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Trading on the iPAD
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Trading on the iPAD

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Trading on the iPAD

This will be a journal about attempting to use the iPAD for trading discretionary. I find there are times during the day that I wished I had remained in touch with the markets while working and entered some positions or trades. I always carry my laptop with me, but while at work that becomes more cumbersome since I should not be trading while working at the same time. I wanted to find a better way to address that need and as such I figure that perhaps the iPAD was somewhat ready to address my needs.

I evaluated various android based devices, and to me the better one is the samsung in terms of ergonmics; however, the lack of application support is troublesome and as such that left for me two options, to get an iPAD or to get a HP Slate. I have not yet desisted of a HP Slate, but I figure I try out first the iPAD and see what happens. Worst case scenario, my kids will benefit from it if it does not perform as I desire.

A few ground rules:

- demo account only (no sense on risking real $$$ on this exercise)
- no scalping (latency would just plain and simply kill me)
- max contracts limited to 5 for futures
- max contracts limited to 10 for options (on equities and futures)
- no fast moving instruments (stick to ES/NQ/ZN?/ZB?)
- options are a critical part of the testing (mainly directional bets)
- day trading only (no long term position holding, such is my preference as I like to be on cash by EOD)

not sure of the broker to use yet, that is part of the exercise of determining the application stack on the iPAd to carry.


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 06:58 PM.
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iPAD 1 vs. iPAD 2


As I mentioned, I research all android devices; they were found to be lacking. I then decided on the iPAD but the question was which one, specially considering that in another 6 months a new one is coming out that should "leap" above iPAD2.

I normally set aside funds every year for technology, so as a techie myself I would normally be inclined to the latest and greatest, but I decided to concentrate more on what the end use might be if the iPAD turns out not to be mature enough.

I went to SAMS Club and bought both iPAD's over the weekend... the iPAD G1 64GB Wifi ($479) and the iPAD G2 16BG ($488) ... though I bought both, I plan to return one. I wanted to compare the speed of each when trading (at least in terms of perception), there lays the reason for getting both.

The gear:

iPAD 1 (M294LL/A) 64GB Wi-fi Only
iPAD 2 (MC979LL/A) 16GB Wi-Fi Only

as a note, my expectation is that iPAD 3 will be much faster than iPAD 2.. at which point in time it might make sense to go to it... assuming the applications on the iPAD continue to improve as developers increase their support.


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 07:00 PM.
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Perceived Performance

The whole reason why I say perceived has to do with patience in execution or moving between tabs or apps on an iPAD. I am accostumed to certain performance on my desktop and laptop, and I dont think is realistic to have the same expectations from a very limited device (aka toy) that could be used for very discretionary trading.

I have to admit the iPAD 2 is indeed faster than the iPAD 1; but the question is, do 1-3 second difference makes a true difference for the style of trading? I decided the answer is no, specially because my limiting factor is the latency that I will experience over 3G no matter what I do.

most people tend to focus on how fast this and that, not realizing that it will make very little difference in their trading unless they are scalping. Understanding the limitations to ones setup is critical to setting proper expectations, and my limitation in this case has to do with what communication medium I will be using.

so I am going with iPAD Gen 1... and if at the end of the exercise it turns out that I dont need it, then the kids can use it for educational purposes...


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 06:23 PM.
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The Application Stack: Candidates

I spent much of the weekend playing with the devices; I loaded and tried more apps that I can count and deleted them as well. After much reviewing the apps I have come down to the following candidate stack, which still needs further narrowing down. I will review each one and provide my thoughts as to how I went about narrowing them down, exposing my requirements and how I thought they met those requirements:

News/Research

- Bloomberg (News, Research)
- Reuters MarketBoard (News, Research)
- Reuters News Pro (News)
- Financial Times (News)
- interactive business daily (news)


Brokerage:

- Fidelity (Options Only)
- IBKR TWS (Futures Only)
- TDA TOS (Futures and Options)
- TradeInterceptor (FX Only - MBT support is 2-3 months away)
- OandaFX (FX Only)
- PFG iBroker (Futures/Options/FX, they support PFG only today, with OEC planned for the future)
- eTrade (Options Only)


Remote Access
- PocketCloud
- iRdesktop


Misc
- iBooks (I have lots of PDF's that I would like to read)
- Oracle University (nice to have some of my training online)


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 09:57 PM.
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Brokers Supporting iPAD

The biggest issue I have is with support of iPAD for trading applications. The best two that I have came across are iBroker, TradeInterceptor and MobileTWS, but they target very different things each. I really dont like that I have to pick a broker to use based on what app is supported, and I dont want to have to monitor too many portfolios since the iPAD does not multitask very well.

I have to spend some time thinking today about what I want to focus on trading: Options, Futures, FX; and then pick one and try to address it that way. I usually dont like to limit myself to a specific instrument type. I will see what happens. So far the following brokers have applications for iPAD, without limiting the application aspect ratio:

- Fidelity
- Schwab
- TD Ameritrade (ThinkorSwim)
- Peregrine Financial (PFG)
- Oanda
- FXCM
- eTrade


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 07:02 PM.
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One good side effect

I am on the train heading home from the city, and I can use the iPad for emails and the web; as well as getting a head start on doing the day research. I have to see if there is an excel like app with API acces to market data EOD for calculations, that would be cool to have.

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sysot1t View Post
so I am going with iPAD Gen 1... and if at the end of the exercise it turns out that I dont need it, then the kids can use it for educational purposes...

Why? To save the $9 or because you are going to load it up with music and need the 64gb?

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Why? To save the $9 or because you are going to load it up with music and need the 64gb?

Mike

Nope... Money is not a factor... But rather because I prefer to use the lowest common denominator for my testing and also because the performance improvement on the ipad2 is not all that is cracked up to be, and I rather get more space for my expense.

This exercise has very little to do with saving money. I have only spent this year about 20% or less of my technology budget this year. Also, I don't listen all that much to music or watch tv... I rather use the space for my PDFs from books that I want to read while I am on the train for those 4 hours a day, or even the recordings from work that deal with trading.

I also ordered over the weekend a new T420s for travel and trading while away along with docking station and a pair of 20.5"... So it has nothing to do neither with new technology or finding a new platform from which to trade.

Those purchases still leave me with $2k left to spend of my annual budget, and if this works, I can just ge the iPad2 wifi+3G 64gb, but as I said earlier... No sense on getting something that my 5 year old will end up having to start if this does not work out for my needs.

That is not to say the iPad is not overpriced, I can get an x220t for another $500 for what I would pay for that iPad 2 ... And I could run all that i would need without issues... But the damn thing weights a ton and I want to drop weight from my bag....


Last edited by sysot1t; July 25th, 2011 at 10:35 PM.
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