iOS Productivity, or How iCloud Saved My Ass, Again

After posting the Matt Smith piece on tablet productivity this morning I'd been considering how his measures of productivity compare with my own. In some ways it's similar: I need to email, take notes, fill in Pages/Word documents, look up things in spreadsheets and make changes, give presentations (and increasingly create them on the go), post to Futurilla, and keep my calendar updated. I rarely, nowadays, need to edit graphics or images, save cropping an image or two, and so it's unimportant how long that kind of stuff takes on a small touchscreen device. I've already nailed recording audio on the iPad (thanks to the amazing Auria), though I've yet to find a workable means for posting podcasts to Squarespace.

Now and again I find that my iOS devices solve a problem for me that I can't fix quickly any other way. This morning I found myself with a bunch of PDF files that needed printing, but that simply wouldn't open on the iMac (not mine) that I had access to, let alone print (corrupted, most likely). The original multi-page Pages files were in my Dropbox, but the iMac didn't have Pages, and I didn't have the permissions to install it from the Mac App Store. Stuck and frustrated, with the clock ticking on needing the printouts, I turned to my iPhone. Downloading the Pages files in Dropbox and sending them to Pages meant they showed up seconds later in, from where I could download them as PDFs and print them out. It's nothing compared to the web app version of iWork Apple previewed at last week's WWDC, but it solved a problem I couldn't see my way through without a trip back to my own iMac (and probably some more issues hunting down the cause of the corrupted files).

iOS is far from a done deal. Productivity on the iPad is still a work in progress for most of us. Still I'm reminded almost daily of how far we've come, and just how much I rely on the computing power of advice that was—until only a few years ago—good for little more than making voice calls  and sending SMS.