It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two months now since I’ve had my iPad. Time has flown by. It’s also been over two months since I posted here on my blog. I’ve been primarily posting items to Twitter and Facebook, trying out some social media alternatives to blogging. I guess I’ve decided to come right back where I started – to this blog.
In any case, as I said above: I’ve been using my iPad for over two months now. It’s a 64GB WiFi model. Since I already owned a Cradlepoint 3G mobile WiFi hotspot I felt no need to wait for the 3G model. I did order a 3G model for my wife, which she has had for over a month now and dearly loves.
In any case, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my experiences so far with the iPad. It’s surprised me in many ways – all of them good!
First of all, the iPad has become my primary work computer. I take it with me every week as I travel to IT management consulting engagements. As the picture above shows, I’ve got a Griffen stand and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard for use when typing large amounts of data into the iPad. One of the surprises, however, has been that the longer I’ve owned the iPad, the less I’ve used the Bluetooth keyboard and Griffen stand and the more I find myself holding the iPad in my hands to use it. I’m also using the onscreen virtual keyboard quite a bit. The onscreen keyboard works great for light-duty input especially in conjunction with the Apple iPad case, which allows the iPad to be positioned at the right angle for onscreen typing when placed on a table or desk. I tend to do just that for all but the heaviest keyboard input tasks.
The second surprise is that my old HP Mini 5101 netbook has turned into a companion device for the iPad. Now most mobile devices end up being used as companions to PCs, but mine is the reverse case: my PC is a companion to the iPad. This is because I can so easily access the netbook using the LogMeIn Ignition application whenever I need to accomplish a work task that requires a Windows-based program such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. In fact, I find a netbook to be the perfect companion for an iPad given it’s 1024 X 600 screen size. This screen size renders perfectly on the iPad’s 1024 X 768 screen and allows room left over for the icons and buttons that appear on the top and bottom of the LogMeIn Ignition screen. The HP doesn’t even have to travel with me – it can sit at home, left on and connected to our home network and still be accessed from the iPad through LogMeIn, no matter how far away from home I may be. I’ve even accessed it from an in-flight aircraft using Delta’s or US Air’s onboard WiFi services.
My third surprise is that I’m using LogMeIn, and therefore my “Windows companion”, less and less. At first, it seemed like most of my work day was spent using my iPad as a client to my Windows netbook and using Microsoft Office software predominantly to get my job done. Now I’m doing more and more of the work natively on the iPad. This has mostly been made possible by the Dropbox iPad application and its associated syncing and remote storage services. I automatically sync every file associated with my current consulting client between my HP netbook and the iPad. In fact, the files are also automatically synchronized with our large Gateway quad-processor desktop system, providing me with additional data redundancy. Now I often find that I use Dropbox to access a file that was originally stored on my PC and then importing it into one of the iWork applications on the iPad: Pages, Keynote, or Numbers. Alternatively, for PDF files I’ll end up importing the files into Goodreader. I’m also finding the new iPad compatible version of Documents To Go to be wonderful when working with Microsoft Word files, especially with its superb integration with Dropbox.
So much for the pleasant surprises – what more would I like to see improved in the iPad? Apple: please improve the iWork applications! Pages needs to handle more of the complex features of Word better, and will you PLEASE enable Keynote and Numbers to export files in Microsoft Office format!!! I still don’t understand why Apple allows Pages to export Office compatible files, but not Keynote and Numbers.
Nevertheless, I’m extremely happy with my iPad. It’s got a brilliantly clear screen, is small and lightweight and a breeze to carry when traveling, and it’s FAST! It has truly become my primary traveling work computer and supports all my needs, especially when teamed with its netbook companion. It’s also a wonderful entertainment and social media platform for use during the evenings in my hotel room. I’m especially loving the Netflix application!