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.