Blogs » Politcs Plus » iPad vs Destop/Laptop and our city's decision



Recently our city bought 18 iPads instead of repairing their old computers. I'm not going pretend I know how the city will use their new purchases but being an owner of an iPad; I can see where it will make them more productive and can see them relying less on paper printouts.

This from an article I read a couple of days ago where Decatur's Assistant City Manager Billy Tyus said "The iPads will allow us to deliver council packets electronically, saving what we believe will be thousands of dollars in packet printing, assembly and delivery costs." Council packets, a collection of briefings, memos, and other informational documents, were provided to the mayor and council members in physical form a number of days prior to their semimonthly meetings. Such packets regularly include more than 100 pages. That process took another step forward recently as council members began using iPads during meetings in lieu of papers. Councilman Pat Laegeler said he, too, is still learning the technology. The tablets, equipped with video cameras, could eventually mean council members could sit in on meetings even when other business takes them out of town."

The iPad will not replace the need for a computer because the iPad does not have a hard drive, you can't multitask, the on-screen keyboard does not give you the feel of a standard QWERTY, but you can buy an external keyboard and stores 64GB as opposed to 500GB for a lap top. I've had my iPad for over a year, have over 100 applications installed but I've only used 2GB. I can see were some specific city government applications will make the City Council a lot more productive. I've always thought that the fewer parts a piece of equipment has; the less likely it will wear out. The iPad is more less a circuit board with a monitor. I would think that city would purchase more iPads for their city employees to make them more productive. I remember seeing an example of where a city employee could check for potholes and report that in real time with a paperless work order allowing the secretary to do other chores.

The iPad can prevent carpal tunnel and eases the burden on those suffering from arthritis because it's a simple touch screen. The iPad weighs less than 2 pounds making it easy for me to carry it wherever I go. The installed GPS is my best friend. It's difficult to explain the savings to someone who is dead set, against any city government spending. The iPad users will get used to writing or voice recording their notes on the unit, and they will use the city's servers for documents they need, instead of wanting or needing a paper copy. I can see training lessons applications or field operations where you don't have to worry about an electric outlet or a dead battery after two hours. My iPad's battery lasts about 10 hours but I have never drained it.

I don't believe the city will keep the iPads for 10 years but then again I'm not a good predictor of what's going to happen 10 years from now.