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iPad Not a Novelty. Replacing Laptops?

This recent Business Insider survey of 500 iPad owners reveals some interesting statistics.

Suggesting that users are finding more ways to incorporate the device into their daily routines, a large majority of users report use of the device increasing after the honeymoon period. I suspect this has a lot to do with the expansion of offerings in the App Store as new things to try continue to appear daily.

Nearly a third of users report that the iPad has become their primary computer. I don’t see this as a trend for lawyers, as the need for desktop horsepower isn’t going away in the law firm anytime soon. I can imagine more lawyers replacing laptops that they now carry as a second machine to and from the office.

A full 40% report downloading between 20-50 apps. I’m certainly in that category, but I don’t think that is necessary to make the iPad a very functional work machine for lawyers. Rather, I think a lawyer would only need 4-6 apps in addition to the stock Apple apps to make the device suitable for day to day use by a lawyer.

The survey also asks some interesting questions comparing the iPad to the new MacBook Air. I have certainly looked closely at the tiny 11 inch model and thought about whether I would be better served by it compared to the iPad. The survey suggests that these are simply different devices. Of those reporting that they own both, only 4.2% report that it has caused them to use the iPad less. Over 75% consider the iPad/MacBook Air not to be an either/or decision. And, of the 25% that do think they serve comparable purposes, 80% would choose the iPad.

While interesting, it is hard to draw many conclusions about these statistics without knowing about the computing needs of these users. The right fit really depends on your workflow. As I’ve mentioned before, I think the core of a lawyer’s computing needs are fairly basic (reading, writing, Internet, mail, calendar) and are easily handled by the iPad.

My iPad use has certainly gone up since my purchase. What about yours?

(via TUAW)

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The iPad Reviews Are In: And They Are Fabulous

Uncle Walt at the WSJ and others (Pogue – NYTimes | Baig – USA Today) have chimed in with their hands on iPad reviews and I think the consensus is overwhelmingly positive. In digging through these in depth reviews, I focused on comments that I thought would be specifically of interest to lawyers. One question I keep facing in talking to people about the iPad is skepticism about how much productive work a person can do on the device. Many lawyers wrangle words for a living and being able to do so effectively – in large and small doses – is critical to the utility of a mobile device.

One of Andy Ihnatko’s reviews at the Chicago Sun Times gives a good perspective on this issue. While not a lawyer, Andy writes for a living and travels heavily. I think his perspective on the device as a writing and mobile tool is pretty telling and is worth checking out in its entirety.

As a mobile news and email machine:

I need to keep up with news and mail while I’m gone. That’s covered by the iPad’s Mail and Safari apps. Mail isn’t as powerful as most business-class mail clients (no automatic “rules”-based mail processing, no templates, no keyboard shortcuts … and the app can only load 200 messages at a time before going back to the server for more). But it supports multiple accounts … and I love the touch-based interface. The “steering wheel” [holding the iPad in landscape mode] motif common to many iPad apps allows me to flick through a few hundred emails and send out any necessary responses, in record time and in full repose.

As a writing tool:

I also need to write. Lots and lots every day, for work and for fun. No problem: I have the Apple Wireless bluetooth keyboard, which is a lot more practical for travel than Apple’s Keyboard Dock. Even on those days when I just want to take the iPad to the coffeeshop and don’t plan on writing anything, I can get work done. The iPad’s onscreen virtual keyboard is, shockingly, good enough to write a thousand words on. And at a reasonable clip, too. [ed. note: the previous post here on TabletLegal was just over 1,200 words, to give you some context]

iWork’s “Pages” word processor (alongside a muscular spreadsheet and a presentation app) will be available on day one. Further, I’m absolutely certain that third parties will release sophisticated Microsoft Office-style suites that move beyond the Volksoffice approach of iWork … such as the ability to work collaboratively and read and edit comments.

As for handling those ever present .doc files:

If your boss emails you a Word document and you tap the document icon, Mail will present an “Open In …” button. Tap it to bring up a list of Word-compatible apps on yor iPad. Select the app you want, and the app will launch and import the document.

I continue to believe that what the iPad offers for a lawyer is choices. Choices about where and how to work and best serve clients. Evidence that the iPad performs admirably in the key areas of e-mail, Internet and word processing makes me look forward to how this device might improve my practice.

The Chicago Sun Times is putting up a number of interviews by Ihnatko over the next few hours. Go check them out in full.

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iPad Specs from a Lawyer’s Perspective

The specifications for Apple’s iPad are getting worked over in the blogosphere: what it has, what it doesn’t have, what it should have, etc….I thought I’d take a look at what has been announced and give a quick perspective on what the possible implications are for a lawyer for some of the specs.

  • Dimensions. About 9.5 inches by 7.5 inches. About the same height as a standard legal pad (including the binding at the top) and a touch narrower. Should fit into most folios, briefcases and the like with ease.
  • Weight. About 1.5 pounds. Again, the same as a couple legal pads which I seem to have with me all the time. If this can substitute for legal pads most of the time, great. If it is one more thing that needs to be carried about in addition to legal pads…another story.
  • Capacity. My initial reaction is that, given the availability of cloud storage options like DropBox, I wouldn’t need the model with the larger storage options as a work unit. Now, if I have an iPad at the house with music, movies, recreational reading and the like, storage becomes a bigger issue.
  • Bluetooth. Depending what types of things Apple makes “attachable” via Bluetooth, this could be a portal into greater functionality. The Bluetooth keyboard compatibility is of interest, though I’m hopeful that the virtual keyboard will be sufficiently functional to obviate the need to pack a keyboard to get meaningful work done.
  • Battery. 10 Apple hours…which is probably 5 hours on this planet. Long work sessions away from the office mandate an additional plug in the bag.
  • Microphone. Helpful for capturing audio notes – I find Jott to be a very useful tool for capturing those “don’t forget about…” things. Unless the dictation programs increase recording times (only 20-30 seconds at a go), it may not be useful for dictating a longer piece of work (though some seem to love it)
  • Audio & Video Out. I envision some pretty slick trial applications allowing an attorney to easily push exhibits, video, 911 recordings, document excerpts, jury instructions and other display items to a big screen for easy viewing by judge or jury.
  • Mail Attachment Support. All the Office products, the iWork products and pdf. I imagine that covers pretty much everything a lawyer will need. Other attachments likely require a more specialized application running on a PC or Mac.
  • WiFi & 3G. The ubiquity of WiFi where I live makes me lean toward a WiFi only unit. I’ll still have my iPhone and will be able to grab what I need using a 3G signal using that device if the situation requires. If the device allows a person to fully leave a laptop behind (for me, that means the virtual keyboard is really good and applications can access onboard storage for shuttling and manipulating files), then the case for a 3G enabled unit rises for me.

So, that’s a quick take on how the iPad specs might fit a lawyer’s needs. All in all, it looks pretty good. I’ll be considering important omissions in a future post. How do you see the initial specifications as fitting a lawyer’s needs?

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Predictions About the iPad 2

Wanted to post up my quick predictions about today’s iPad 2 announcement. The announcement starts at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time today. I’ll post again tomorrow or later today with actual results to see how my predictions fared.

Thinner

  • Prediction: Yes. Very slight, couple mm.
  • Actual:

Lighter

  • Prediction: Yes. But not much. The current iPad is 1.6 oz with 3G and 1.5 oz without. Given that most of the rest of the components are glass and battery, there isn’t much to give. I suspect they will be able to shave off an ounce or two mostly so they can truthfully say “lighter.” it wont be so much as to change how the device is held.
  • Actual:

Retina Display

  • Prediction: No.
  • Actual:

Other Display Improvements

  • Prediction: I’ve heard rumors of better protection agains smudges, better readability in sunlight, but I don’t think we’ll see either of those. I do think the display assembly technology will improve to bring the LCD closer to the glass to make them appear as one, which is something you see in the iPhone 4
  • Actual:

Shape

  • Prediction: Flat back. More iPhone 4-ish.
  • Actual:

Better Processor

  • Prediction: Yes. Will be the A5, will have more on board memory. 
  • Actual:

More Storage

  • Prediction: I don’t think we will see a 128 GB model, so I expect size configurations to remain the same.
  • Actual:

Cameras

  • Prediction: Front, yes. rear, no. I think Apple expects your phone to be where you take pictures. I’d like to see an iOS feature that simplifies getting photos from your phone to your iPad.
  • Actual:

Speaker

  • Prediction: Improved single speaker design.
  • Actual:

Ports

  • Prediction: No changes.
  • Actual:

Grab Bag

  • Prediction: We’ll see the next version of iOS, 4.3, which will have some bells and whistles to take advantage of the new hardware like FaceTime and Photo Booth. I think the base model (16 GB) will drop in price  but not have a camera. The rest of the price structure will remain the same.
  • Actual:
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iPad 3 Announced: New Tools for Lawyers

A couple weeks ago I collected some rumors and made my predictions about the iPad 3. Apple unveiled the new tablet today, calling the new device “resolutionary.” Let’s check out the new device and see how my predictions fared.

  • Launch Date. I “predicted” a March 7 announcement and that was correct. I hedged on availability hoping for March 9 or 10. Actual availability in the US will be on March 16th with pre-orders being taken now. 2 dozen more countries on March 23d. Looks like I will be able to get one before I go to Chicago for ABA TechShow on March 28th. Looks like memory configurations remain unchanged as does pricing: 16 GB $499, 32 GB $599 and 64 GB $699.
  • Retina Display. You bet. 2048×1536 resolution, double that of the iPad 1 and 2. For context, that is 1,000,000 more pixels than your HD television at home. 264 pixels per inch, for those counting. Apple claims the new display will have 44% better color saturation than the previous model, which should be a difference you can see. All the stock applications on the iPad have been updated to take advantage of the new resolution. App Store apps will be able to take advantage of the new resolution as soon as they are updated by their developer. Apple did preview a couple apps that take advantage of the high resolution display including an air combat game called “Sky Gamblers”, professional drawing application “Autodesk.” and a new Infinity Blade release called “Dungeons.”
  • 8 inch iPad?. Nothing more than a silly rumor, as predicted.
  • 4G/LTE. I missed this one. The iPad 3 will support high speed LTE networks. That means speeds of up to 21 Mbps on HSPA+ plus, 42 Mbps on DC-HSDPA networks and 73 Mbps on full LTE networks. That’s faster than your home connection people. LTE partners are Verizon, Rogers, Bell, Telus and AT&T as well as others around the world. Sounds like Apple will still have separate devices for AT&T and Verizon networks. Also contrary to my expectation, Apple is claiming the same battery life as past models, 10 hours (9 for LTE devices). LTE models will be $629 for 16 GB, $729 for 32 GB and $829 for 64 GB
  • Thicker. Yes, it is thicker. 9.4 mm. The iPad 3 was 8.6 mm. About a 10% increase. Weight goes up to 1.4 lbs compared to 1.33 lbs for the iPad 2, a 5% increase. I suspect all these changes are to accommodate more battery.
  • Better Camera. Yep. 5MP iSight camera with 5 element lens, IR filter, illuminated sensor. That is the same camera as the iPhone 4 which is incredible. The new camera has auto-exposure, auto-focus, face detection, video stabilization. The front camera is now described as “iSight” quality. Unknown what that means.
  • A6 Chip. I missed on the name. The new iPad will have something called an A5X chip. The new chip has 4 times the performance of the Tegra 3 chips that powers many Android tablets. I’m reading that this chip is dual core CPU and quad-core GPU. Will need that horsepower to drive that giant screen.
  • Siri. Close, but not quite. Looks like Siri will still be an iPhone 4S only capability but the iPad will support Siri’s dictation capabilities. I think Siri is terrific for dictation. For me, the iPad is a much more natural place for that type of task. I think lawyers will like this feature.
  • iPad 2 Discontinued? As predicted, the iPad 2 will continue with improved pricing. $399 for 16 GB wifi model.
  • RAM. I didn’t offer a prediction for RAM configurations, but commentators infer from Apple’s comments that the iPad 3 will have 1 GB of internal RAM.
  • New Apps.I didn’t offer predictions here either. Sounds like Apple updated its iWork apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) to take advantage of the Retina display. iMovie and Garage band got display updates as well as a few new features. The big app news was a new app, iPhoto for iPad. Lots of user-friendly editing and management functions as well as an easy way to move photos between devices. The new iPhoto will be $4.99. The other apps are at the same price as before (free upgrades if you already have them).
  • Will I Be Getting One? Yes.
    :)

So there you have it. Will you be getting one?

Your Legal Documents in the iCloud

Much digital ink is already being spilled about the goodies announced this morning at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference and I’ll have thoughts on some of those things soon. My initial reaction however is that the Documents feature of iCloud may well be the most interesting piece to mobile lawyers (it is to me, anyway).

iCloud promises to serve as the central hub for documents and keeping them in sync with all iOS devices (Mac and PC as well?). Already integrated into Pages, Numbers and Keynote, Apple also promises that it has “given developers the tools to make their apps work with iCloud, too.” We currently accomplish something similar with Dropbox and Dropbox aware apps though that approach often requires manual syncyronization and still has the possibility of file duplication / overwrite. Still lots of questions to be answered (speed, encryption, file format compatibility, APIs made available to developers, etc.) but I’m optimistic about this development.

I’ll have more thoughts about the iPad specific features in the upcoming iOS 5 (coming this Fall) that I think will be of interest to lawyers soon.

iPad Will Have Common Storage. Lawyers Rejoice.

Documents Go Here

One thing lawyers use a lot of is documents. We draft text documents, review and annotate pdf documents, assemble spreadsheets, etc. At present, the iPhone does not have a centralized place where documents can be accessed from or stored. Sure, you can dump everything into your DropBox, but Documents To Go can’t open them for editing. While some apps have workarounds, they are often clumsy and counterintuitive.

This all looks like it will change with the iPad. Version 3.2 of the OS will make available some sort of shared directory that can store documents created / edited on the device or that can be filled up from your Mac or PC. This will be huge toward making the iPad a device that can do more actual work and justify leaving the laptop behind. Consider:

  • MS Office. All MS Office docs can be opened in the iWork applications and iWork applications can create MS Office compatible versions. It sounds like this import / export functionality will also be included in the iPad versions of the iWork applications. This begs the question about whether Redmond might be readying an iPad compatible version of its Office suite. While doing so might greatly increase adoption of the iPad by lawyers, it seems an unlikely distribution channel for Microsoft to pursue.
  • Acrobat. A relatively full featured Adobe Acrobat application for the iPad would go a long ways toward making the device a tool for real work. A simple reading or file management app like Acrobat.com Mobile won’t be enough. i think a truly useful Acrobat application would need the ability to: create pdf; add, remove rotate pdf pages; protect pdfs; sign documents digitally; and use commenting tools like sticky notes, highlighter, stamps.
  • Trial Notebook. I’m hoping to see applications like Circus Ponies Notebook available on the iPad. The flexibility to deal with lots of different types of content plus the organizational tools built in make them ideal for assembling trial notebooks or any sort of project.
  • Packages. With an integrated file storage on board, I envision pdf, spreadsheets, photos, videos, text docs, presentation slides, etc. being assembled together into folders or containers of related information. I’d love to see a universal “player” application like QuickLook, perhaps with a CoverFlow style interface, to allow easy movement between, and display of, different file types. This could be the hub for controlling exhibit displays in juries, reviewing documents with a client or running a meeting.
  • Safari. Lots of web apps accept file uploads. I immediately thing of Clio and its document management module. Create documents and upload to your SaaS matter management application and also make them available to clients via Clio’s Client Connect features. Or, move new documents into any of the 37Signals applications to be accessed by clients or other members of your firm.

Here’s hoping this file management feature makes it into the first release of the devices.