Why Do You Recommend an iPad?
I don’t recommend iPad just ’cause it’s an iPad. I recommend it because Branchfire makes an amazing app called iAnnotate. I teach students how to use it in the course via screencast video.
It’s only $9.99. And it is incredible.
This fantastic, powerful little app allows you to:
- Open PDF files directly from an e-mail into the app.
- Create your own toolbox with things you use most often to annotate. I will show you the exact tools I use and the order I have them in my toolbox when we get to the section on making corrections.
- Personalize “stamps” so you don’t have to type out “add comma” or “delete comma” over and over again. I will share exactly what stamps I have in my stamp “collection” when we get to the section on making corrections.
- E-mail the job directly from the app.
- Highlight words to check the dictionary for their spelling (if it’s not found, there’s a good chance it’s not a word).
- Google directly from the app. Highlight the word and select “Google”. Helps a lot if you’re checking on spellings and use of medical terminology, and whether or not to capitalize names of prescription drugs.
- My personal favorite feature: you can choose to send “Annotated Pages Only” and the app will attach a file containing only annotated pages into the e-mail you’ll be sending to your client.
Do I Need Wi-Fi to Use iAnnotate?
You only need Wi-Fi to download and send files. Once the files are downloaded, you can work in iAnnotate anywhere — long flights are my favorite!
When Should I Get an iPad for Your Course?
An iPad is recommended for Module 4, which contains the modules for setting up iAnnotate; and Module 5, which contains the practice transcripts.
Which iPad Should I Get? Why?
I recommend an iPad mini. I have a 32GB version 2 with Wi-Fi only, but 16GB is plenty. The size is perfect for traveling and proofreading anywhere (my specialty!). The screen isn’t that much smaller than the full-sized version (you’d be surprised), and I’ve used both. If you can get to an Apple store to test out both in your hands, do that, and you’ll see what I mean. My students who took this advice and went with the iPad mini are so glad they did. If you plan to be out of Wi-Fi zones for long periods of time, you may consider the cellular version, but it’s 99% of the time unnecessary. Even if you’re in the car, these days it’s possible to use your cell phone as a hotspot to download files quickly as needed.
Apple has an awesome comparison chart for the current iPad versions.
Where Should I Buy an iPad?
What if I have “fat fingers”? What if I have bad eyes?
Yes, people ask me that! Ha! You can always err on the side of caution and go for the Air. It’s slim, doesn’t weigh too much more than the mini. I always say, “You won’t hate it!” Like I mentioned above, check out the Apple store if you want to test them all in your hands. Keep in mind, too, that you can zoom in on iAnnotate while you’re reading transcripts, and when you turn the mini to the side, the text is even bigger and you can zoom more — it gets REALLY big. If you’re reading books, you can increase the font size as well.
You can also use a stylus. I’ve got some recommended ones on this post.
What if I hate Apple/have an Android?
I teach several methods in the course, but my favorite is iPad. Why? BECAUSE OF iANNOTATE! It is really that amazing. There is an Android version, but I’ve not heard very good things. That said, if you already have an Android device, it’s worth it to try it out. I’m sure they’re working to improve it.
Don’t believe me? Think I’m probably just another Apple freak? Here are some exact quotes from some of my students in regard to the app on Android:
Used an Android until my iPad arrived. There is simply no comparison between the 2 apps because the Android version is so far behind. The iPad app is lightyears ahead and allows you to be more time efficient.
iAnnotate for Android sucks. Can’t make any stamps, customize the toolbar, etc.
My iPad mini just arrived! I did a happy dance, and my husband looked at me funny. He doesn’t understand. I’ve been proofing on hard copy and on an Android tablet. I am SO excited to use iAnnotate on the iPad mini. I will finally have the best tools for the task!
I sold my Samsung Galaxy tab and caved to buy the mini instead. Tried iAnnotate on the Samsung and just didn’t do it for me. Much easier on the iPad.
Can I do this work on a PC?
You can do this work on a PC, it is just significantly slower and less efficient, plus you don’t have the “like paper” feel of the iPad and it’s been passed around quite a bit in the court reporting world that reading from a desktop computer screen (NOT a tablet) can cause your eyes to glaze over things easier than on paper or a tablet screen. I’d strongly recommend going with the quickest, most efficient method you can if you’re serious about doing this kind of work. The more time you spend fiddling with technology or doing things in a more old-fashioned way, the more time it will take you to earn your money. Remember, you’re paid per page, and if it takes you longer to mark up the jobs because you’re not doing it the fastest way, your bottom line stays the same, but it just takes you longer to earn it.
If you’re desperate to get started right away but want to wait to get an iPad later on (and you understand that the following recommendations are not as fast or efficient as the tried-and-true iAnnotate PDF iOS version), you can check out these apps:
- Drawboard PDF (Windows)
- Notable PDF (Google Chrome Plug-in)
- Xodo PDF Reader and Editor (Android)
- ezPDF Reader (Android)