Apple iPad on a five-day business trip: So, how’d it do?

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“I got an iPad when they went on sale in early April, a few weeks before I left on a five-day business trip,” Mitch Wagner reports for Computerworld. “On the iPad, I can do 90% of the computing tasks I need to do. I can use the Web, check e-mail, use Twitter and Facebook, and, most important, write. Theoretically, I should be able to use it as my only computer for a short time.”

“As an experiment, I decided to see if I could use the iPad as a notebook replacement. Not forever — just while traveling,” Wagner reports. “I know the device isn’t intended to replace a full-blown laptop, but that’s what experimentation is all about, right?”

Wagner reports, “Now my business trip has come and gone, and I’ve learned a lot about the iPad’s strengths and weaknesses… The main problem I had with the iPad was that it wasn’t the tool I’m accustomed to using. I kept getting tripped up while performing everyday tasks.”

MacDailyNews Take: Adapting to new paradigms takes time. The paradigm shifted with the release of the original iPhone, but its screen size inhibited a lot of people from trying to do a five-day business trip with one instead of a laptop. Now people are finding that they have to get used to things like: no mouse, editing with finger touches, trying to use online tools and text input boxes that were designed for mouse-driven GUIs, etc., etc. etc. This is’t an instant transformation, but it’s moving along rather rapidly. As more and more iPad-specific apps debut, the five-day iPad-only business trip will become routine.

Wagner reports, “I do recommend that if you want an iPad and haven’t gotten one already, opt for the 3G model. It costs only $130 more than the Wi-Fi model (starting price, $629 for the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad) and you can get connectivity from AT&T starting at $15 per month, with no contract required. If you don’t use the 3G, you don’t have to pay the monthly fee. Think of the $130 surcharge as connectivity insurance.”

Full article, in which Wagner concludes for now that he’s ordering a MacBook Pro this week, here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re still testing, but some of our articles lately, including the one you’re reading right now, have been posted from iPads, not our usual 17-inch MacBook Pros. Obviously, when we need to create a graphic, we’ll need our MBPs. Pixelmator for iPad, please! Our old-fashioned browser workspace that was long-ago built with frames (list of commonly-used links in a thin left column, Expression Engine CMS on the right) still works in Safari on the MBPs, but iPad doesn’t allow cut-copy-paste into frames. That’ll have to be replaced with a folder in the browser bar. These are the sorts of things that require you to actually use an iPad for your work first and then go about figuring out new ways to work. It’s also MDN posts require more more typing than you might think at first glance; excerpts have to have quotes and author attributions, Takes and Notes are written and re-written (believe it or not), links have to be added, etc., but the iPad’s virtual keyboard has not been an issue. It’s big, easy-to-use, and it works well.

Right now, our articles done with iPad take somewhere around 1.5 – 2 times longer than with our MBPs, depending on complexity. That’s encouraging after only having used the iPads for such a short time for MDN posting. (We’ve posted articles via iPhone (and iPod touch) before and, compared to iPad, it’s something only to be attempted only in a pinch. The screen size changes everything. As far as posting articles (not managing email, etc.), iPhone use on MDN is limited to fixing typos (often), adding a line or two to a Take here and there, monitoring the feedback (yes, we do it sometimes), and emergency posts from the tarmac or in-flight (for some reason, Apple likes to spring software updates on us where we’re about to take off, in the air, or waiting to deplane). iPad, however, is a whole different ballgame and we’re using iPads much more often and for much more than iPhones, especially as we now have 3G iPads.

82 Comments

  1. Slightly off-topic, but…
    Using FindMyPhone for someone who has both an iPhone and an iPad shows both devices in separate maps on the same web page. And the iPad’s circle of probability is much much smaller than the iPhone’s. Better GPS I’d guess.

  2. “He keeps glancing over here…”

    Well, if it’s not the iPad he’s interested in, let him down gently. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. I think we are neglecting some remote access tools. Got into my home laptop from an iPad, using LogMeIn on the browser. Worked great, was able to to work using — I know — Dreamweaver and Photoshop. There is not much typing in either, but it was fast, easy, and allows the paradigm of not carrying all that stuff around on my travel machine.

    I can do the same thing from the iPhone using the LogMeIn app. More difficult due to screen size, to the point of being useless for real work. Good for troubleshooting, though; can help customers from anywhere using 3G.

  4. @Sir Gill Bates:
    Speak for yourself Mr Gates. I can make myself think with my brain when I have to. But C1 is kinda stunning so I suspect the guy doesn’t know what to look at.

  5. I have found my iPad has made some of my job tasks much easier. I often have to set up or diagnose issues on a job site that require the software on my [eh-hem] windows laptop to deal with. But I have to get into some tight spots or move to locations frequently on the site. I cant close the lid on the laptop because the @$&;?! thing takes 3-4 minutes to boot up (oh that my office would buy me a mac to run a virtual environment on) so I have to carry it with the lid open. A 6# laptop gets kind of awkward to haul around after awhile. But if I use iTap VNC on my iPad and put the laptop down and connect over wifi- {ethereal music, angels singing, etc} the job is very easy to manage. Tons of time saved and no futzing with windows nastiness on bootup and wakeup.

    Oh how I loathe windows… My iPad makes it just a little more bearable.

  6. Sounds like MDN is turning into a jet-setting multinational corporation.

    Next up – shadowy, cigarette smoking figures and back room sweetheart deals.

  7. I’ve found myself flipping the iPad upside down in portrait when I’m sitting upright in a chair or couch. Having the home button at the top is so much more convenient, for me anyway. I wish the keyboard also was able to drop down from the top of the screen. So many times, I’ve had to readjust the iPad when prompted to type something, where if the keyboard was at the top of the screen, I wouldn’t have had to. A+++ device though. I’ve had it for 24 hours, and it’s totally changed my daily life…for the better of course.

    Typed all of this on my iPad while only having to go back and fix one typing error. They freaking nailed this keyboard.

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