One of the best features of the iPad is its lack of features, especially when it comes to writing. Knowing that chat is not running and Twitter is turned off lets the writer focus entirely on the task of writing. However, typing on the iPad’s software keyboard for anything more than a couple of paragraphs is frustrating, for me at least. That’s where the Apple iPad dock comes in. Putting the iPad in the dock presents the writer with an elegant and enjoyable environment perfectly focused on cranking out text.
At first, I resisted getting the dock, opting instead for the Apple iPad case. When using the iPad in the case, it is possible to set the iPad on its edge and use the bluetooth keyboard to type. Possible, but not elegant. The case is malleable and unstable, so while the case can balance the iPad on its edge, to interact with the touch interface still requires both hands. If you don’t use one hand to steady the iPad, the first time you try to tap on a word in Pages you’ll knock your iPad onto its back. I’ve done this more than once and it makes a sickening sounding “whack” noise.
The case isn’t all bad. Using the case in its other, more stable position, laying down with the small edge at the back, lifts the iPad up to a perfect reading angle, and a good angle to type using the software keyboard. Once you try to use the bluetooth keyboard at this angle though, it becomes much more awkward, since the screen is sitting farther back.
There is no way to dock the iPad while it’s in the case, but sliding it out of the case is fairly easy. The dock is small, and at first I was worried about how stable the iPad would be resting in it. It turns out that its much more stable than I expected. The dock is surprisingly heavy and solid, reassuringly so, and most importantly it doesn’t distract with worry about the iPad tipping over like it does with the case.
I’m not convinced that the Apple dock is the best stand for the iPad, but I am convinced of the usefulness of the dock for the purpose of writing. Combining the dock with a bluetooth keyboard and Pages is one of the most elegant and relaxing writing experiences I’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to many long hours with this setup.
I’d love to hear your opinion on the case, the dock, or the software keyboard. Let me know your favorite way to interact with the iPad in the comments!