Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life without an iPad

It's been two weeks since I sold my iPad in preparation for the arrival of the iPad2. Before the big day (tomorrow), I thought I'd reflect on the last two weeks.

A lot of people have written about how their computing habits changed after getting an iPad, and while these changes are quite noticeable after the first few weeks of owning an iPad, it's tough to really see those subtle changes of usage over time. I must say that I was probably using my iPad more and more the longer I owned it, finding more uses for it and getting more apps for it. Being without the device really gives me an opportunity to reflect on how much I was using it.

My typical day starts with an alarm provided by TuneIn Radio. I have AirPlay configured, so the radio plays out of some speakers nice and loud and it's really easy to wake up to Death Metal Radio at a reasonable volume, not to mention a pleasant accompaniment to my getting ready in the morning.

On my commute to work via bus and metro, I typically browse a few sites, check my work calendar and email, check flipboard and perhaps even get a quick gaming session in. One important thing to note is that I can listen to music on my iPhone while playing games on the iPad. In the last two weeks, I have had to choose between one or the other on my commute. I can check the web on my iPhone, but the experience is entirely different - many web sites offer me a mobile version which is not the experience I want.

At work, I've been quite at a loss without the iPad. I tend to have a lot of meetings and bring it along to take notes or check mail. The iPhone is no replacement for that. Another thing I tend to do at work is use the iPad as a music player while I'm at my desk - I plug in some headphones and I have my entire music library on the device. My plays are scrobbled back to when I sync with my computer in the evening. A lot of stuff I listen to isn't on Spotify, and I cannot fit much music on my iPhone. Being able to quickly check my calendar is much easier on the iPad, as is looking up reference material on the spot.

I've composed several presentations with Keynote and some documents with Pages. I recently worked with a colleague on creating an analysis diagram using Popplet. I've composed some of these blog posts entirely on the iPad. I'm starting to see more and more productivity uses for this device in the real world.

In the evenings, I tend to spend time gaming on the iPad. Gaming on the iPhone is nowhere near as nice (as I've mentioned previously, I've pretty much stopped playing iPhone games now). I also might check facebook (something I haven't done at all in the last two weeks). I also like to watch a fair bit of youtube (I'm addicted to Starcraft 2 replays) and I've had to resort to sitting at the computer to do this instead of laying in bed and watching.

In general, I've also missed the ability to quickly look things up on the web at will - a recurring theme in my common usage scenario. I haven't travelled at all in the last two weeks, but I must mention that in the last half a year I've only travelled with my iPad, leaving the laptop at home, since I can pretty much do anything I need to do with the iPad and it's so much lighter, not to mention the battery life and no need for a heavy charger unit (I carry a miniplug iPod charger).

In the end, although I considered my iPad as primarily a gaming device, I'm surprised at the extensive list of uses it's had that I took for granted. I'm certainly looking forward to tomorrow and hope that I manage to obtain the new one, should it arrive on schedule in Finland and in enough quantity that my preorder is filled.

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