Life with an iPad

There are many great things about being a Macintosh computer consultant, but probably the best is that our clients give me an excuse to buy the latest computer equipment.

Soon after a new product is announced I begin receiving calls about the item. Of course, all sorts of items attach to Macs, so I “need” to buy them as soon as they are released. This is why I find myself in line at the Apple Store each time a new device is released.

I ordered two iPads on the first day they were available for orders. The first was a 32 GB WiFi model. It was delivered on April 3 and it enabled me to quickly learn as much as I could in order to answer client questions.

I made a trip to the National Association of Broadcasters Conference in Las Vegas NV and I used it extensively that week. Being away from home and at the mercy of the convention center, I quickly missed the 3G capabilities that would be coming when my 64 GB 3G version arrived.

Internet access was available through AT&T hotspots, but the service was expensive and required a year-long commitment. There was no other provision for attendees to purchase WiFi access at the convention center.

Our hotel included free WiFi access, but we spent very little time in our room. I would have been lost without my iPhone. After a few days with the iPad, I began to appreciate the possibilities that the AT&T iPad service plans would offer.

I did enjoy taking notes on the iPad during conference sessions, but I still relied on my iPhone to take quick photos of presentation slides. I also enjoyed having a few games, magazines and books available when a session proved boring.

When I returned home, I found that the iPad fit nicely into my technology scheme for day-to-day use. Sometimes I keep my Twitter client open on it. Other times, it is e-mail. I really enjoyed being able to watch tutorial style podcasts on the iPad while I used the software being presented on my MacBook Pro.

When I ordered two iPads, I thought my husband might enjoy using one of them. He immediately decided that he did not want one and suggested that I sell it as soon as the 3G model arrived. After it was around the house for less than a week, he was calling it “our iPad.” Fast forward a week and he was calling it “my iPad.” Less than a week later he wanted to know when my iPad would arrive so that I would leave his alone!

We recently went on MacMania 10, a Mac geek cruise. Out plan was to spend Friday and Saturday in New York before the cruise departed on Sunday. Of course, that was the Friday when the 3G iPad was to be delivered, so we delayed our departure until Saturday morning. That gave me a few hours to transfer data, movies, books, podcasts and applications to the new iPad.

One of the unexpected iTunes features is the ability to transfer settings and accounts from a previous iPad to a one. While this is also available for iPhones, we don’t trade our iPhones around, but I can see that it will be easy to set up the 3G iPad for my husband when he goes on a business trip where the 3G capabilities will be desirable. When he returns, we can easily return the iPad to its former condition.

We rode the Acela Express train to New York. I activated the AT&T 3G service as we waited to board. Since the Acela provides WiFi, we connected to the train’s network with my husband’s iPad while i relied on the 3G service. I was pleasantly surprised that the 3G service was as fast as the train’s WiFi. In fact, in many instances the 3G service was faster.

I have a purse with a large outer pocket and the iPad easily slips into it. So, as we walked around New York, I used the 3G service to navigate using the iPad’s Maps application. I used Yelp, Hear Planet and Google to find restaurants and points of interest. Being a true geek, I did not mind the stares and comments of passersby as I used my newest toy!

Because our cruise was heading for international waters and Bermuda, I set the iPad to Airport mode while we were at sea. I knew that international data rates would quickly put a huge dent in our travel budget. I had purchased a WiFi package for use on the ship and I did use it for email and web surfing. Without a data package, I was unable to use the apps I had enjoyed in New York, but I turned web pages about Bermuda into PDFs and I downloaded various PDFs that I found on the web so that the iPad was a good electronic travel guide.

I really enjoyed the convenience of note-taking on the iPad while I was attending MacMania conference sessions on the ship. It is much lighter and easier to carry than my 17” MacBook Pro. There were a number of USB data sticks that were passed around during some of the sessions. It would have been nice to be able to add those files directly to my iPad, but at this time, that is not possible.

I also enjoyed being able to share my photos on the iPad. I was not able to purchase the iPad Camera Connection Kit before we left on the cruise. That would have been a great addition to my gadget bag!

I have had three of our grandsons and their mom as house guests this past week. The boys are 7, 5 and 2 1/2 and they have used the iPad for many hours. In addition to playing games, they have read books, watched videos and surfed the web with their mom.

Now that we have had our iPads for about 6 weeks, they have found their way into many places in our daily lives. My husband is using his to read lots of books. He is also enjoying reading newspaper sites on the iPad. He usually keeps his iPad in the family room and asks that other users return it to its home beside his chair.

I tend to carry the iPad around as I move from room to room. While I am working in my office on my MacBook Pro right now, I will move down to the basement to my craft workroom later and I will be using the iPad to do an inventory of supplies in Bento. I will also take it shopping with me as I purchase some needed items later today. The recipe I plan to make for dinner is on the web, so the iPad will make its way to the kitchen counter. Later, I will probably use it to read a book while my husband watches a TV show or two.

While the iPad won’t replace my MacBook Pro or iMac, it is a very convenient device to use throughout the day. My other computers can do the same things, but they are not as light, personal and easy to carry as the iPad.

Would I buy the iPad again? Definitely! Will I want the new one next year? Probably -- but I am sure I will have no problem passing this one down to a family member when that day comes. I am excited to see what Apple plans for the next version!

-- Pat

Need help setting up your iPad? Give us a call at Bob LeVitus Consulting! Bob has just finished his iPad for Dummies book and is waiting for it to be printed and I am exploring and learning new ways of integrating into daily life. Tutoring sessions cost $60.00 per hour.


Life Happens

What has happened to my regular blogging??????

The past month has kept me running and running and running.

It all started with an unexpected trip to the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas NV in mid-April. It was quickly followed by the MacMania 10 cruise to Bermuda and then family events began. In the past week we have celebrated the college graduation of our daughter Nicole, the 16th birthday of our granddaughter Kati, and had a visit from Bob and Lisa LeVitus. Add to that a week of caring for three of our grandsons and our daughter, Monique and you can bet that I have been busy. Oh, on top of it all, I have been graced with my almost annual May sinus infection.

I have also been doing a lot of working on and learning about Apple’s new iPad. Look for coming posts on a variety of topics.