As I continue to dive into this iPad experiment, I realized the single biggest obstacle to using my iPad for more was that I did not have access to any files beyond my email and Photos. This, obviously, was hugely preventative of doing anything but modest creation on my iPad. And, I imagine it’s probably true for a lot of people. We are so used to this whole file/folder structure that’s on our computers, that we don’t know what to do when we don’t have that.
Now, I must admit that not having a file/folder structure is a blessing in a way. It’s a holdover from the “desktop metaphor” and not having that metaphor on my iPad that helps me stay focused.
But, more focus is useless unless I can access the things I need to focus on. Since I doubt Apple will ever introduce file management on the iPad itself (it seems to fly in the face of Apple’s simplicity model), I had to find an app for that. And, in fact, I found a few really good ones for creating that file/folder structure on my iPad itself. (The best being FileApp Pro, which I would highly recommend for managing any files you want to save locally on your iPad). But then I realized, with that, I lose one of the most compelling aspects of today’s tech world: seamless syncing.
If I read email on my iPad, it’s marked as read on my iPhone, and when I next log into gmail. But if I had a file on my iPad that I edited, and then I needed to access it on my computer, I would need to sync it through iTunes file sharing (or email it to myself). I don’t want to do that every time I edit a file. I want it to be seamless – like reading email. And there is one truly seamless way that exists… I moved to the cloud.
Enter two wonderful free cloud services (that both have apps) where my files now reside: Box and DropBox. Because of space limits for the free accounts, I decided to use both; Box is for my personal files and DropBox is for business files.
So, it took a few days of periodically syncing files while at my computer, but I finally have all of my business and important personal files on DropBox and Box — and therefore on my iPad. It feels really liberating knowing that, wherever I am, I can actually access that important file — or any important file.
That’s one step closer to never using a laptop again… (I jest. Or do I?)
[Once again, typed entirely on my iPad. Although this time, I heavily used the new iPad’s dictation feature. Great for creating a rough draft.]