compare...”

It’s a exercise in response to a specific comment. Yes, the iMac and the iPad are different. (Though there’s no denying that there is overlap.) Fairness doesn’t enter into it. There’s no winner or loser in this comparison. Just curiosity about the outcome.

“...if you really cared that much...”

About what? Whatever it is, I think the answer is that I do not care. I’ve got no agenda here. It is called “thinking out loud” because that’s what it is.

“...scrape up readers...”

I do pretty much zero to promote this blog. I only have roughly a score of regular readers. If it were more or less, I really wouldn’t care.