Why my iPad is collecting dust in the “off-season”

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I currently have two mobile devices: an iPad mini, and a Galaxy S II. Using two different platforms is something I often have to explain to people, and it basically comes down to my iPad being a productivity device due to access to software and hardware that Android tablets are lacking. When I saw productivity, I’m referring to work and study, and with the summer vacation in progress, it’s perhaps not that weird that today I had to literally dust off my iPad.

I just finished a teacher course last month, and this fall I’m doing a master’s degree as well as starting a new teaching job. Those are the kind of things I use my iPad for, and I’m actually using the iPad exclusively for both- no paper here! With none of those things currently going on however, I find myself not really having much use for the iPad, despite not everything on it being productivity-related.

The problem with the iPad as an “off-season” device for me is basically that it’s so dumb compared to my Android phone. I would love to use it instead of my phone for around the house tasks, but since it’s an iOS device, I can’t just go an make a Tasker-based system to offload tasks to it. I would love to for instance create a tablet version of my sidebar UI, or have all notifications go to the tablet when at home but switch back to the phone when not, or just be able to something as simple (for a Tasker user) as copy text and open links on the tablet from my PC. Yet none of that is possible (at least not to a satisfactory degree), which makes the iPad feel like a computer without an internet connection; it’s great for some tasks, and useless for others.

There are of course things I could do with it even without it communicating with my phone all that well, but often it just becomes a matter of muscle memory that makes me grab my phone instead of it for things that both can do. I tend to gravitate towards whatever device is most “up to date”, and by that I mean whatever device I use so often that I know exactly what’s there and where it is. When I use the iPad daily, the iPad qualifies as such a device, but when not, I simply forget that it’s there.

Times like these are the times I almost regret selling my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. I sold it because it had the opposite problem; it was useful as a secondary device that could communicate with my phone, but it was beyond useless for the things the iPad is good at. As such, I ended up using it less and less as well, because it essentially became useless during the majority of the year.

At the end of the day, the iPad will be dusted off and back in action in about a month. I’ve been thinking that perhaps the best solution for me is to look into a tabletphone for my next phone (whenever that will be), preferably something in the 5-inch range. It would be nice to have an Android tablet that is guaranteed to not sit there collecting dust because it’s also a phone, though I also don’t want something as huge as the Xperia Z Ultra, which is closer to a tablet than a phone. I really wish I could get by with one device, one OS, and not ever have a device that I feel bad about just sitting there day in and day out while waiting to become useful again, but seeing how little has changed in the Android education software market in the last couple of years, that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.