iPad 2: Love it or Hate it? My Thoughts 6 Weeks On
If you’re tired of hearing about Apple and their iGadgets then this post probably isn’t for you. Likewise, if you happen to see me around then it’s probably best you try to make sure we stay a mile away from the subject because I’m in love and I want to scream it from the top of a mountain! But I don’t have a mountain. I have a blog.
Ok, that’s a bit extreme and I assure you I was just stealing a line from the movie Anchorman. This is not just a mad rant from an Apple fanboy about how awesome Apple and the iPad is and Steve Jobs is a god. I just wanted to report my findings after having owned an iPad 2 (my first iPad) for a little over a month now.
The short version; all my expectations have been met or surpassed. It’s brilliant.
And now for the longer version… I don’t want this to become a review because there’s a plethora of those plastered all over the interwebs but I need to talk a little about the stuff I’ve done with my shiny iPad to make my point.
First of all; my expectations were very realistic and for that reason they were all met. People who expect an iPad to replace their laptop or desktop will be sorely disappointed. My iPad slotted into my life along side my personal MacBook Pro, business Windows 7 laptop and iPhone.
Secondly; being in IT and a tech-savvy guy, I have gone to lengths to get most of my data into the ‘cloud’ using apps and services such as Evernote, Dropbox, Gmail and Exchange. What that means to the layman is that I have access to all the same stuff (email, documents, calendar, etc) regardless of whether I’m on my iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro or Windows PC (or internet cafe for that matter). I think this is vital in order to really make use of a device like an iPad.
Ok, back on topic. So, for the past month my iPad 2 has accompanied me to all of my work meetings (on- and off-site), to all of my business trips (a couple), to all of my holidays (a weekender and 2 weeks over Easter) and at other times it has sat patiently awaiting attention on the coffee table or kitchen table. In short, I’ve given it a full run of all the things I would use it for and I have been supremely impressed.
I no longer carry my laptop or paper and pens to meetings – all notes go directly into the Evernote app and into the cloud so it is available automatically on my laptop later for review. Often on business trips or at customer sites I don’t require a computer to do my work (my job is a bit fluffy), but having the iPad on hand has allowed me to keep up-to-date with emails, bring up notes (from Evernote) or open documents (from Dropbox) and Google the odd thing as it comes up quickly. All without squinting at my tiny iPhone screen or having to find a place to setup and plug in a laptop.
Then in the evenings my iPad transforms into my entertainment device – games, music, movies, tv shows, books, magazines and the web. I love to read and I can now carry more books and magazines than I ever could physically… if only I could drag myself away from GarageBand for long enough to actually read something. Having so much entertainment at my fingertips is a godsend for a road warrior like myself who has spent many a lonesome night in hotel rooms around the world.
You might have also guessed that all the same benefits apply to holidays, and they do… plus more. As an avid photographer I’ve found it amazingly useful to be able to look at my day’s shooting on the bigger iPad screen rather than the camera’s screen. From there I can even touch them up a little with Photoshop Express for iPad and send them up to Facebook or Flickr. That’s not just to show off to friends and family, but it also serves as a great way to keep precious holiday snaps backed up.
While travelling, maps and travel apps are fantastic on the iPad as well. On the plane or train on route to my next destination I would study the map of where I’m going closely – locating my hotel and other points of interest in the area. Depending on the city there is often a few free tourism apps available to dig through and make notes of what to see and what to miss and where to eat and drink. A real time saver.
Finally, having the iPad 2 lying around in the kitchen or on the coffee table has meant the at home I rarely glued to my laptop screen anymore. In fact, during the week I don’t even turn on a computer at home anymore. Sure, I’m often glued to the iPad 2 instead but it’s far less obtrusive than being hidden behind a lid or screen. My wife and I can actually have conversations and although I’m still distracted, I can feign interest far more easily. But then again if I do put it down, she will grab it to quickly search something that’s just crossed her mind or to check the TV guide. Very handy all around.
You might have heard the phrase – the iPad is good for consuming information but not creating it. I have found this to be painfully true through my past month and bit’s experience. There have been times when I’ve just had to go to my laptop to get something done properly after fussing about on the iPad for ages. However, this technology is still very new and the uptake has been incredibly fast. At this rate, it is only natural that the experience that can be had on an iPad or similar will get better and better. I don’t think traditional computers will be completely replaced any time soon, but I feel we are on the verge of another revolution…