The iPad Arrives

I worked from home on April 30th to make sure someone (ok….me) was there to receive the iPad. It arrived at 11:15 am and I had to leave it in the box for the next 45 mins while I finished up some work items. Was that really the reason for the delay in opening it or was I afraid I would be disappointed. After all the hype and waiting 6 weeks since placing an order for it to arrive, would I open it and think “is that all it is – a big iPod?” Remember I wanted Mac OS on it, at least before I received it I did.

At noon I activated the iPad and ran a sync that downloaded all of my existing iPhone applications. Ran the update all applications from the app store, which not only updated the iPhone versions of the apps, it also upgraded the apps to the iPad version when available. Wow, what a difference seeing them in full screen. Even the doubling of iPhone format apps made a big difference in usability.

The second wow factor is the speed. The Web browser is very fast. Speedtest revealed my iPad was getting 6.8Mbps over my WiFi connected to a ComCast cable modem. The display of Web pages seemed nearly as speedy as they do on my Mac Pro! Even on AT&T’s network browsing the Web is at an acceptable speed and faster than the iPhone. I received 3.8Mbps when I tested the AT&T network in Virginia.

Next, I configured the connection to our exchange server for mail, contacts, and calendar. This was easy since I already had this configured on my iPhone. I added my personal email accounts and now my iPad could do what my iPhone could do. It was certainly better since I could see messages on a larger screen, which made reading long emails and writing them much easier. I am a touch typist and was finding the keyboard a little tight in landscape mode, but usable. I connected a Bluetooth keyboard to the iPad which works great. It is nice to have a device that doesn’t need a keyboard, but you can add it when it makes sense.

Task Management with Toodledo

Finally, downloaded Toodledo task management application. I loaded a small app on the laptop and set up a website account at Toodledo to sync my outlook contacts to the Web. This allows a bidirectional sync from the laptop to the iPad. I selected Toodledo over the other applications (I tried a bunch of iPhone/iPod and Web-based applications, ToDo was the second runner-up) in this area for several reasons.

1) Two-way sync works well with Outlook
2) Allows me to manage goals and relate tasks to the goals
3) Allows me to created sub-tasks (nested todos)
4) I have used categories in Outlook and these mapped nicely to contexts.
5) The iPad software has a feel very similar to the website that I often use when working on the laptop.

I find the nested to-dos very useful for tasks that have many steps and people involved. When a prospect converts to a customer I need to get a contract in place. The top-level task is “contract signed for Acme Corp”. Then I create sub tasks for each person involved both at the customer and internal to my company. I keep notes on the progress of each sub task so I don’t lose track or miss anything. This process is helpful since I often have several of these in the works at the same time and keeping them straight can be difficult sometimes.

The iPad can now replace the primary tool I use on a daily basis, Outlook. This is certainly a key reason in the iPad becoming a business tool.

In a few days, I will post on multi-calendar support to round out the Outlook discussion.

After setting up just the basics, I wasn’t disappointed. The form factor and speed have made even something as simple as email, tasks, and calendar functions much more usable while on the go.

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Yellowknife, NT Canada