7 ways the new Apple iPad will increase your productivity

The Apple's iPad is still causing lots of controversy all over the Internet and since it's not been shipped yet to the Apple stores, hardly anyone has ever played with it. However, looking at the iPad's page and the promo video, one can already find a number of ways the iPad will do to improve your productivity (if you get one of course):

1. There's no "right" way to hold it, it rotates automatically to adjust to you


iPhone users know this already, but for many folks this can be a new thing - you can just grab the iPad and it rotates to adjust to the way you grabbed it. It doesn't force you to think "how to hold it" - just grab it and start playing with it.

2. Pinch and zoom photos, tap articles to make them bigger and better for reading


Again, nothing new for the iPhone users, but on this kind of device it's unprecedented - just pinch and zoom or simply tap to read an article better, to see more details, to make sure your eyes are not working too hard. This will make it a perfect computing device for people with sight problems.

3. Process email inbox to zero beautifully


The beautiful all new interface to email will make processing messages to zero fun and cool. You'll be inclined to process more messages at the time just because of the cool interface of the new email app - the "paper-like" feel to the email messages and ease of use will encourage you to get email done.

4. Single-tasking will improve your focus, it's a feature, not a bug!


People complain about the fact that you can be in one app at the time on the iPhone and will do the same on the iPad... but this actually helps boost your focus and decrease distractions. You'll get more done, one app at a time. The only thing I'm concerned about is the performance of the on-screen keyboard, especially for people like me who are touch-typing.

5. One email message at a time in vertical view


Similar to the point above, iPad has another focus-boosting feature in its email client - when you rotate the screen you see the email message in a beautiful vertical view and you see only this message, no inboxes, no folders, no clutter, just the message that you can give full attention to.

6. Beautiful calendar will encourage planning your Weekly Review


The calendar app on the iPad is incredibly similar to the good old-school paper calendars we used to carry around with us. I'm sure this app will encourage more order and better planning... and who knows, maybe we'll finally be able to schedule your GTD Weekly Review more often than once a month? Let's hope so!

7. Books will encourage readership - you'll read David Allen's book again!


The iPad is to serve as an eBook reader and from what I'm seeing on the video, it'll be the most elegant eBook we've seen so far. It'll help you read more and learn more... also about productivity!

Elegance helps getting things done

I've highlighted many times in this post the iPad's aesthetics and the fact that the apps coming with it also look gorgeous and I'm telling you - interacting with pretty tools makes you want to use them more. I should know, I'm using the Macbook Air and enjoy working on it every day.

How will the iPad improve our productivity? Will the apps really deliver on the iPad? Time will tell, but since it's just a bigger iPhone/iPod Touch, I'm sure this device can be a real productivity booster for everyone. What do you think?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 (apple,gtd,ipad,productivity)

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Feb 2, 2010 18:54
lol...seriously? the iPad will increase productivity because I can hold it however i want to...or because i can tap to enlarge the image on screen or process emails/calendar etc?

you do realize that none of these points are problems for a computer user, right?

so it's not really "increasing productivity" as much as it may not be hindering productivity as much as other tablets would.

Michael Sliwinski
Feb 2, 2010 20:01
The problem with productivity and computer users is multi-tasking and lack of focus. Apple iPad will force you to focus on the task at hand. This is a feature, not a bug. Why are people installing apps like "Isolator" on Mac? Because of all the windows open they cannot focus on the tasks that need to be done.

Yes, seriously Aaron, multi-tasking is a myth, to get stuff done we really need to focus on one thing only. Apple iPad will be great at that.

Feb 2, 2010 20:16
exactly. your point about the multi-tasking is probably the ONLY one that could be considered in favor for an "increase" in productivity. the others are workflows and processes that we would typically not have to utilize if we were sitting with a desktop or laptop.

although, now i can't check my calendar for a date when i'm emailing someone i want to meet with.

Michael Sliwinski
Feb 2, 2010 20:47
You missed the points where I talk about elegance and intuitive interface of the Apple iPad apps that boost productivity, too. All these subtle interface changes and elegant stuff makes you more productive, too.

Aaron, your mileage may vary, I talk from my personal perspective and experience. Anyway, thanks for this great discussion and for your valid concerns. Now let's get our hands on this device to check it out and see what good it actually is :-)

Tomasz Mioduszewski
Feb 2, 2010 23:50
I'm not so big fan of iPad. Of course, people will vote with their wallets, but let me share my concerns why i see iPad as a gadget (well, as a gadget its really nice).

First, do we really need a special device as a reader (email, web, e-book)? All of that you can do sitting by your computer, and if you need access to those features on the move, the portability of iPad is much smaller than any smartphone.

Other concern is safety - on a subway train or a tram I'd rather sit with a book in my hand (or a phone when i need to do something) than with this beautiful-shiny sign calling bad people to interest in me. Ok, maybe it depends on a neighbourhood, but the world is not a vip-room.

On the other hand if I want to work on iPad... well for me single-tasking is a bug. Most of time when creating a work I use multiple sources - so, for the process of creation I need access to several documents/web-pages/drawings/photographs... That requires multitasking.

Concluding - for me iPad would be nice to sit on my couch and read some news, and scan if something interesting is in the mail. But do I need a special thing to do that? I'd rather take my laptop and do it on laptop.

Michael Sliwinski
Feb 3, 2010 00:23
I'm only saying Apple iPad has some great productivity boosting features, I'm not saying I love it, I'm not saying I'm getting one (although my wife is saying she is), I'll need to play with it first to make sure it's something I'd consider.

What I know is this, Tomasz: we are geeks, we know technology. I don't think iPad is aimed at us, it's aimed at making Computing and Internet even more accessible to "average" people. It's aimed at making computing fun. And I think it might work well like this.

Lola LB
Feb 3, 2010 01:19
@Tomasz . . . what if you've had an accident, or needed to have an operation which leaves you flat on your back most of the time during your 3-month recovery? Kinda hard to read on a computer. It'd be easier to handle the iPad. I don't think you can really say for certain until you get to actually play with it. I have an iTouch and I love it because of the UI. It's so much more pleasant to use than the Blackberry 8830 (I did try out the Storm but the interface leaves much to be desired).
Kirk Campbell
Feb 3, 2010 03:53
Michael are you planning to re-create an ipad version of Nozbe? I am wanting something that my team and I can use for project management and something that I can focus on when I use an ipad.
Michael Sliwinski
Feb 3, 2010 09:36
We're actually brainstorming a variation of the new Nozbe iPhone app interface for the Apple iPad and it'd be the 8th productivity boosting feature of that device, don't you think? Firstly we'll release the long-awaited Nozbe 2.0 for the iPhone but shortly thereafter we'll go with the iPad version too - the screen real estate is something really cool there. Lola LB, valid points, thanks for joining the discussion!
Tomasz Mioduszewski
Feb 3, 2010 12:20
@Lola - you are right - my opinions are strictly from my point of view. Of course perspective changes when something "big" is happening, and then one need to adapt his/her environment to specific situation.
Jun 12, 2010 23:13
Lack of multitasting is a problem. get real, apple fan boy
John B. Kendrick
Mar 31, 2012 17:14
Interesting reading comments on this repost from only 2 years ago. Turns out you were spot on with this post and the masses have voted with their wallets right along with you through three iterations of the iPad. John
Michael Sliwinski
Apr 2, 2012 17:38
I'm getting an iPad 3 now and will make it my primary work machine for a month just to test the assumptions in this blog post. I'll likely succeed as the iPad is so light, has great battery life and has great, really focused apps :-) Thanks for your comment, John, I really didn't know I was so much of a visionary....
Apr 19, 2012 15:56
I've started using the iPad 2 almost a year ago, and what I can say is, I don't have to turn my computer on as often anymore. After a while I got the iPhone 4s and I was surprised at the compatibility of these two devices. Absolutely fabulous, especially the iCloud. I've installed Pages and Keynote on both my iPhone & iPad, and whenever I check the iCloud, the documents are there! Recently I decided to make the ultimate switch to Apple, I bought myself a MacBook Pro. I've discovered features unknown to a long-time PC user: especially the wonderful integrity of the system and the applications. I can fully understand Michael's delight with the Apple products. After years of configuring and cursing PC products (MS Windows incompatible with MS Office and several other MS applications) I finally found a closed OS which actually works. It may not be ideal, and it lacks some of the software that I use professionally (that's why I kept my old HP laptop with Windows), but on the whole it's a great concept.