I ordered an iPad the first weekend they were available for pre-order. Due to my heavy travel schedule I opted for the 64G 3G version, meaning I had a six-week wait for the iPad to show up. Originally I thought I would use the iPad as a super kindle. That is, a kindle with web browsing, e-mail, magazines, and books via Apple’s new bookstore. Of course I also planned to watch movies and TV on it.
For sometime now I have been thinking of converting from a PC for work to a MacBook Pro. I have used Apple products at home since the first time I used an Mac SE in the early 80’s. It was the first “portable” computer I used (I actually brought this 17 lb beast with me as carry-on luggage on many flights). I installed Vmware last year on my Mac Pro to try out all the critical PC only applications I use on a daily basis. Late last year I started looking at which version of the MacBook Pro to buy. The plan was to convert to the Mac in Feb 2010. That stalled when it became clear Apple would indeed release a tablet computer. Could the iPad actually replace the laptop? I travel extensively for work and although I am not too concern about the bulk I carry (as long as it fits in my Ogio laptop bag) it would be nice to move from the flip-up PC format, to a tablet format. The question was would the new platform support the computing needs I had while on the road?
I was disappointed that the iPad wouldn’t have Mac OS X on it, but quickly got over it. This did create the concern that it would not be able to replace my laptop. I ordered it anyway now thinking that I would carry both the laptop and the iPad. That is okay since the weight reduction from removing the books and magazines from my laptop bag would easily offset the pound and a half iPad. I also felt that this device would create a computing paradigm shift. One you could only understand by actually using it.
The goal now is to see if I can replace my business PC based laptop with the iPad while traveling. Will I be able to get everything I need to get done on a short or long trip that I want for both work and pleasure? Can I leave my laptop behind when I leave the office and be able to get everything done without compromise? Better yet, can I finally replace Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, calendar and task management?
The search is on for applications that run on the iPad, on the Web and sync to the laptop that will allow me to leave my laptop at the office while I am away. Be that going home for the evening or a six-day business trip. They key here is that I don’t have to manually do anything before leaving for the trip or when I return. That is the iPad must stay in two-way sync all the time.
I spent the 6 weeks after purchasing the iPad to looking for these applications. It has been 2 weeks since I received the iPad, the first week I had it I was on the road with both the laptop and the iPad. I didn’t use the laptop much that week. I am documenting this transition here through a series of postings on how I went from laptop to iPad toting sales professional.
Check back over the next several weeks to read about what applications I am using and how I am using them to turn the iPad into a business productivity platform. How I went from being a Microsoft Office addict to an iPad addict with neither loss of connectivity nor productivity. The first of these posting will be on calendar, contacts, mail and tasks. Of these three key uses, task management was the hardest to find a good solution for. If I can’t easily and effectively manage these on the iPad, it won’t be able to replace the laptop.
I am committed to making this last transition from the 17 lb Mac SE I used to lug around, through the 5 lbs laptop burden with extra batteries to make it through a cross-country flight, to the 1.5 lb iPad.