At a recent press event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberberg famously said “iPad isn’t mobile,” in response to a question about the possibility of a Facebook iPad application. “It’s a computer, sorry,” he added. Now it looks like Google agrees.
A few weeks after Google announced that its Google Docs service was mobile and iPad-compatible, the company has just noted, via blog post, that Docs’ full (aka “desktop”) website works on the iPad as well. And it’s not just for viewing files, but for editing them, too.
Is the iPad Mobile?
?Zuckerberg’s response to the iPad question back in November was notable because the industry itself has had a hard time defining the iPad. It works anywhere, it connects to 3G, it runs apps, it can fit in a backpack or handbag – it’s mobile, right? But it also has a full Web browser, a large screen, runs productivity programs like Apple’s own iWork suite and (now) multitasks – so it’s a computer?
Actually, the iPad is an in-between device. If you want to use it for lightweight tasks like updating Twitter or checking your email, the iPad has you covered. But when you’re ready to delve in and do some real work, the iPad can handle that, too. Apple’s own end-of-the-year “Top Apps of 2010” list confirms this: Pages, Numbers and Keynote, the individual components of Apple’s office suite, all made the top 10.
As for Google, by announcing Docs’ mobile and full desktop site compatibility, Google is essentially confirming the iPad’s dual nature:
“The new mobile editor is fast and lightweight, but sometimes you want to make more style edits like changing a font, or center aligning a paragraph,” the post reads. “If you’re on an iPad, you can do that by visiting the Desktop version of the document editor.”
You can also access the full version of Google Spreadsheets by clicking (err, tapping) “Go to spreadsheet view” at the top of the mobile view on iPad.
However, Google notes that the iPad tablet’s browser isn’t as powerful as its desktop counterpart, which is why the mobile-optimized view was made available in the first place. Not as powerful, they say? We say this: give it time.
What do you think? Is the iPad mobile or a computer? Or do you agree that it’s really an in-between device that can go either way?