Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The iPad, 5 months on

It's now late October, and the iPad has been part of my daily life for almost exactly 5 months. It has turned out to be a perfect fit for me, for a number of reasons:

I work as a consultant, and I spend a lot of time on the premises of large banks. Banks, quite justifiably, will not allow wandering consultants to plug just any old laptop into the corporate LAN. In fact, the bank where I am working at the moment has kindly issued me with a corporate IBM ThinkPad, running the bank's preferred standard operating environment. Unfortunately, their SOE is based on Windows XP and IE6, which is like being summarily dumped back into the last century. One of the (many) reasons that Microsoft has no hope of ever being "cool" is that for a large number of people, their daily experience of Microsoft is not Windows 7, or even Vista: it is Windows XP, and it is old hat. The bank also (quite reasonably) blocks access to some website from within the corporate LAN - for example, Dropbox. However, my iPad does not need to connect to the bank's network, and I can use it to access anything that I need, without hindrance.

I have acquired a few new apps since I first acquired my iPad: Quickoffice, Zinio, Nebulous Notes, Airsketch, Flipboard, Wordflick HD, the Google mobile app and Soulver. All of these are good, solid apps.

However, considering what I use most frequently, I would have to say the following, in no particular order:

The built-in mail app

Atomic Web browser









Amazon Kindle

CSV Touch

I do use all the other apps that I have installed, but not as consistently. I take meeting notes directly into Pages. I use Goodreader constantly, to read and manage files. Evernote is installed on every device that I use regularly, as is Dropbox, and I cannot imagine life without either of them. The Atomic Web browser, particularly when combined with Safari Online (see previous post), has simplified my life enormously, because I now have ready access to technical manuals whenever I need them, without have to purchase the physical books. By my reckoning this has already saved me more that the cost of the Safari subscription already, and it has also saved me from buying several books that were not as good as their initial, optimistic, reviews. Instapaper, Zinio and Flipboard always give me something to read, so that queuing time is never wasted.

I took the iPad to Melbourne last month (a brief holiday, to celebrate a wedding anniversary), and it was so much easier than lugging a laptop. I spent today at a conference (vForum 2010), and the iPad didn't weigh down my shoulder bag, but it did do everything I needed. Anyone releasing a device in this category will have to go a long way to surpass the iPad.

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