March 20, 2013 iPad Meeting: Could the iPad be Facing Competition?

Hello iPad Users!

 

Today, during our iPad Meeting we were introduced to another kind of tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro. Could this tablet be the future competitor of the iPad? We may not know, but this new device brings a lot to the plate.

The Surface Pro basically functions like a laptop, but is smaller and more portable. It has many great features like: Windows 8, 64GB to 128 GB of storage, HD Display, Pen Tool, Intel Core Processor, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, 5 hour battery life, Two 720p HD LifeCams front and rear facing with True Color, USB and Mini Display Ports, and many Apps. Some additional features include keyboard. There are two kinds that a user can attach. One is touch sensitive and can also act as a cover for the tablet while the other one is similar to a regular keyboard that you would attach to the tablet. However, there is an on-screen keyboard as well.

The Surface Pro is touch-orientated, which is great for multitasking because it is easier to navigate between Apps. Additionally, it allows a user to place two open Apps side by side on the screen so that the user can view two things at once on one screen. The other cool thing you can do with the Surface Pro is draw or write on documents by using the writing tool (Pen). This is great for note-taking. Normally on other devices, when we draw or write it looks like a bunch of scribbles, but with this new device the writing looks clear and realistic. One useful program mentioned for note-taking was One Note. One Note automatically saves your work to the Skydrive, which is storage in the cloud, so the user does not have to worry about whether or not they saved their work. They also don’t have to worry about on what device they saved their work and where on that device the work is located. The great thing about cloud storage is that your work can be accessed anywhere and on any device, and shows when changes were made to a document. Other Apps besides One Note, like Word, can be used with Skydrive, too.  Lastly, there are many Apps that can be downloaded onto the tablet , but since the Surface Pro functions like a laptop a user can install any other program they want like they would on their desktop or laptop. The Surface Pro could be the replacement for laptops because of its functionality.

However, the Surface Pro, like any other tablet, does have its disadvantages. The number one issue being cost as it starts at $899.  Yes, many people would feel they can buy a laptop for this price, but since the tablet possesses similar functions of a laptop,  Microsoft feels it should be valued at the same price.  Though, if price is a concern, Microsoft has another tablet called the Surface RT, which starts at $499, but has less features and storage available. Both these products can only be found in Microsoft stores.  Another issue is the weight. It is two pounds, one more pound than the iPad, making it difficult to hold  for a long period of time. Though, it is more weight to lug around, the Surface Pro is still lighter than lugging a laptop around. Also, one more pound is not going to kill you, so don’t let that affect your decision about buying this product. The last issue is that the Surface Pro is not meant to be used for games. It does support minimal game use, but if this is the only reason you want to buy this device than you should reconsider. Games are better supported on an iPad. Whether Apple likes it or not, the Surface Pro sounds like the next best thing.

Also, during our meeting we discussed several Apps. Those being: Dropbox, Box, SpiderOak, 1Password, Evernote, Penultimate, and Video Pix. Dropbox and Box were previously mentioned in another blog, but I will briefly explain them again. SpiderOak is basically the same concept as Dropbox and Box, but is a more secure way to store your files on the cloud. Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, documents, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you saved to your Dropbox from all your computers, iPhone, iPad and even the Dropbox website! The Box.net App  lets you access your Box.net account directly from your iPhone. Open documents, images, music and videos, anywhere. Also, use it to stream music that didn’t fit on your device, to read PDF, Word or Excel documents on the go, or to access any other files you have stored on Box.net. For more information on these applications, follow this link: http://ipad.blogs.pace.edu/2013/03/07/battle-of-the-boxes-dropbox-vs-box-net/.

Another App were discussed was 1Password, which stores all your passwords in one secure place. 1Password for iPad can store website passwords, credit cards, secure notes, and more, and make it all available at the flick of your finger. Everything is protected with the last password you need to remember. When you touch a website login, 1Password takes you to the site and automatically fills in your credentials for you. You don’t have to remember your password or even the URL for each site. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Also, passwords are encrypted, so even if someone does gain access, you are still protected.

The next Apps discussed were Evernote  and Penultimate. Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use. You can take a photo, screenshot, or record some audio and save it. Save entire webpages to your Evernote account with the web clipper browser extensions . Share your notes and collaborate on projects with friends, colleagues and classmates. Penultimate is the original and easiest-to-use handwriting app for iPad that combines the natural experience of pen and paper with the flexibility and syncing of Evernote. Lose the paper, keep the handwriting, and remember everything.With Evernote syncing, your notes are searchable and available on any computer or mobile device you use. The last App discussed was Video Pix. VideoPix is a Slow Motion editor, Video Frame Grabber, and an enhanced video player all with a simple and powerful user interface. However, this App eats up storage,  but with applications like Dropbox you can store your work there. Also, these videos can be uploaded to Youtube, but be sure to specify that the work is being used for educational or personal purposes or you can face copyright issues.

The next iPad Meeting is on April 15, 2013 at 12:20pm- 1:15pm in the VC Rooms.

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