Living & Working Entirely on the iPad: A VAR Guy Experiment
At the Symantec Partner Engage 2010 event in Las Vegas, I came equipped only with my iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. The experiment was to see how much of my work could be done easily, quickly and more simply using a device that was dedicated to only really doing one thing at a time. Ostensibly, with only 16GB of storage on this iPad, I tried to live almost exclusively in the cloud. Did the experiment pay off? Read on…
Initially, the iPad-only approach was a focus on size and convenience. Having the Internet at my fingertips and then being able to go from productive work machine (keyboard was out to take quick and easy notes during the keynote) to a one-handed tablet with press releases was helpful (when referencing and interviewing). The keyboard went away if I didn’t need it, and I found it great to have my iPad at my side while jotting hand-written notes.
Other journalists struggled with finding space for a bulky laptop, and quite a few of them were scrambling for electrical outlets as a 3-hour note taking session on a keynote had all but killed their battery. At the end of a heavy day of usage, I used 60% of my iPad’s battery, no charging needed.
Tools of the trade
For posting blogs, I used a combination of the WordPress app, along with the Safari web browser. The initial story was written inside Apple Pages for the iPad (complete with HTML code where needed), then the WordPress back-end was logged into via Safari. The text was then copy-pasted into the HTML. For a few trickier things, the WordPress app came in for uploading photos and selecting story categories that weren’t accessible in the web browser due to the mobile browser not fully supporting all the WordPress plug-ins. Because of the browser’s slow rate of refresh (due to handling all the scripts n the page) it added a good 30-extra minutes to my normal blogging routine.
E-mail worked great, and Apple’s Mail app supports a lot of different file attachments, making easy to check both DOC and DOCX files.
But there was a caveat, a really big one. And it was almost a deal breaker.
iOS devices sometimes behave oddly with wireless networks, whether it’s DHCP, authentication, log-in issues, or simply being wonky maintaining a connection. The entire trip was a struggle keeping my iPad connected to the wireless network the hotel provided. No Internet means no work gets done, and that’s a scary thought for a writer with a deadline. Even more so, you can’t live in the cloud without a connection.
Bottom line? The iPad is truly a companion to the working world, and a good one at that, but relying on the iPad as the only tool for all your work probably isn’t the safest choice in the world. Make sure your laptop is back in the hotel room, if you decide to take your iPad on a business trip and have real work to do.