How the iPad Replaced My Laptop in 30 Days

In less than one month, the iPad has almost entirely replaced my laptop.  Both at work and at home.

It is truly an amazing device.  It is mind boggling that something so small and thin, can be such a powerful tool.

It is Not a Laptop

I’ll start by saying that if you need a laptop, then by all means, buy a laptop.  But, these days most people don’t need a laptop.

The iPad is a different class of device.  It doesn’t do everything that a laptop does.

But, it shines in many areas that laptops do not.  It is lightweight, but high on productivity.  It does certain tasks such as email, calendar, web, and niche applications.  And it does them very well.

I can do 90% of what I need to accomplish on my iPad.  My laptop has been relegated to sitting on my desk at work.  I only use it when I need to do something more suited to the desktop environment.

Productivity Shines

I find that with my iPad that I spend more time doing and less time fiddling.  Yes, you could spend all day surfing the Internet at work.  However, like any powerful tool, it can be used for good or evil.

Here are some of my thoughts on productivity with the iPad:

  • Email Shines – The email experience on the iPad is outstanding.  I have several email accounts that I check from personal to work to TMN.  There is something special about the email interface on the iPad.  It feels natural interacting with your email by touching it.  I find myself quickly dealing with and filing emails.  Some would think the onscreen keyboard a hindrance, but I find it works well and encourages quick and brief communication.  Attachments also shine on the iPad.  The large screen is beautiful for viewing Word, PDF, and Excel docs.
  • Calendar is Sharp! – The iPad’s calendar is one of the apps that has really changed the way I work.  Unlike the postage stamp sized view you get on most smartphones, you can see your entire week or month at a glance on your iPad.  This comes in handy when I want to hold up my week’s agenda to my business partner for planning.
  • Size is Everything – Nothing compares to the iPad in size.  Even the smallest notebooks seem like monster trucks sitting next to the iPad.  It is very thin and in the Apple case people assume you are carrying a paper planner or portfolio.  It is very unobtrusive.
  • Instant-On is a Winner – Unlike most laptops that can take a good 30 seconds to come back from sleep mode, the iPad is instantly awake just like your iPhone.  This is very powerful.  In a meeting, I can flick it on, check a fact, and turn it back off in seconds.  Try doing that with your laptop.
  • Multitasking Myth – Much has been bemoaned about the lack of multitasking on the iPhone and iPad.  (By whom I am not exactly sure…)  However, in a counterpoint I would say that there is something inherently productive about the iPad’s workflow.  Yes, you can only have one app on screen at a time, but it keeps you on track.  And it does not present all the distractions that a typical computing environment does.  (“Oh…let me browse that website real quick…or look at that email that just came in…!”)  If you don’t subscribe to multitasking, the iPad presents a great work environment.  And for the others, don’t worry, multitasking is in the new OS 4 coming to iPad this Fall.
  • 3G is the Key – I had the opportunity to use the Wifi iPad for several weeks before the 3G version was released.  I then switched over to the 3G model and all I can say is… I am not going back!  We have been hearing for years how WiFi is going to be everywhere.  Well, I have some news for you.  It is not at the dentist’s office or the client’s building or at the Atlanta Airport (for free).  So, I think it makes all of the difference with the 3G model.  BTW, forget about the 250MB data plan and start with the unlimited plan for $29.99.  (I used up my 250MB plan in 4 days!)
  • Battery Goes and Goes – On any mobile device, battery life is always a concern.  I can attest to the amazing battery life on the iPad.  After using the Wifi version for an entire workday, the battery was still at 48%.  Wow.  I was nervous that the 3G would eat up the battery life dramatically more.  It did not.  The battery life of these devices is great.  So much so that some users are only charging it every other day.

iPad for You?

The iPad may or may not be for you depending on your needs and type of work.  For me, it is a game changer that will only continue to change the way I work.

It will be exciting to see where this type of device goes.  Just as the iPhone changed phones, the iPad promises to forever shift the future of computing devices.

What are your thoughts and experiences with the iPad?

22 thoughts on “How the iPad Replaced My Laptop in 30 Days

  1. I’m very interested to hear what you’re finding Craig, as I’m wondering if the iPad can replace my laptop when it’s released in the UK on 28 May. The only thing I can’t see it managing so well is documents, but perhaps I’ll keep the latptop for those occaisions.

    Ben

  2. I’m very interested to hear what you’re finding Craig, as I’m wondering if the iPad can replace my laptop when it’s released in the UK on 28 May. The only thing I can’t see it managing so well is documents, but perhaps I’ll keep the latptop for those occaisions.

    Ben

  3. Hmmm… they’ve just been put up for presale here in Australia too. Your article certainly lays out some compelling articles. I had thought, nah I’ll just carry my laptop everywhere, it’s the same. But it’s not. People will always look at you strangely if you whip out your laptop to put something in your calendar or to-do list. Not to mention the bootup times you’ve mentioned make it totally impractical.

    My only reluctance is the same as Ben’s, can you tell us whether it’s possible to save word, excel or pdf docs on the iPad? And can you attached documents to emails? If it can do these thing, I’m in!! But I guess I could go to Google docs and they all live in the “cloud”…

    Thanks,
    Jamie

  4. Hmmm… they’ve just been put up for presale here in Australia too. Your article certainly lays out some compelling articles. I had thought, nah I’ll just carry my laptop everywhere, it’s the same. But it’s not. People will always look at you strangely if you whip out your laptop to put something in your calendar or to-do list. Not to mention the bootup times you’ve mentioned make it totally impractical.

    My only reluctance is the same as Ben’s, can you tell us whether it’s possible to save word, excel or pdf docs on the iPad? And can you attached documents to emails? If it can do these thing, I’m in!! But I guess I could go to Google docs and they all live in the “cloud”…

    Thanks,
    Jamie

  5. I think it's clear to most people that you paid a lot of money for something worthless. It's more dignified to just sell it on ebay, than to embarass yourself by explaining how you convinced yourself to love that the machine doesn't multitask, a technology hurdle that was overcome in 1961.

  6. Loaded a few tunes for listening while working. Pandora radio has a very nice player that I use sometimes.

    Look forward to loading some video for my next trip.

    I don't play too many games, but there are some really cool ones that take advantage of the large screen.

  7. Jamie,

    Good points around the doc management. This is definitely an area that needs to grow on the iPad. I realize they did not want to create a “file system” like traditional computers, but the document management is fractured currently.

    There are several great apps to manage docs, such as GoodReader, DropBox, Box.net, and more. The iWork apps keep their own library.

    Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are by far some of the most advanced apps on the device. However, they too have their limitations currently. All will open Office standard docs, but then they want to save in the iWork format.

    Pages is the most advanced, as it will export a Word .doc file and email it. (will also do PDF).

    Keynote and Numbers need to catch up as they will open but then not save in Office format.

    It will be interesting to see where Apple goes with document management on the device.

  8. Great point Ben, see my response to Jamie's comment. The iPad can handle documents, but the “file system” concept does not exist on the iPad. So it will be interesting to see where Apple goes with it.

    Have a feeling we might see some functionality in this area in the upcoming OS 4.0 that will be on iPhones this summer and then the iPad this Fall.

  9. Waiting to get one until version 2….

    Your post, though, makes me want to literally run down to Apple and pick one up right now. My birthday is coming up soon… if I'm lucky my hubby will be reading this blog comment 🙂

  10. Thank you for a good review and insights you've shared about the iPad. This has helped me make my decision – the iPad is for me. Have a nice day!

  11. This strenghtens my belief in the use of an iPad. It is not available in the Netherlands yet, but eventually I will buy one. I already use the Iphone as my main organizing tool, but I want a bigger screen.

    1. that was back in the day when iPad (first generation) came out. Only people that have it now are the ones that grandfathered into the plan

    2. that was back in the day when iPad (first generation) came out. Only people that have it now are the ones that grandfathered into the plan

  12. that was back in the day when iPad (first generation) came out. Only people that have it now are the ones that grandfathered into the plan

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