iOS 5 is OK, But the iPad eMail App Still Sucks

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I bought my iPad 2 for the portability. In a few short weeks, it has become an indispensable tool. However it has a few glaringly bad problems which I was hoping would be remedied by an upgrade to iOS 5.

My hopes have been dashed.

1) The email client sucks. I had more features in Outlook Express 13 years ago on Windows 98. For a device that is supposed to be about 24/7 online access, this is inexcusable. Apple, either upgrade the email client 8 or 9 generations or let third parties install email clients in iOS as the default email client.

2) Safari was upgraded. OH BOY! It now has tabs instead of that stupidly awkward screen switching mechanism that some software puke at Apple thought was clever. Tabs are something Firefox and IE have had for several releases, so where is the innovation? It’s still not as good as it should be. In fact, its still behind other browsers by many years. For instance, I’m writing this right now in the WordPress editor. However, I can’t use the editor’s built in WYSIWYG functions because iOS won’t allow Safari to execute javascript or some such nonsense. I really don’t care what the problem is. It’s been a documented problem since the original iPad debuted. Safari is in the dark ages without this ability.

Here’s the real rub. There are better browsers available. However, Apple won’t let them install as the default browser. Doesn’t this smack of Microsoft several years ago? I seem to remember a Justice Department investigation of Microsoft for Antitrust violations part of which was about Windows including IE as the default browser. Part of the settlement was that Microsoft must allow third party browsers to be installed as the default browser.

3) iPad finally has a ToDo app – Reminders. I was really excited about this one. Finally, my ToDo lists in my Outlook Calendar and Google would have some place to go on my iPad. But guess what? IT DOESN’T INTEGRATE WITH THE iPAD CALENDAR APP! What? Sometimes I move things from my Calendar to my ToDo list and vice-versa. Can’t do this on iPad, not even with the new, now useless Reminders app.

4) iCloud is a lot of hype. I was excited about this one too. However, like a lot of Apple technology, it doesn’t play well with others and isn’t really new. In other words, Google is much more flexible in that Google will work with email addresses, applications and OS’s other than its own. If your calendar, email or other apps conform to the Exchange standard, then your good. iCloud requires you to get a .me email address and essentially abandon Google. Sorry Apple, Google works just fine for me. I’d like to use a service that was designed for iOS, but I have too much time invested in Google to go to something with more limitations and less capability. Besides, Google still works with my iPhone 3G, which is not compatible with iOS 5. I would have to abandon it or upgrade to a iPhone 4… wait, that might be a bonus, actually…

When iCloud learns to be more open, then I’ll reconsider it.

Truthfully, there are some nice new features in iOS 5. The Apple website has the skinny on those. If you have an iOS 5 compatible device, I recommend you update it.

About Mark Andrews

Software Engineer, Geek, Family Man
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