An iPad with a keyboard is like a Prairie Schooner

Peter Cohen digs his iPad, but maybe not as much as I do. Peter feels that an iPad with a keyboard is like a car with a sail—You’re doing it wrong, or why using an iPad keyboard is like attaching a sail to your car—while I think, no, know that and iPad with a keyboard is more like a Prairie Schooner.

Okay, I’m taking a few liberties here. First, technically a Prairie Schooner is just a covered wagon and called a “Schooner” because the white covers looked like ships’ sails from a distance. However, the image that is really in my mind is when clever settlers used wind power to help their wagons along. If the wind was going the right way, why not give the horses a break and cruise along? I’ve done this on long canoe trips, where we lashed paddles together, strung up a tarp and sailed across long stretches of open water. Sure a sail isn’t always great for a canoe or a wagon, but sometimes it’s just the right tool for the job.

Peter feels that because iOS isn’t perfectly suited to using a keyboard that there is little place for the combination. I beg to differ—as I write this post on my iPad, in Writing Kit and posting to my blog in Poster. All on my iPad. Including researching Prairie Schooners (which actually gave me a chance to get my terms straight about wagons, sails, and schooners). Including taking the picture that is the featured image (on my iPhone). All from my iPad.

I just got a spiffy, new bamboo desk as part of moving my office from the spare bedroom to the upstairs kitchen/dining area (heck I do most of the cooking, so it’s actually a good thing) so the spare bedroom can be a bedroom. I put the desk together yesterday and one of the essential parts was that my iPad would be close at hand with my XVIDA Boomerang desktop stand at the ready so I can write on my iPad. I love writing on my iPad. I love the focus. I love the simplicity. When I’m out and about I generally use a Logitech keyboard case to type on the go. Almost everywhere I go and every time I go out I’m asked about it. I’m asked how easy it is to use and type.

I agree that typing on glass is insane. I can’t do it for too long before my fingers start to hurt (I’m a heavy typer and pound the keyboard pretty hard as I type). Typing on an Apple Wireless Keyboard is a joy. The Logitech isn’t bad, but the Apple keyboard is just better. Is the whole system perfect? Not in the least. Yes, jumping between things is tough (this is why I like apps like Writing kit that include a browser within the writing app). Yes, reaching up to tap the screen instead of using a mouse can be awkward, but it’s not really a deal breaker for me.

For me everything is predicated on how well I can focus on writing. How well (and quickly) I can take thoughts in my brain to move to my fingers to the keys to the screen. Yes, on my Mac lots of things are easier, but they aren’t necessarily better. I think given an hour with Peter, a few apps, and a great keyboard I could change is mind a bit. Maybe not entirely, but a bit.

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