Apple iPad in depth: the travelling experience

My-old-laptop-rucksack-and-my-new-Apple-iPad-travel-case-462x347I have a large laptop bag that will probably look rather familiar. It’s black, well padded, has more pockets than I know what to do with – but I’ve been very happy with it for the year or so I’ve had it. In this bag I carry my laptop, spare battery, charger, assorted paperwork and a plethora of other stuff. Fully loaded it weighs about 7.3 tonnes and, after a day lugging it about, leaves indents in my shoulders.

Apple iPad in depth: the travelling experience

And since my Apple iPad arrived I’ve only taken the bag out once.

The big padded bag has been dumped for a small and light rucksack. The iPad itself has a case to protect the screen, and there’s still plenty of room in my lightweight rucksack for the tiny power adapter. That’s if I need it: the iPad will last all day, two days even.

Now, my setup is unique to me so I’m not advocating everyone simply drop their laptop and get an iPad, but for what I do it’s perfect. My mobile needs are fairly basic. I have to get email, be able to browse the web, write and fill in the odd spreadsheet. The iPad can do all this and be a games console, book, magazine and newspaper.

Luckily I don’t have to commute to work anymore, but I’m often on the train to exotic locations such as Leeds, York or Halifax. For shorter journeys I rarely bothered getting the laptop out as it was a bit of a pain. With the iPad you whip it out and it’s on.

That might sound simplistic, but really, the fact it’s on instantaneously makes an enormous difference. I know that Office barely takes any time to launch, but the word processor on my iPad is open as soon as I tap its icon. The on-screen keyboard isn’t perfect, but it’s by no means bad – certain no worse than the physical one on the netbook I currently own but no longer use. Where it’s standing room only you can still use the iPad too.

On my longer journeys I’ve been catching up on TV and movies and not had to worry about battery life. Again, it’s a tiny thing, but it really makes the iPad a better solution than a laptop. In fact, since I started using my iPad I’ve barely had the need to open the laptop – the iPad can perform around 90% of the tasks I used the laptop for. The other 10% can usually wait.

When Steve Jobs, with his famously unassuming and respectful manner, dismissed netbooks as useless I was a bit skeptical. However, I have a netbook and it’s gathering dust, the iPad has become part of my leaving the house ritual: keys, wallet, phone, iPad.

I’m sure some of you reading this will need access to bespoke applications and work-related security regimes that rule out anything but the ultra-secure Windows XP, and for this the iPad is irrelevant. However, for anyone whose mobile working needs are basic I’d seriously suggest you put an iPad to the test. Your shoulders will thank you.

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