Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Using an iPad as your primary computer

Harry McCracken has published an excellent article entitled 'How the iPad 2 Became My Favorite Computer'.

The whole article (and the comments) should be read for balance, but for the time-pressed/attention deficit disordered among you here are some highlights...

I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m positive it’s possible – because I’ve been doing it for the past three months, and I’ve been having a really good time.

This hasn’t been one of those experiments-for-the-sake-of-experimentation in which someone temporarily forsakes a PC for another device in order to write about the experience (like, say, this). No, I’ve been using the iPad for my daily activities – running Technologizer, writing for TIME, CNET, and, and more–because I find it to be the preferable tool in multiple respects. I’ve been using it about 80 percent of the time, and using my MacBook Air about 20 percent of the time.

The ZaggFolio [Bluetooth keyboard/case] changed the way I use my iPad. Without the ZaggFolio, I used the iPad mostly for reading and light productivity. I’d happily type brief e-mails on it, but never anything as long as a meaty blog post or article. But Zagg’s no-compromise keyboard made typing every bit as comfy as it is on a notebook. All of a sudden I could write hundreds of words on the iPad. Or thousands of them.

[On the importance of battery life] With the Macbook Air, or almost any other portable computer I’ve ever used, I’m lucky to get three or four hours of life out of a charge, and therefore have to bring my power brick and obsess about plugging in whenever possible. It’s an enormous hassle, and sometimes I simply run out of juice.

With the iPad, I didn’t even bother to bring the power adapter to the IFA show: I worked all day, going online as much as I wanted, without fully draining the battery. I ended up only using the MacBook Air in my hotel room.

My iPad 2 has one other hardware attribute that’s a huge upgrade over the Air: It has AT&T wireless broadband built in.

Another simple joy of using the iPad as a blogging/writing tool: Its utter predictability and simplicity.

When you use a PC/Mac you get dragged down by the responsibilities and obligations of using a computer. Even if you’re very familiar with a program, you need to bob and weave your way around icons and menu items you don’t require at the moment to get to the ones you do need. Programs other than the one you’re using may vie for your attention...

With the iPad, all that goes away. You can devote nearly every second of your time to the task at hand, rather than babysitting a balky computer. I don’t feel like I’m “using an iPad to write.” I’m just writing. It’s a far more tranquil, focused experience than using a PC or Mac.

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