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CIO - By now, you've probably heard that Mitt Romney wrote his acceptance speech on an iPad. (Oddly, he didn't write a concession speech.) If Romney had won, the content created on the iPad would have been heard around the world.
Who says the iPad is a lousy content creation device?
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Well, most CIOs who support "Bring Your Own Device" iPads tell me that the tablet still has a long way to go before it replaces the venerable laptop. Crafting documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides, even writing long email missives on the iPad, can be tricky.
Knowledge workers have to be able to create content quickly and easily on the iPad. That's not happening yet, although apps are getting better. Microsoft Office-capable apps on the iPad have been evolving steadily, and early reports show Office on Microsoft's new Surface tablet is a solid productivity performer.
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In the meantime, there are some tips and tricks to make you faster on the iPad today. The 9.7-inch touchscreen means there's little real estate to work with, so you'll need to be very efficient-that is, you won't be able to have multiple windows open. The touch keyboard reduces the real estate even more.
The Killer Keyboard
Content creation starts with the keyboard.
On the iPad, there are three options: the built-in on-screen touch keyboard and two types of physical keyboards that wirelessly connect to the iPad via Bluetooth. There's the small keyboard that doubles as a cover from vendors such as Logitech, and the full-length (albeit extremely thin) Apple Wireless Keyboard.
The decision on which keyboard to use is, of course, personal preference. Nevertheless, the keyboard will be critical, in terms of speed and efficiency.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I adapted to the touch keyboard. The keys do not feel crammed like they do with the small physical keyboards. I've tried to use small physical keyboards and have rejected them for this reason.
If you go the touch keyboard route, here are some important tips.
Putting in an apostrophe or quotation mark is usually a three-touch process starting with the ?123 button on the lower left, the apostrophe or question mark button, then the ABC button to get back to the QWERTY keyboard. This can get annoying really fast.
Instead, use this shortcut: In the QWERTY keyboard mode, hold down the exclamation point button for the apostrophe pop-up, and the question mark button for the quotation pop-up. Along these lines, when typing in a website URL, hold down the .com button for a pop-up menu of .edu, .us, .org and .net.
Another soft keyboard shortcut: Instead of typing a period and a space to start the next sentence, just double hit the spacebar. This will automatically add a period and a space.
The soft keyboard in landscape mode with the iPad propped up slightly using the Apple iPad cover is adequate for most of my content-creation needs. However, if I'm writing anything of significant length, I'll fire up the Apple Wireless Keyboard.