I love my iPad, even I, as a person who has a very imbalanced views of Apple, cannot deny it. I am using it more and more as a companion for my normal life, to quickly do things that should not require a computer. Like checking my emails, searching something online, or play a quick game.
But not only that, creating documents and presentations. Sure, typing is not that comfortable as on a real keyboard, but it is better as using a phone. All in all, except for the ever frustrating lack of Flash, I really enjoy owning an iPad. Yay!
Until, well, I was smacked back into reality while building a presentation for a client. I knew there was a very good reason why I did not like Apple in the first place. But by all the gorgeousness of their mobile devices I must have been blinded for the one very ugly truth, the horrific element that binds it all together: I hate iTunes.
I was using the pretty solid KeyNote presentation application, that really allows you to build quickly nice looking presentations on the road. Produced by Apple itself, I was fairly impressed. And they had a pretty solid template; simple but good, that I wanted to use with a very simple gradient in the background. To make it visually work, they put in a PNG file, which allows transparency so it looks like the object is standing alone within the background. Like said, simple, but good.
Until you want to replace these images. Because you can change the image, but it will always check your image libraries. And the only way to get images in your libraries, is through iTunes.
But – and if you haven’t worked with any iPhone, iPod or iPad yet you are in for a surprise – you cannot copy, you can only synchronize your images. Since I am doing quite some photography in RAW format, and import photos to the iPad to quickly see the results, it means I have about 6GB of photos on my iPad, which it wants to synchronize all. Actually, it made my iTunes gag three times, and then spit the request out, after each time one hour of synchronizing. And the whole ordeal is about putting 10 tiny PNG files onto my iPad.
In the end, I had to manually remove all the photos on my iPad – all 1800 of them, and I literally mean manually – touching each and every photo I wanted to remove, and then click the delete button. Then I had to make sure my photo folder on my computer was empty too, otherwise it would all start over again. So, in the end, after three hours, I was able to get my 10 PNG files on my iPad.
And then it was time of almost smashing the thing to smithereens. iTunes also prepares the images for you. Apple decides how you want to see them. WHY? But, what it did was changing every PNG into a JPG, with a plain, white background. I flipped. Cursed in three different languages and I think I have used quite some explicit language that they even don’t dare to air on HBO.
And it is not that the iPad doesn’t allow PNG files, it absolutely does. But here was the work around; I had to create a web page, put all the images in there, so I could download them onto my iPad, bypassing iTunes altogether. And you know what? It works as a dream…
Of course, then I found out about the issue with KeyNote that you cannot type in the exact position of an image on a slide, so you are always guessing with your fingertips… which is frustrating on its own. But alas, I managed that – after 30 minutes for 10 images.
But I just want to know… why are we forced to use iTunes. I can understand using it for people who just want to be held by the hand, and it is fine. But why not make it simple drag-and-drop. For everything. I know you can do drag and drop in iTunes, but not for images.
Please, Apple, cut the crap. People paid good money already for your devices, give them a little bit of usability. You praise yourself to have such huge standards in usability and interaction design, but I seriously doubt it. Because, honestly, iTunes only proves the contrary.