Finger-painting with productivity is not a term I ever thought I'd use. Working in enterprise for years, trapped behind a desk and a Windows PC and Microsoft Office, productivity was arduous. It was a chore. The software was bought because of the boxes it checked, not the efficiency it enabled, and was as chronically outdated as the hardware that ran it. Day in, day out, keystrokes and clicks counted down the hours until lunch, and again until quitting time. Then came the iPad — currently the iPad Air — and everything changed. The utter desolation of the cubicles, the endless cruft of the start buttons and ribbons fell away like blocks of shattered concrete, and we could reach out and delightfully, inspiringly, touch our words, our data, and our tasks, anywhere, any time.
If Apple has had one relentless purpose since its creation it's been to democratize computing technology. The Apple II helped put the command line in the home. The Mac helped put graphical interfaces into the schools. Now the iPad has put multitouch into the hands of everyone, everywhere.
For every person for whom a traditional computer was off-putting or intimidating, for ever place for which a traditional computer was unwieldy or unreachable, for every job for which a traditional computer was impractical or ill-suited, the iPad has provided a real, useful, enjoyable alternative.
A sheet of glass, though which people could reach out and directly manipulate the limitless potential of the web, and the hundreds of thousands of tablet-specific apps in the App Store, proved to be the key. Not only for children who could never figure out the complexity of a traditional computer, or senior citizens who'd never had the chance to, but for people in all walks of life who simply needed something more mobile and far, far more welcoming. (Thanks to Siri and iOS accessibility and, and you can add far more inclusive as well.)
In Apple's new iPad Air verse, Organizing a Movement, Slow Ride's Jason Hall shows how he got bike rallies going in a revitalized Detroit, all with the help of his iPad Air. The video above gives you the highlight, the link a lot more details including a longer video that explains how Hall uses his iPad. The apps he uses include:
It's hard to imagine anyone carrying a traditional computer or trying to use traditional computer software in the middle of a Guangzhou street, with an athlete down on the field, atop the highest peak in the sky, in caves deep beneath the water. The iPad, by contrast, not only removes the intermediation of the keyboard and mouse, but of the technology in the moment.
Sure, you can get detachable keyboards and stylus pens if you really want to, if you need to input a ton of text or scribble or sketch notes, but you can also simply tap and swipe your way through almost any task imaginable. Not while trapped behind a desk, but out where the action is.
Apple shows how, from your bike, or a crowded street, or a field, or a cliff, or a reef, an iPad can help you get things done. The same holds true from your home office, your coffee-shop credit card processing, your always on the road realty service, your fresh air food truck, your on-site consulting, your trade-show videography, your VPN from poolside, your little league team meeting, your boardroom, and so much more.
I've mentioned before how the iPad is now my mother's primary computer, and one of her favorite things ever because, for the first time, it lets her really use a computer in a way she understands and can relate to. Likewise I've mentioned how we used the iPad as part of our live broadcasting from CES last year as a close-up camera with an amazingly large view-finder to really show off all the gadgets and gear on stage. Those are just two more examples, albeit personal ones for me.
That's the new generation of productivity and the flexibility enabled by the iPad Air. It's the finger painting with data and words and tasks that not only free our bodies but our minds.
iOS 8 will be coming this fall and, along with it, new features not only for enterprise for everyone, including extensibility and Continuity.
Let me know — how productive are you with your iPad Air, and how?