“Someday I might get a cell phone / mobile phone but it will be used just for emergencies”. Someone you know, and a few hundred million people who are not close personal friends have said that statement and meant it. But I suspect they’re not waiting for an emergency, they use their cell phone everyday. If the phone is available, easy to use, not too expensive, it will be used as a convenience rather than as a necessity. So what does that have to do with the iPad?
If you’re saying, I’ve got a big PC or I’ve got a laptop I don’t need a iPad. Don’t say it again or too loudly because it will come back to haunt you. I picked up an iPad, intending to give the bride her entire wedding (photos, video, web pages, audio) on an iPad as well as in book-form, along with a dozen instant Facebook photos. I didn’t expect to use the iPad myself. I could not have been more surprised. Particularly since I’m very happy with my Duo-Core Intel Mac Pro and Mac laptops. To say “I use the iPad” isn’t quite right. More to the point is, the iPad is with me always. Just an arms length away and doing more things, faster that any of the more than a dozen towers and half dozen laptops that I’ve used daily. Remember that long wait. From the moment you turning on your computer, wait for it to flash and beep, then boot. Followed by another wait as you start a program and load a document. If it’s a daily grind, a daily pain, I can assure you it will be only a memory once you touch the iPad. Sort of like comparing the get up and go of say… a beat-up truck and the Space Shuttle. Touch the iPad and it’s on Instantly! It’s up and running, waiting, warm, and eager. Eager as a litter of puppies, but its more fun with less drool. But strangers do drool, people who see you stroking the screen and pages responding. No, actually the pages seem to flow more than respond.
But, some strangers will ask, “can I do it,” go ahead let them, they will love it. Perhaps fall in love with you too, but if they turn and bolt, with the iPad in their clutches, relax. Like the iPhone it has the find-my-iPad app via MobileMe account. (I learned from experience that it’s best to keep it out of the hands or your in-laws, they may not want to give it back.)
I feel as if I need to tell you a lot about apps, and weight, but really that’s not the point. No more than a cell phone’s ability to be available in an emergency was the key to its success.
• The iPad instantly feels right and instantly does so many things better and much more conveniently than a laptop, that it becomes an all day pleasurable companion.
• Email; faster and easier.
• Battery life; forever. Okay not forever but I watched 6 hours of TedTalks video and didn’t drain even half of the battery. Apple claims12 hours of usage and that seems in line with what I’ve seen.
• Web browsing; fairly easy, but without Adobe Flash.
• Reading books and magazines; easier than on paper.
• Document creation; pretty easy for text, simple spreadsheet, and presentations.
• Calendar and contacts; better than on the laptop or tower.
• You can print from it and link it to a projector for making presentations too.
• Keyboard; nothing could be easier on your hands.
• Mouse; no mouse, and that’s a bit disconcerting.
• Tapping; single tap, double tap, tap and pause, it’s disconcerting too, but the learning curve is pretty easy and fairly intuitive. For your sanity, take the Apple iPad orientation (15-20 min) and go through every single app that you use. Do it BEFORE you leave the store. Create a file, work in it, save and share that file type so that you KNOW how to do everything you want to do before leaving the store. Do it, and leave a happy camper, and you will remain a happy camper.
• While giving a presentation, touch the screen for a couple moments and your finger-position becomes a laser pointer with a tail. Drag it around to point out items on the projected screen.
So can it replace a laptop?! Yes and no. If you have a laptop or tower you can store big apps there. Leave your documents there and on the cloud. The iPad can grab it from the cloud.
With the WiFi iPad, you must have a Mac desktop or laptop to set up and sync with iTunes and your MobileMe account. If you have a PC and not a Mac set up and link it to your PC via iTunes the same way you link your iPhone.
I’ll say that again, it gets set up and synced via iTunes either on the Mac or PC. You can have access to documents and files via the Mobile Me (cloud). But you can go about your day un-tethered and a whole lot lighter by leaving the laptop at home. I didn’t think I would, but I do. I’ve taken the laptop out of the house only once since I got an iPad, and even that was only because I didn’t spring for a sync cable before giving a University lecture.
If you hold an iPad, touch it, it’s very hard not to love. Get one, and take the intro class with an Apple rep before you leave the store. But before you buy one take bets with friends or relatives who say “ I’ll never get an iPad.” You’ll clean up.
John Costello is an internationally award winning photojournalist and wedding photographer / videographer who has used a variety of PC’s and Macs daily, for decades.
John Costello | firstname.lastname@example.org | 215.866.6701