Gizmodo wrote up a piece on an important difference between computers (e.g. the new MacBook Air) and the iPad.The gist of which is: creation is greatly hindered on an iPad or iPhone. While I’ve edited photos on my iPhone, they weren’t quality/skilled changes but simple template driven adjustments. I’ve done research on my iPhone but never delivered a product that encompassed a gamut of databases and files/reports.
Could an iPad replace a librarian’s computer? Doubtful. Results would take more time to deliver and would leave out inaccessible Internet resources. We can easily digest information on an iPad, find a title, call-number, or even a citation. Yet, doing a full background search on a corporation, a legislative history, or finding a medical article from 1934 would prove tedious if not impossible. A research project can involve dozens of PDF, word, and image files, I can only imagine the pain of organizing and sifting through them on a touch surface. The same headaches go with spreadsheets or power point presentations. Lastly, would you even attempt to catalog on an iPad?
I look forward to the day when we can do research with touch screens or projected images (see Minority Report); but that day isn’t today.