As I was running out of the house on Thursday for CES in Las Vegas, I opened up my small messenger bag, removed my MacBook Air, and replaced it with my iPad. My reasoning was simple -- I'd be running around the show floor at CES, and using a notebook computer would be impractical compared to whipping out a tablet and showing pictures or looking something up on the web (I use my iPad with a Verizon MiFi, so I still had network access -- AT&T users were out of luck). I was also originally scheduled only to be away for the day. When I arrived at the airport, a series of events led to a decision to stay in Las Vegas for 3 days. Suddenly, I was worried. I didn't have a charger with me and had never tried to be productive on the iPad for such a long period of time.
Here are a few things I noticed:
- If you use complicated web passwords, life becomes difficult. I am a diehard user of 1Password, which normally makes it a keystroke to login to the various websites I depend on for social media productivity. I use 1Password on the iPad as well, but the round trip to the app to look up and copy/paste passwords is disruptive.
- Battery life is excellent! I have been using the device a lot and still have 16% as I board the plane to return home.
- Autocorrect is a huge pain in the butt when it goes wrong.
- The iPad sometimes auto capitalizes letters in the middle of a sentence if you backspace, which slows down typing a lot if you are not OK with having random caps in what you write.
- As always, showing any sort of media (photos or video) to another person is a joy when compared to showing the same content using a notebook computer.
- Multitasking in iOS 4 has made the iPad actually viable as a productivity device. But don't expect your web pages in Safari to remain cached if you switch away for too long.
- I'm not really missing the lack of Flash.
- I uploaded images automatically to Facebook using an Eye-Fi card in my Canon S95 and was able to annotate and caption on the iPad after they were uploaded. This worked well, except that the camera and card combo hits batteries hard. I often had to put my Eye-Fi card into Adam Tow's card reader on his Mac so it would upload without using my camera battery.
- I love Flipboard, Instapaper and Simplenote apps.
- I can type really quickly on the iPad when things like autocorrect and random capitalization don't get in the way.
- Everyone loves the Dodo moleskin notebook-like case.
- Travelling light (iPad, point & shoot camera, Kindle3, MiFi) is a joy
- I'm at the airport now, and all I see are MacBooks and iPads. Only 1 non-Mac in sight (Thinkpad).
- I'm typing this on the iPad.
- Scrolling within a textarea in Safari for iPad is hard.
- Overall, I was able to function well.
That's about all I can think of at the moment. One huge annoyance is that the updated MiFi firmware no longer is hackable to support routeroverusb. Since I didn't have a charge-only cable with me, I was unable to leave the MiFi plugged into the wall and working as a WiFi router.
I think I'd still bring an Air and Kindle over an iPad, given the choice, but I might bring an iPad instead of my 17" MacBook Pro.