Learning to work with the iPad

It’s been 2 weeks with the iPad and though I miss my laptop on occasion, my iPad is the superior traveling companion.

Whether it’s the bed, sofa, coffee house, car or pub, the iPad has proven capable and sturdy enough for what I needed. Paired with the iPhone and a camera connection kit, I take more photos now and share them easily.

For long-form writing and editing, my MacBook is still the superior machine but for everything else, I am happy to use my iPad.

The iPad does require a high degree of flexibility and a willingness to experiment with apps until you find what you need. For work, Writing Kit allows me to research and add source material from within the app itself without switching and copy-pasting from Safari.

For blogging, my WordPress blog is served just fine from the elegant Blogsy. Blogsy’s only real letdown is being unable to set categories or tags.

I have yet to really try video editing on the iPad but my brother and significant other both love GarageBand. In five minutes they can make rough song demos and in a pinch, accompany me singing with virtual instruments.

And I was glad to have the iPad when the book I’ve been waiting for, George R R Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, launched worldwide. The Kobo app allowed me to download it in a pinch and read it in bed, with the lights off. I also love being able to subscribe to Esquire and Wired, and I honestly prefer the digital editions of the mags more, thanks to the multimedia extras.

It is an amazing machine and worth the price I paid for it, methinks. Sure, a netbook is cheaper but it isn’t quite as portable. Where games are concerned, I can now play Monopoly and Scrabble using my iPad as a virtual board. Countless games of Monopoly kept me entertained while waiting to board my flight.

For work, play and portability the iPad really is a versatile little machine. For heavy duty editing, writing, gaming and such, desktops or a very high-end laptop still rule. But the iPad handles everything else and has been a wonderful traveling companion.

One niggle: the iPad can’t really multitask when it comes to instant messaging. You can’t run an IM program in the background, which is a tad annoying but a great way to minimise distractions.

Otherwise, my fears of it being a mere toy or expensive paperweight were clearly unfounded.

My essential extras for the iPad:
Good protective yet lightweight case
A stylus (Griffin makes a good one)
Camera connector kit for my iPhone
Extra-long USB wire (MacAlley makes one as long as 6ft)
My Essential Apps: Writing Kit, Soundnote, GarageBand, DropBox, NotesPlus, GoodReeder, Blogsy, Kobo.

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