We have been allowed to use iPads in the chamber of the House of Lords, so I have bought one. After a couple of weeks of use it is clear to me that we should not consider issuing them to members.
Not that the iPad is a bad device. I am enjoying using mine. But because it is so bad at organising documents in a way that will be useful in the House, and because of Apple.
I want to use my iPad to make me a more efficient and effective peer. Principally, that involves access to and searching of documents and correspondence. The iPad is so bad at this as to make it useless for all but those as determined and computer literate as I am.
And the manuals! We are back in the bad days of flat pack furniture. How can a company that is supposed to be about communication be so bad?
Which brings me on to Apple. I have been suckered by Apple’s ads into thinking that Apple=freedom. Not the case. To my great surprise I find that Apple is a theocracy, Microsoft a democracy by comparison. No Java allowed – so our intranet is crippled. No Flash – less of a bore but still tiresome if I want information from a site that uses it. Apps only from Apple. And take a look at Wikipedia on IOS Jailbreaking, and on the censorship that Apple imposes. To my mind there is no way that a free parliament should tie itself to Apple’s rules.
So roll on a tablet that is up to scratch on file handling and manuals and is free of Apple’s, or anyone else’s, control.
On a more positive note, perhaps real-time internet TV coverage of the Lords + tablets in the Chamber + Twitter = a way for the general public to participate in House of Lords committee-stage consideration of bills. Worth a try.