So, obviously I'm loving my new iPad.  Yesterday at DNUG, I found I was able to use it as my primary device during the day for the kind of interrupt-driven email triage that usually happens when I'm on the road, mixed in with the occasional surfing and calendar updates.  The battery life is excellent, the display is great, and the functionality maps to what I need.  Game changer for sure.

One of the questions today in the closing session at the German Notes User Group DNUG was, essentially, why does my Notes calendar work better on my (iPad/iPhone/Blackberry)?  I have to admit, the iPad calendar is one very slick application.  The question was asked more about function than form, but either way, it was, why does my calendar feel like it works better on the device?  And a different but similar question I also received today was, why, when I decline a meeting on the Blackberry, am I not kept informed of changes to that meeting?

The answer for these questions is the same.  The device manufacturers have the luxury of building a minimalist interface for calendaring workflow, so what it does looks clean and elegant.  It's also running off solid state disk, with no other applications running at the same time, providing fast response time.

It just doesn't do as much.  On my iPad, the options when receiving a calendar invite are "yes/no/maybe".  There's no delegation, no counter-proposal, no ability to even send comments with the reply.  On my Blackberry (and iPad), there's no "keep me informed" checkbox when declining a meeting.

If you can build for a particular single device, single OS, single user experience, you get to build a more elegant user interface.  I'm quite certain there are Outlook users asking the exact same question in compare between Outlook and iPad.  The form factor lends itself to something different, something that Apple has clearly done successfully.

However, it can hit the wall, too.  For example,I can't seem to find the finger gesture to turn the page -- there are forward/back navigation at the bottom of the screen, but no turned corner or other indication on the page of the way it turn next/previous itself.  And vowe had to show me how to lock the screen from rotating so easily, because I kept losing focus as the display did a tilt-a-whirl while viewing my calendar.

I've been around enterprise calendaring for 17 years now.  Every new product that comes out has improvements, but there is frankly no way for any one product to get it right for everyone.  There are too many individual preferences associated with the use of a calendar.  So the iPad, while it looks really nice, has its limitations.   Notes has fewer limitations but less eye candy.  I think there will continue to be tradeoffs for a long time to come.

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