So I’ve had an iPad for the best part of a year now and loads of people have asked how I use it and what I’m using it for.

Or if it’s just a bit of a toy?

Well I’ve discovered using this new type of tablet (and watch this space for the clones) ushers in a whole modus operandi.

In short, it’s brilliant – especially for writers, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors and creatives. I would struggle to go back to using a laptop.

This new way of working merits the introduction of a new word – iPadivity.

noun [n] :

1. the phenomenon of increased creativity and productivity when using an iPad – and activity while doing the same

2. the generation of new ideas using an iPad

3. profitability from generating and using iPad apps

Now I have to say everything I’ve been able to do I could do with a combination of iPhone or laptop. Some of it admittedly even with paper and pen. While the iPhone scores on portability, it lacks screen real estate and typing is slow (this whole blog incidentally was written at speed using the iPad on screen keyboard).

The laptop is just so much heavier and I have always felt a bit nerdy to get out on a commute and certainly in a coffee shop. It also takes too long to boot if you just want to do something quickly and acts as a barrier in a business meeting. The 3G enabled iPad delivers a useful synthesis of both devices which is better than both – plus I have to say it looks cool !!

This Mind Map tells the story of what I am using it for … of course generated on the iPad as were all the graphics in this blog.

The first iPadivity gain is really good use of “dead time” – those times in the day when you would have been waiting for something can now be used to process email, do a tweet or two and check out news or write a blog.

The second iPadivity benefit is being able to read, listen to or watch pretty much anything – either online, in iTunes or your own archive.

The third iPadivity capability, and to me the most important, is being able to write stuff. Here the lightness and specific functionality of the apps comes into its own. For example, before writing each chapter of my new book, I’ve taken a hint from artist Cat Bennett and I am drawing using Brushes an image that encapsulates the concepts I am about to write about.

I am working to a master Mind Map structure for the whole book but I’ve also started mapping each chapter before eventually writing it in Pages.

This has lead me down several new avenues I simply wouldn’t have explored.

Now could I do this on the laptop or desktop – absolutely – but not when the Muse takes me – and certainly not with as much ease and FUN !!

Add to all of this, the ability to browse on a whim for research and dip into the brilliant Wikipanion app, my iPadivity is probably up 400-500% of where it was less than a year ago.

I’ve also used the iPad in several client sessions. Again, its unobtrusiveness is the key. It’s like having a paper notebook but where you can email the notes instantly. In the sessions I did last week, this included a colour-coded Mind Map of actions arising and a wireframe for an iPad app I am designing, using iMockup.

This of course points to an amazing iPadivity – the ability to encapsulate your knowledge and wisdom in an iPad app which you can share with other and generate profitability from … watch this space !!

So if you’ve got an iPad or an iPad2 or another type of tablet device, or are getting one, I’d be interested in your thoughts ….

Do I App or do iBook?

Soulwave iPhone appApple announced recently that they’ve followed Amazon’s lead and iBooks can now have audio and video embedded in them.

See the blog on The Bookwright site Do iPad or do I Kindle for more on this …

So with increased functionality in iBooks, I thought it worth pointing out the pros & cons of publishing your ‘work’ as an iBook or as an App.

Why iBook?

If your content is essentially uni-directional – i.e. read, listen or watch onlythen iBook is a good route. It is worth doing a Kindle version too though to get on both platforms at not much extra complexity or cost.

The production costs for a text-only iBook are in the low hundreds of dollars and for a multimedia iBook (if you have the assets), about 20% of the cost of producing an app. This means you will be able to get your investment back quickly for a reasonably popular title.

At the moment, authors and publishers need a US Tax ID to submit self-published works – this will change shortly.

Note that Storyist software is brilliant at generating compliant ePub files as is now Apple Pages.

Note also that various aggregator sites, like Smashwords and Lulu, allow international self-published authors to submit to the iBookstore. They will have to catch up a little to support the new format though.
See this blog from Bubblecow for How To Publish Your Book On Kindle and Ipad

Why App?

An app is a completely different kettle of bananas. When you build an app, you can access all the features of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad operating system.

Apps are interactive and bi-directional. In my opinion, they should be used to either augment a conventional or ebook OR to extend the idea of what a book is about in the first place.

For example, see these App Books and note their main features:

140 Characters – embedded discussion forum for author and readers to interact and inclusion of live Twitter stream based on keywords, Twitter handles and hashtags

Kryo Pro – card set and book integrated with auto-switch between four languages – English, Russian, German and Spanish PLUS ability to email or Tweet a sample card

The Elements: A Visual Exploration – incredible multimedia experience with 3-D rotating graphics

Top 10 City Guides – geo-coded information, latest news via live RSS feeds

Now before you get excited, your investment in an app like these starts at a few thousand dollars. Get it right though and you have access to tens of millions of owners of a device.

Even if you give your app away, the exposure alone can be worth it.

Note also that the other advantage of an App over an iBook is the separate listing on the iTunes store on the web, as opposed to within the iBookstore which is only accessed via the device at the moment. Your app also appear as an icon on a device as opposed to a book inside an app.

This is perhaps not of great significance but you do have your own App URL and it seems to get great Google rankings too.

Note also that as Apple and others allow more features of HTML5 to be introduced, this gap will narrow even more … watch this space … ePub2 will be with us before you know. Great time to be an author and a publisher.