7 months with the iPad, here’s what I’ve learned

by Jeff Hilimire on October 26, 2010

I’ve had the iPad for seven months now and its been quite a love/annoy relationship during that time.  I originally wrote a post where I took the iPad, and only the iPad, with me on a four day business trip.  It was not a great experience but that was mostly because I’ve learned that the iPad is not a replacement for your laptop.

So I thought I’d post what I’ve learned and see if anyone else has had the same or different experiences.

What the iPad IS good for:

– Being on a plane (or a boat).  The size and battery life is amazing for this type of travel.

– Reading email.  Not writing, but reading.

– Watching video from your lap.

– Keeping your kids occupied and even educating them.  My kids LOVE the iPad, to the point when I traveled recently my oldest, instead of saying, “I’m gonna miss you, dad” he said “You aren’t taking the iPad with you again are you???”.  Yeah, kinda hurts.  We do have a rule in our house that the kids have to spend 10 minutes using one of the education apps (spelling, numbers, etc.) before they can play one of the games.

– Reading a book, newspaper, magazine, etc.  It will completely redefine how you consume “printed” content.

– Being connected at all times.  Which means you need the 3G one.  I’ve had both, but being in the car and (not while driving of course!) being able to pull up traffic, or weather, or check Facebook, that’s a huge plus.  I mostly use this feature while in a non-Engauge office where I can’t get on wifi or at an airport.  Being always connected is huge.

What the iPad IS NOT good for:

– Replacing your notebook.  Forget it, it’s not ready.

– Writing email.  It’s a pain to write long emails and the folder and file management system isn’t the same as on your computer so that’s a hassle.  You can do it, but its a hassle.

– Finishing blog posts.  You can write them, but adding images, links, etc., is a pain.  Maybe when multitasking is made possible with the OS this will get better, but today its too cumbersome of a process and in some cases impossible.

– Taking notes during a meeting.  Ok, its decent at this, but here’s a list of reasons why I’m not loving taking notes with the iPad.

– Your lower back.  Basically, if you want to use this device for work, plan on adding a pound and a half to your laptop bag.  Might not seem like much, but it adds up over time, plus it makes your bag more bulky.  You could only take the iPad back and forth but if you needed to access your files on your work computer you might be screwed.

– Syncing files.  This part of the experience really needs to be improved.  I basically have to sync to my iTunes account to pull photos/video/etc. onto the iPad.  People can’t pass files from one iPad to the next for instance.  And if I’m not near the computer with my iTunes account, I’m pretty much screwed.

So my synopsis at this point is, if you travel a bunch and/or have a family, you’ll probably love the iPad.  Or if you’re a total geek and/or an Apple Fanboy like me.  It’s best suited for a weeknights and weekend content consumer and if that’s what you expect going in, you’ll love it.  If you think it will replace your laptop, you will be wildly disappointed.

  • http://projectsocial.net ProjectSocial

    I’ve been planning to get an iPad for business, but thanks to this blog post, I’m rethinking it. While it may make you look “cool” to potential clients when walking into a meeting, it sounds like it needs some more development before the iPad is appropriate as a complete solution for business use.

  • TS

    Jeff – thanks for your update on this. I have 2 comments:

    1) what is this “print material” you speak of?

    2) look for an app called Team

  • Jason

    Love my iPad also. But I think you overlooked 2 Huge Apps that can help solve some of your problems: Dropbox for accessing files on your home mac or Sending them (via email) and also Logmein. Most of the time I’ll just logmein to my mac for full access and can take care of anything very easily. 2 weeks on vacation and with logmein never had a need to touch the mac

    I do agree on the long emails, they can be a hassle to type out, I’ll actually switch over to my iphone sometimes for longer stuff. For short concise replies though the iPad is easier

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Team Viewer for the iPad does look cool, remote desktop. Have you used it for the iPhone?

  • http://sisyph.us/ ErikSchwartz

    When I travel my kids miss the iPad more than they miss me.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Classic, me too. “When I travel my kids miss the iPad more than they miss me.”

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    I know some do like the iPad for business but not me as much. That’s why I’m looking at the new Macbook Airs for biz ;)

  • TS

    Yes, I’ve used it. Gets a little cumbersome scrolling to get to where you want to go on your computer desktop (through the iPhone), but that might be easier on the iPad since the screen is larger.

  • TS

    The iPhone is easier for typing emails than the iPad?

    How can that be?

    I only have an iPhone (no iPad), but cant’ see how/why the iPhone could be easier for longer emails.

  • RT

    If you have freakishly long thumbs then I guess it is easier to type on the iPad.

  • RT

    Sorry, my comment above to your comment was intended for this comment… I have short thumbs, that’s my problem

  • TS

    Do you type on it like a keyboard, or holding it in both hands, like an iPhone? I’m still trying to figure this out – not being an iPad owner, it would seem that the bigger keyboard would make it easier on the iPad than the iPhone.

  • Pingback: Why I’m falling back in love with the iPad()

  • http://twitter.com/delross Del Ross

    Any updates on this, one year and 500,000 apps later?

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