When “Productivity” Apps Hit a Wall

According to Wikipedia,

Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it.

Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input. Productivity is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input.

As of today, there are 4 762 productivity apps available on iTunes for both ipad and iphone. I have downloaded a few of these including “pages” and “numbers”. The expectation was, that I would increase my output and efficiency of production by because I would be able to work in more places with my ipad than I would with a computer. In turn, this implied that I would carry my ipad to more place because it is lighter and generally speaking, more easy to transport, store and switch-on.

However, it became clear that these apps offer only theoretical productivity gains. I have used these apps a few times and then stopped.

The problem was not the apps themselves, the problem was the keyboard; I can deal with answering emails (if they are short) using the virtual keyboard on the ipad. But when you think of text-editing and productivity, it generally involves long sentences, moving around text or cells and extensive edits. All of this becomes prohibitive with an ipad keyboard and therefore always reverted to using my heavier but more user-friendly computer when it came to these activities.


Yet, the productivity apps have been resurected, at least as far as I am concerned due to a very low-tech event. I was offered an ipad case with a bluetooth keyboard. Though the keys are still a tad too close for fast typing I am comfortable writing the equivalent of a few pages without much frustration.

The key insight of this experience is that sometimes a given set of products or services rely on third-parties upon which they have no control. In this case, the apps themselves may be faultless in terms of features, stability and user experience but to express their full potential they need keyboard manufacturers to create a symbiotic eco-system.

Post Scriptum, the above article was written with the use of my new ipad keyboard.

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