∞ Slamming into Walls

Mark Crump:

I feel the biggest thing holding the iPad back is software. Not once have I felt my iPad Pro was slow.


What is frustrating are the things you would think would be pretty easy on an iPad, but aren’t. On iOS in Pages and Word, I cannot edit or create document styles. It will accept custom styles in a document I created outside of iOS, however. I had a 12-page paper that I wrote almost entirely on the Mac. I am running the iOS 11 beta 1 on my iPad and I didn’t trust an important production document to a beta. A blog post, sure. Something that is 20% of my grade with a hard due date? Nope. The other reason is Word for iOS has just enough limitations that I didn’t want to run into a wall. I can’t seem to adjust the spacing between paragraphs, for example. I can adjust the overall line spacing, though. I also couldn’t adjust the margins of the document. The professor had stringent formatting requirements and I was unable to make the adjustments on the iPad. I may have been able to use Ulysses to do this. The instructor was firm on .doc formatting, so it was safer to stay native in Word.

Spot on. The limitation as the iPad for your only device isn’t the device itself but the software needed to run on the device. Earlier I outlined some similar issues when it comes to using reference managers on the iPad. I’ve had similar issues with Microsoft Word. At the end of the day, to finish a writing project to run in I had to complete the paper on a Mac. Mark Crump’s experiences with the iPad highlight a significant barrier many users face when adopting it as their primary computing device. Despite the iPad Pro's robust hardware capabilities, software limitations often hinder its utility, particularly in professional and academic environments. This reflects a broader issue that users encounter with iOS apps like Pages and Word, where functionality lags behind their desktop counterparts.

Key Software Limitations on the iPad

  • Document Style Management: Inability to create or edit document styles within iOS Pages and Word significantly restricts professional document formatting.
  • Spacing and Margin Adjustments: Basic formatting options like adjusting paragraph spacing and document margins are limited or non-existent in the iOS versions.
  • Reliability Concerns: Using iOS 11 beta for critical documents is risky, as beta versions are not stable enough for important academic or professional work.
  • File Format Compatibility: Requirements for specific file formats (e.g., .doc) cannot always be met satisfactorily by available iOS apps.

Potential Solutions and Workarounds

  • Alternative Apps: For tasks that native apps struggle with, alternative third-party apps like Ulysses or Scrivener might offer better functionality. However, compatibility with required file formats (.doc) can remain a challenge.
  • Hybrid Use: Utilizing the iPad in conjunction with a Mac or PC, where preliminary drafts and notes are prepared on the iPad, and final edits and formatting are done on a desktop operating system.
  • Cloud-Based Solutions: Services like Google Docs or Microsoft 365 online can sometimes offer more features than their app counterparts and allow for easier file format management.

How Latenode Can Assist Integrating Latenode, a low-code automation platform, could provide additional support to streamline the use of an iPad for academic and professional purposes. Here's how Latenode can be leveraged:

  • Automated Data Sync: Automatically synchronize documents across devices and platforms, ensuring that the latest versions are accessible whether you're on your iPad or desktop.
  • Workflow Automation: Set up workflows in Latenode to convert documents into different styles or formats as required, potentially overcoming some of the formatting limitations of iOS apps.
  • Notification Systems: Implement notifications for workflow completions, such as when a document has been successfully formatted and is ready for final review on a desktop system.
  • Enhanced Task Management: Integrate task management tools to keep track of document statuses, formatting needs, and deadlines, all centralized within Latenode’s dashboard.
  • AI Chatbot Support: Utilize AI chatbots within Latenode to provide real-time assistance and troubleshooting for formatting and software use, enhancing user interaction and solving problems on the fly.

By understanding and adapting to these limitations through strategic use of alternative tools and platforms like Latenode, users can enhance their productivity on the iPad and bridge the gap between mobile convenience and desktop functionality. This approach allows for a more flexible use of technology, adapting tools to fit the task and workflow rather than being constrained by the limitations of a single device or software ecosystem.

Source: https://markcrump.com/2017/06/13/slamming-into-walls/