Working on the iPad

Working only on my iPad is a dream, but it’s also not that far off.

Tim Cook opened a never-healing wound when he relayed to Daisuke Wakabayashi:

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook says he does 80% of the work of running the world’s most valuable company on an iPad.

I personally didn’t think much of that statement because my own personal experience lends me to think this is likely true.

Apparently I was one of the few that thought this was a genuine statement, here’s John Gruber on the matter:

I’m sure “80 percent” is a rough guess, perhaps even somewhat exaggerated in the iPad’s favor, but there’s a dogfooding aspect to Tim Cook being a heavy iPad user who uses it for actual work.

That’s all but saying that Cook is just schilling for the sake of PR and that Cook doesn’t do that much work on the iPad. Obviously, we are all just stabbing in the dark as no one that has reported on this knows Cook personally enough to say what the truth is — except for what Tim Cook himself said.

So we can only really make assumptions here.

Here’s my true guess: if Cook was dogfooding at all it was at the expense of the iPhone, not the Mac. That if Cook was exaggerating in favor of the iPad, he wasn’t doing so by minimizing the amount of work he does on the Mac, but instead by minimizing the amount of work he does on his iPhone. Or, even shorter: if Cook had come out to say that he does 60% of his work on the iPhone — I’d believe him.

It’s absurd to me to assume that Cook couldn’t do 80% or more of his work on the iPad. He comes off as someone who clearly loves the device, and he’s the CEO of Apple, so he could have chosen an iPhone or Mac to dogfood if he wanted and still sounded loyal to Apple.

Macworld ran through some of their staff asking how much each does their work on the iPad, and (far more interesting) how much each person could do on their iPad if forced to. The article is paginated and a bit wordy, but here’s the nut of what each person said about if they could work on their iPad if forced to:

  • Yes: 11.1%
  • Yes, but they would complain about it: 66.6%
  • Mostly: 11.1%
  • No: 11.1% ((Doesn’t equal 100%, rounding and all.))

Now, this is about what I expected. Essentially a bunch of people saying “yeah I could do my work on an iPad, but…” with the ‘but’ being that they would be fucking annoyed by it and they would want you to know that.

(I find that when you ask such a question of people they seem to think that it is a real possibility so they lose a bit objectivity about the question — worried that if they simply say “yes, I could do my work on an iPad” that somehow they may be forced to do their work on the iPad.)

Instead of focusing on that group, I want to focus on the ‘Mostly’ and ‘No’ group — which is two people, both of which work with audio recording and editing.

Jason Snell says:

So to answer Tim Cook’s challenge: Yes, I could do everything in my job that doesn’t involve podcasting with my iPad.

Which is really accurate, glad he was included, and I’d count his response as an overall yes. Which means there really was only one person asked that didn’t think they could do their work on an iPad: Christopher Breen.

Here’s what Breen said (in part):

Also, while I know it’s possible to edit audio and video on an iPad, I’d do it only upon threat of termination. I try to be very precise in my edits, but using a finger to implement them is inescapably clumsy. I find that editing multiple tracks requires the extensive onscreen real-estate that only a computer monitor can provide.

His other complaints were the universal “multitasking” complaint and a complaint about the Macworld CMS (goodness guys, get a better CMS already). I think Breen has a very legitimate complaint, but it’s a complaint that will only be found in his job, whereas I think a larger chunk of people would find the same complaint that Jason Snell has about podcasting.

So here’s my question: what about Tim Cook’s job do you think he would have trouble doing on an iPad? He certainly isn’t Podcasting that I know of…

I honestly can’t think of a single thing which Cook would likely have to do more than 20% of the time that could not be done on the iPad, so it seems it’s more telling about you if you don’t believe Cook than it is telling about Cook.

A quick side point about the podcasting aspect — as I too have looked into doing this from my iPad.

It surprises me that we have dozens of excellent and well supported iOS podcast players in the App Store, but not a single serviceable Podcast maker in the App Store.

Where’s the tool to record, edit, and publish a Podcast on the iPad, or iPhone? There’s plenty of microphones out there for iOS, and it seems to me all you need in an app is:

  • Ability to record an P2P audio conversation.
  • Ability to trim, noise-gate, and adjust levels of the audio.
  • Ability to convert to different audio formats.
  • Ability to add metadata and show notes.
  • Ability to upload to XYZ podcast service.

Five things, why isn’t there such an app? This actually drives me nuts to think about how primed this market is for a simple podcasting app.

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