Seems more like a criticism of ebooks than the iPad per se
Yes, but it really doesn’t matter to the user. The question is how useful a tablet is to grad students. Whether the problem is with the device or the app doesn’t matter. To fix it, you would need Kindle and/or iBooks (since those are the two 800-lb gorillas in the niche) to design a format that is critical edition friendly. Then you need the publishers to use that format. But even if they started that process now, most of today’s grad students would be professors before it saw the light of day.
You could switch to a Mac!
I’ve got too many expensive Windows apps to make the switch. Yes, I know I could configure a dual-boot Mac, but if I wanted a computer that I was constantly tinkering with, I’d use Linux. And if I did switch to Mac the improvement would be marginal? No thanks. I stick with my assessment that iTunes is a piece of crap.
Double-tap the home button and tap the icon of the program you want to switch to.
Yes, and fifteen seconds later the process completes and you can work with the new app, and then take another fifteen seconds to get back to the first app. On a PC with multiple windows, it’s nearly instantaneous. And my understanding of Apple’s architecture is that app developers cannot keep anything at all resident in memory. Everything is trashed the moment you hit the home button. The only apps that can actually run in the background at all are the basic apps that come with the device, clock, music player, alarm, etc. And yes, the comparison to a full-powered PC isn’t fair and my netbook (which I don’t use anymore since getting the iPad) is even slower. This is a function of the low-powered chips, which are chosen for heat constraints and other design issues. But again, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that switching between apps is just something the iPad doesn’t do well.
Use Dropbox with GoodReader
I didn’t know this workaround was available. But the fact that it needs a third-party workaround just highlights the problem. File transfer and management is a function of the OS and should be handled by the OS. It’s a piss-poor design decision. (That may not be quite fair. There may have been some tradeoff that necessitated that decision, but it’s still an issue even if there was a good reason for doing it that way.)
Not entirely true. To open an e-mailed PDF in GoodReader [...]
So I open my email program on my PC. Send an email to myself with the document, being sure to close the email program before it delivers the email to me because my PC email reader is set to clear my server mailbox after delivery. Then open my iPad email program and click on the attachment, picking Goodreader as the app of choice. That’s a helluva lotta work just to transfer a file onto a device. And what if I want to upload thirty PDFs to the device? I have to use iTunes, which makes me shudder.
Still with all this, I love the iPad. It’s a great device, just not a laptop replacement. With the right expectations, you can be perfectly happy with it.