I’ve been doing some reading on this topic across various fields and practitioners seem fairly well divided over the usefulness of the iPad. Personally, I’ve encountered difficulty in accessing certain applications due to Apple’s lack of functionality with some interfaces.
With the pending release of numerous new mobile tablet devices making their way to the market, I suspect that many of the issues presented by the current version of the iPad will be addressed and that the tablet computer will become a very handy engineering tool.
If so, 2011 may well be looked back upon as an early inflection point with these devices as they start to become so functional and ubiquitous that laptops will go the way of desktops (i.e., you’ll only use the laptop/desktop when it’s absolutely necessary and the tablet will become your everyday computing device). Based on my experience with the iPad, the functionality of the tablet devices really needs to step up and basically do what you can do with your laptop, with very few exceptions, before this happens on a larger scale.
But I’m interested to hear more specifically what automation design engineers think about this potential new tool. Have you used an iPad or other mobile tablet device to handle engineering tasks? If so, what were your impressions? If not, why are you holding back — cost, functionality, habit?
Feel free to post your comments here or check out the discussion I created around this topic on the Design News’ “System & Product Design Engineering” group on LinkedIn at: http://linkd.in/f986ns.