How the iPad 2 Became My Favorite Computer

By  |  Monday, December 5, 2011 at 4:23 am

My iPad 2 and ZaggFolio, in the press room at IFA in Berlin, September 2011.

Can the iPad replace a PC?

Ever since Apple announced its tablet nearly two years ago, the Internet has been awash in discussion of this question. Most of it has had a pretty theoretical feel and has gravitated towards conventional wisdom. A piece by Gotta Be Mobile’s Will Shanklin comes to the typical conclusions:

Whether you can replace your laptop with an iPad is going to depend on what your needs are. In early 2010, casual computer users could arguably replace a laptop with an iPad. Now it’s a no-brainer. When it comes to content consumption, a tablet is lighter, more portable, more comfortable, and more personal.

If part of your life involves creating professional-level content, tablets still have a long way to go before becoming your primary device. They don’t qualify now, and they won’t next year. Customers aren’t used to spending more than $10 for most tablet apps, so those consumer expectations could slow the march in this direction too.

The answer, therefore, hasn’t changed too much in a year. Tablets are moving in a “primary computing” direction, but they aren’t exactly sprinting. Maybe we’ll check back next year to see if the “tablets are for content consumption, notebooks are for content creation” cliche has changed. Right now it’s as true as ever.

I respectfully disagree with Shanklin. I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m positive it’s possible–because I’ve been doing it for the past three months, and I’ve been having a really good time.

This hasn’t been one of those experiments-for-the-sake-of-experimentation in which someone temporarily forsakes a PC for another device in order to write about the experience (like, say, this). No, I’ve been using the iPad for my daily activities–running Technologizer, writing for TIME, CNET, and, and more–because I find it to be the preferable tool in multiple respects. I’ve been using it about 80 percent of the time, and using my MacBook Air about 20 percent of the time. I have no desire to go back.

If this startles you, I understand. It seems to startle most folks who notice I’m doing it. I’m startled myself. Or at least I was at first–at this point, I’ve been doing it long enough that I forget there’s anything unusual about it until someone reminds me.

It all started in August. I read Walt Mossberg’s review of four portable Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad 2 at All Things D and was intrigued–especially by the ZaggFolio, which cleverly builds a truly notebook-like keyboard into an attractive case. So I bought one. The ZaggFolio changed the way I use my iPad, and that changed my life.

Without the ZaggFolio, I used the iPad mostly for reading and light productivity. I’d happily type brief e-mails on it, but never anything as long as a meaty blog post or article. But Zagg’s no-compromise keyboard made typing every bit as comfy as it is on a notebook. All of a sudden I could write hundreds of words on the iPad. Or thousands of them.

(Side note: The ZaggFolio I bought was part of an early production run that was defective–its clasp didn’t shut securely. And after a few weeks, one of its keys fell off. I ended up replacing it with the “Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2,” which puts a similar keyboard in a low-profile tray that doubles as a protector for the iPad 2’s screen. I prefer both of these models to rivals such as the Adonit Writer which don’t match the full-sized, full-travel goodness of Zagg’s designs.)


Blogsy, my go-to iPad blogging app.

Of course, having a nice keyboard for an iPad doesn’t instantly turn it into a pleasing laptop replacement. You’re typing into a radically different set of apps than are available on a notebook. Once I got the ZaggFolio, I had to figure out how to blog, edit photos, and perform other tasks I do every day.

I was just getting started with this challenge when I hopped on a plane to fly to Berlin, where I was attending the IFA electronics show. I took my iPad 2, the ZaggFolio, and my MacBook Air. It was during this trip that the iPad became my primary computing device, even though I was still learning how to be productive with it.

And it was one specific thing about the iPad that made it so useful on the trip: I could use it for ten hours at a pop without worrying about plugging it in.

I can’t overemphasize how important this is to my particular workdays. Even when I’m not traveling, I spend a lot of time bopping around San Francisco and the Bay Area, attending conferences, visiting tech companies, working out of hotel lobbies, and generally having spotty access to power outlets. With the Air, or almost any other portable computer I’ve ever used, I’m lucky to get three or four hours of life out of a charge, and therefore have to bring my power brick and obsess about plugging in whenever possible. It’s an enormous hassle, and sometimes I simply run out of juice.

With the iPad, I didn’t even bother to bring the power adapter to the IFA show: I worked all day, going online as much as I wanted, without fully draining the battery. I ended up only using the MacBook Air in my hotel room.

Beyond the jaw-droppingly good battery life, my iPad 2 has one other hardware attribute that’s a huge upgrade over the Air: It has AT&T wireless broadband built in. There are PCs with embedded wireless, of course, but not Macs. And even though I’ve used both the Air and iPads with Mi-Fi mobile routers in the past, I like the built-in wireless on my particular iPad much, much better than any external connectivity solution. I don’t have to worry about toting another device (or draining my phone’s battery, as I would if I tethered it to the iPad). I don’t have to futz with Wi-Fi hotspots. I’m just online–and it makes me so much more productive that I don’t object a bit to paying AT&T for the service.  (I even happily forked over a stiff fee for international roaming in Berlin and during a later trip I took to Tokyo.)

Okay: The Zagg keyboards are good. The iPad’s battery life is good. Its built-in broadband is good. I quickly discovered yet another simple joy of using the iPad as a blogging/writing tool: Its utter predictability and simplicity.

When you use a Windows PC–and, to a somewhat lesser extent, a Mac–you get dragged down by the responsibilities and obligations of using a computer. Even if you’re very familiar with a program, you need to bob and weave your way around icons and menu items you don’t require at the moment to get to the ones you do need. Programs other than the one you’re using may vie for your attention, possibly alerting you, for instance, that they need to be updated. You might have to rummage around in folders to find documents. When you multitask between apps, you need to juggle their windows, maximizing or minimizing them as you go. If a program stalls, you’ll likely need to kill it manually.

With the iPad, all that goes away. You can devote nearly every second of your time to the task at hand, rather than babysitting a balky computer. I don’t feel like I’m “using an iPad to write.” I’m just writing. It’s a far more tranquil, focused experience than using a PC or Mac. It’s also easier to dive in, do a bit of work as time allows, then dive out–especially since the iPad’s instant-on feature is more reliably instant than the alleged instant-on capabilities of traditional computers.


TouchDraw, a powerful iPad drawing app. (I didn't draw the hourglass in it--I imported it, and composited it with text.)

Those facts helps make up for one of the challenges of using the iPad for productivity: Many tasks are at least a bit slower or more unwieldy than with a computer, and some things that can be done with one program on a Windows PC or a Mac require several of them on the iPad. When I started using the iPad as my primary device, for example, I thought that Photoshop would be simply irreplaceable. Then I discovered that I could do about 85% of the things I do with Photoshop by using several iPad apps together as an ad-hoc graphics suite, including PhotoForge2, TouchDraw, and others.  Photoshop remains the more powerful tool, and on the iPad, I only have access to the fonts that Apple provides. But I can apply fancy effects, layer together multiple images into a collage, and dress up type on the iPad.

(Wait, how can you match the precision of a mouse and the efficiency of a big-screen display with the iPad’s touch interface and dinky screen? Well…you can’t. But for most of my day-to-day needs I can come closer than I would have expected before I gave it a shot.)

As for writing and editing, I usually use Apple’s own Pages when I’m creating a manuscript that someone is going to expect to get as a Word document, such as stories for TIME’s dead-tree version. Pages has maybe five percent of the features of Microsoft Word, and for the type of writing I usually do…that’s a virtue! It makes it easier to concentrate: All I really need is a white screen and a word count. (I would like Find/Replace, though.) [UPDATE: Search and replace is there–it’s just a bit hidden, and I didn’t see it. One less reason to be hesitant about the iPad.]

When I’m blogging at Technologizer, I use an excellent app called Blogsy, which I prefer to the official WordPress app for iOS. (I’d be even happier if I could just use full-blown WordPress in Safari, but it doesn’t quite work.) For CNET blog posts, I use CNET’s proprietary content-management system, which runs reasonably well in Safari.

Other iPad productivity tools I use every day include the splendid mobile-browser version of Gmail and the iOS versions of the IMO.IM instant messenger and HootSuite Twitter client. I use other apps from time to time and am frequently discovering new ones; most iPad apps cost only a few dollars, so you can explore the wonders of the App Store without blowing much money.

It’s true that there are things that don’t work very well on the iPad. (One of them, inexplicably, is Google+–its iOS app is dreadful, and I have trouble with both the mobile-browser and desktop-browser versions.) There are also a few things I don’t do at all on the tablet, such as manage my WordPress installation. (For that, I run Apache, MySQL, and PHP on the MacBook Air.) But I can get most of the jobs I tackle in a normal day done–and the longer I do this, the more efficient I get at it.

At first, when I traveled out of town, I’d bring the iPad and the MacBook Air but use the iPad most of the time. Now I’ve started bringing only the iPad, unless I have specific reason to think I’ll need a full-blown computer. When I went to Chicago on a business trip last month equipped only with the tablet, it was the first time in two decades that I’d boarded an airplane for work purposes without a laptop on hand.

So would I recommend that everyone ditch their computers in favor of iPads? No, not at all.

All of this works wonderfully well for me, but that’s because of my particular circumstances: It lets me work anywhere and everywhere, without having to think about my battery or remember to bring along much in the way of cables and accessories. (I do usually tote my iPad in a little bag that has room for Apple’s SD card adapter for transferring photos from a digital camera, although I’m just as likely to shoot photos with my iPhone and e-mail them to the iPad.) Even with the added bulk of a Zagg keyboard, the iPad is the smoothest, least cumbersome mobile computing device I’ve ever used, and I rarely leave the house without it.

PhotoForge2, a neat iPad photo editor with a clever interface.

When I’m at home, however, I’m less concerned with power management and portability. Oftentimes, I use my MacBook Air instead of the iPad. But not always–really, unless I have a specific need for a Mac app, I generally grab whatever’s handiest, and don’t give it much thought.

I know I’m still unusual. When I’m out and about and run into my fellow bloggers–most of who have workdays at least roughly similar to mine–they’re intrigued by my iPad-and-Zagg set-up. They ask questions. But I don’t think I’ve convinced any of them to join me. Yet.

Still, I don’t think I’m a wacko. What I’m doing is a viable option today, and it’s only going to get more appealing as tablet apps get more mature. (I’ve seen noticeable improvement to programs such as Blogsy in just the 90 days I’ve been doing this.)

Based on my first three months as a mostly-iPad person, I’m convinced that I’ve arrived in the future of computing–or a rough approximation thereof–a little ahead of schedule. I’m glad I’m here, and I bet I have lots and lots of company soon enough.


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167 Comments For This Post

  1. HybridWeb Says:

    So, interesting.

    I'm a programmer type. I got my start in the original microcomputer days. I've managed to make a career out of a passion.

    I want tablets to succeed, if for no other reason than the industry needs to be shaken out of its slumber.

    Bring it on! Now to figure out how to program from one of the tablets (hint: don't — figure out how to program from the cloud… VS Cloud edition…. hmmmmm)

  2. Jared Says:

    I ran into a detailed article a couple of months ago about iPad programming from the cloud. Check it out:

  3. radium56 Says:

    Maybe have a look at this: "… Textastic is an advanced code editor for iPad with rich support for syntax highlighting, (S)FTP and Dropbox."

  4. deasystems Says:

    You may find the experience of this programmer interesting:

  5. Bernie Marx Says:

    Tablets are for children, not pros. Recently It ruined my expectations when I needed it most, when traveling overseas and having to update CMS´s. Impossible to make any significant professional task [High-end photo editing, SSL, FTP, etc, etc…]. Infuriating experience.

  6. Jacques Perrault Says:

    I think the word phrase "professional task" needs to really be unpacked. Bernie's "professional task" involves high-end photo editing, SSL, FTP, and so forth which he claims cannot be done on the iPad. Fine. My "professional taks" primarily involves writing since I'm a scholar. While Bernie's "professional task" cannot be fulfilled on the iPad, he says, my "professional tasks" can be.

    My urge to both technology pundits and technology commentators is to unpack the phrase "professional task" before going further with whether or not such and such device is "meant for professionals". What I am trying to argue here is that "professional task" is not a monolithic activity that is the same for everyone. Some devices are more suitable for "professional tasks" of one kind while others are more suited for other kinds of "professional tasks".

    Here's an analogy to push the very obvious point further: as a sociologist, I use a digital voice recorder for all kinds of "professional tasks". However, no programmer who needs to do some program code is going to use a digital voice recorder for his/her "professional task" of coding. Different devices meets different "professional task". So WHY on earth would people simply generalise the activity called "professional task" and assume that what they do for their profession is what everyone else must be then obviously doing or need to do?

    I hope I've gotten this very obvious point across. I hope the likes of Bernie are not going to repeat again that "The iPad is not meant for professional tasks." Well, it may not be for you, but it is for me. Or, are you mocking what I do for my profession?


  7. Luis Says:

    Don't you know? Any person that has a different job than Bernie is a "child", not a true adult professional. I also resent that kind of silly attitude that is so common amongst haters in general (not just the apple-hating variety).

  8. Gordon Says:

    I feel the same way about the term "content creation."

  9. Bryan Says:

    Although I've never had to do high end photo editing on my iPad – I can do FTP, SSH, SFTP, edit files remotely, and do a variety of other system and programming-based tasks. I've done lots of tasks associated to project management and software development on it — in a professional environment. Maybe a few better apps need to be downloaded.

  10. Karen Says:

    Yes, FTP is ok. High end photo editing is pretty good with filterstorm. Sure it's not photoshop but it costs $900 less! I've always used portable devices for work as mine is largely writing too.

  11. Sid Says:

    Ok, obviously an iPad is great for "professional" bloggers and writers. You know what else is? A pen and paper. I'm siding with Bernie on what I think was his point, that a lot of serious work on computers these days requires intensive processor power, not just easy apps.

  12. Steve Says:

    Because it's so much easier to get what you wrote on paper onto disk without extra hardware, isn't it?

  13. Space Gorilla Says:

    Bernie, the computer you're using today was considered a toy for children not that long ago. The 'for children, not pros' is a typical argument put forth by those afraid of change. Good luck with the rut you're stuck in.

  14. Anon Says:

    Tablets are great when all you have to do is word processing with little to no research involved. Give me a full sized keyboard and the real estate dual LCD’s brings any day for complex tasks. There’s a reason LCD’s are getting BIGGER.

  15. Jacques Perrault Says:

    "with little to no research involved". Well, research doesnt only occur on the web. Research occurs in books, journal articles, primary fieldwork, interviews, etc. As a scholar, most of my research is actually NOT spent on the screen but is spent talking, interviewing, observing, participating.

    I wish that technology commentators and pundits would get out of their heads that "research" only means firing up Google and typing in keywords. Yes, that is research, but it is not the only activity involved in research. In some professions, that type of research is not even 5% of the research work done.

  16. Geek Says:

    In what age are you living in? Most of scientific journals have online or PDF versions. Research by talking, interving, observing? So you gather data but it's only part of the research and if not I would like to work in your scientific field because it seems very easy. Asus Transformer Primer – 14-15h of battery with keyboard. And yes, you can use it for simple writing too :)

  17. Ian Betteridge Says:

    That would be a machine that isn't actually shipping yet, yes? :)

  18. mark212 Says:

    he's a sociologist, which means he spends a lot more time with actual "people" than you seem to. (Google this strange word "people" if you need additional background.)

    And thanks, too, for proving Prof. Perrault's point up above wherein he reminds us that different professionals have widely varying tasks to perform and the best tool for the job is not always a full-scale laptop.

    Why is it that this fairly obvious statement, by both Perrault and the author of the original post, seems to be engendering such visceral push-back?

  19. scottgcov Says:

    "Why is it that this–statement–seems to be engendering such visceral push-back?" Fear and discomfort. These are the same people that continue to complain that Windows *s Metro looks stupid and is cumbersome on their PC. They don't want to make the connection that mobile devices will be taking a larger piece of the PC pie than laptops and desktops.

    I see this in my line of work. We are discouraged from supporting an end users tablet or smartphone. We only support "real" operating systems. The problem with this line of thinking is that more and more people are doing more and more things on mobile systems…which tend to run (i assume my superiors feel) "fake" OS.

    Rather than help customers do what they want, we are expected to say 'sorry, that's not something we can help you with. Bye bye". This frustrates the customers, and reduces the end user enjoyment of our products.

    Or, to make a long story short: Its stupid and extremely short sighted.

    if you're in IT and work with customers as much as code, then you know: mobile devices are increasing in use. People like them, they use them, and they want to use them to more.

  20. scotslawstudent Says:

    Sociologists don't speak to one person and then write a paper while listening to the recorded interview on tape. They speak to hundreds of people, gather highly powered statistical data and then analyse it to draw general conclusions about groups of people as a whole.

  21. Frank E. Loran Says:

    To second this notion, my sister is an anthropologist and the Ipad works great for her in the field because of battery life. I create and maintain E Stores, and there is no way that I can use a tablet for my work because I need two large screens. I find that tablets are designed for people that work on the run and in weird places and not for people that are stationary and do complex work. i have an I Pad and it collects dust or grimy finger prints from my daughter, but only because the majority of my time is on desktops. Tablets are here to stay.

  22. Jake Wordin Says:

    There was a day when those E Stores were created and maintained on one screen. One 800×600 screen.

  23. Addicted Says:

    That makes sense though. The advantage of the iPad is battery life and portability. There is also the focus and simplicity created by the 1app at a time functionality but that can be simulated using full screen mode.

    If your work does not require these benefits, you are better off with a stationery desktop which gives you other benefits.

  24. Ian Betteridge Says:

    There's actually a really great little application for the iPad called WritingKit which not only gives you a pretty complete writing environment (using Markdown), but also includes tools to let you research at the same time, including quick access to Google, Instapaper and more.

    And as to your point about LCDs getting bigger: Remember that people are gravitating away from desktop computers and monitors entirely, towards just using laptops (the majority of PCs sold are laptops, now). I know a lot of people who never use anything bigger than 13in, for anything.

  25. Anon Says:

    Really? If LCDs are getting bigger why are is the # of pixels going down? How many 1920×1200 displays do you see now vs 1920×1080? Compare that to 2 years ago? How long have we been at 1920 horizontal? Compare that to the increase in pixels over the last 30 years? Thanks to HDTV, displays are stagnant now.

  26. Tom Womack Says:

    You're missing the big displays with 2560×1440 and 2560×1600 ; we were at 1920 horizontal for a while, but the Apple 30" Cinema Display at 2560x has been around since 2004. It's a bit expensive, but monitors have always been the bit of the computer system that it's worth spending real money on.

    And there are at least vaguely plausible rumours of 2048×1536 and 2880×1800 panels in 2012-2013 in laptop form factors.

  27. Sir Fatty Says:

    *yawn* I guess your target audience at Time is the 50+ crowd? OTOH, you made some new friends at Slashdot…

  28. john Says:

    I think the last big gap with the iPad is the difficulty of uploading and downloading files in a coherent way. How do you accomplish these tasks?

  29. Jacques Perrault Says:

    Depending on what you need to do, this is quite easy or it could be impossible. It mostly depends on the apps you use. For example, I use PDF Expert and Pages. PDF Expert automatically uploads/downloads files from various WebDAV servers including Dropbox, Sugarsync, and other FTP servers. Pages can send documents to iCloud or or you can email yourself the file.

    In a way, the conceptual framework of how to interact with digital devices is a bit different on the iPad than it is on a desktop computer. If you bring your conceptual frameworks of work management from the desktop to the iPad, you'll likely encounter a roadblock.

  30. Harry McCracken Says:

    It’s an issue. Blogsy handles it for WordPress. For my Cnet post, I developed a workaround, involving temporarily uploading them to Picasa (Cnet’s content-management system then sucks them in).

  31. Geek Says:

    For uploading various types of data, Android is so much useful that iOS because of the way the different apps can "talk to each other". There is no problem like with iOS apps if they for exmaple doesn't support Dropbox. In Android ecosystem there is no such term as if "app doesn't support Dropbox"

  32. Harry McCracken Says:

    Interesting. I may try this experiment with an Android tablet at some point.

  33. Ian Betteridge Says:

    Don't forget that apps in iOS can talk to each other too. For example, I can send a PDF from GoodReader (a great reading app) to anything else that supports PDF. What you can't do, that you can in Android, is send a file which an app can't read – so you can't, for example, send something from GoodReader to an FTP client.

    (Although, thinking about it, I think GoodReader supports FTP anyway :) )

  34. Harry McCracken Says:

    I didn’t get into this in the post–there are so many side notes I didn’t cover that I might do a sequel–but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the degree to which it’s possible to get iOS apps to work with each other, even with Apple’s sandboxing and other hardcore limitations on how much apps can interact.

  35. kiltbear Says:

    The "price you are paying" by this traditionally unconventional way of sharing data on iOS devices, is a device that can't get viruses, which in turn makes the device all that much more reliable and stable.

  36. mark212 Says:

    I seem to accomplish a lot with Dropbox and Goodreader, but TMTOWTDI …

  37. deasystems Says:

    Apps like Air Sharing, Dropbox,, and Screens should provide all the coherent uploading and downloading capabilities you seek. Check them out.

  38. Olivier Says:

    I'd go the other way: look for a laptop with everything I need (which, if I'm right, is 3 or 4G, 10hrs battery, and small size), and replace both iDevices with that.
    Apple is nice and all, but they have huge holes in their offerings. No reason to buy 2 gizmos when one from another brand would do.

  39. j mitchell Says:

    I understand your sentiment, but I don't know which device does what you describe…I think there are definitely merits to the author's position the bulk of which are dramatically simplified usage + long battery life. I think that the "how do I download/upload files" question will be moot upon further app integration with iCloud and other cloud services on other tablet/smartphone devices. I do think that the tablet/smartphone revolution seriously threatens the dominance of desktop/laptops as primary personal computers. Indeed, I've heard it said that the iPad embodies the personal computing device that Steve Jobs wanted to create when he first began in the 80s.

  40. Stephen Kellett Says:

    Got to admit I wonder what Mac Book Air you are using? At Business of Software and MicroConf all I kept hearing about was the 10 hour life of the Mac Book Air. And for PCs, you have the ASUS Ultrabook with a similar spec to a Mac Book Air. I'd rather have one device that has screen and keyboard than carry multiple devices. Also an ASUS EeePad Transformer with the keyboard option gives a tablet, a first class keyboard and 16 hours of battery life. I've got one. Its great, but I'd rather use my desktop machines for any serious work.

  41. Harry McCracken Says:

    I have a 13″ MacBook Air. Apple doesn’t claim 10 hours of battery life for it in the first place, and I get far less life out of it than the figure it does claim. But I find that the iPad delivers on the 10-hour claim. Your mileage may vary…

    I haven’t used the Asus Transformer but find it intriguing.

  42. Jamie Norman Says:

    Olivier is entirely correct, the above article has convinced me that if I need 10 hours battery life, then I purchase a spare battery. WiFi hotspots are pretty much available anywhere that I'm likely to be, but if not, I can use a dongle. On the weight and size issue; I'm sorry, but that doesn't add up as a laptop has mass that enables it to be a stable article on my 'lap-top' for typing/operating.

  43. Harry McCracken Says:

    I used to carry an external battery–even with it, I didn’t get to ten hours of battery life. And while Wi-Fi is widespread, it’s not everywhere, it’s not always reliable, and it’s not always free–at least around here.

  44. Jasper Nuyens Says:

    So the conclusion is… that laptops should get better batteries and a simcard slot. Case closed…

  45. Harry McCracken Says:

    Naw, there are things I like about the iPad beyond the battery and the SIM card. I spend way more time futzing with a laptop, no matter what the OS. With the iPad I spend less time fiddling and more time just getting work done.

  46. Jacques Perrault Says:

    I agree with Harry that when on the iPad, I seem to spend more time doing the task I want on hand. Partly it's because the UI interface of the iPad doesn't get in the way. In fact, that might be the primary reason!

  47. DavidO Says:

    Yes! My experience exactly. It is easier to do real work in a "focus mode" on the iPad. Surfing the web is exceptional. (When I need to see a craptastic ad in flash or some little flash add on on some site I can use Chrome on the laptop– not seeing those things at other times is an advantage.)

  48. John Says:

    I have an iPad 2, an MBA 13, and a ThinkPad X220, and I find myself using the latter two more for work (primarily word processing, light to medium spreadsheets, web, and email). Haha, from your article/the comments on here, it seems getting work done seems to translate into spending time trying to make your iPad fulfill the functions of a laptop hardware- and software-wise. And regarding the comment about spending less time fiddling around, be honest about one simple example (out of many, from external keyboard to needing some sort of cover to no file management system to no hardware expandability) — it can actually be a hassle to highlight and copy/cut text on the iPad (when used without an extra keyboard attachment) in comparison to a laptop. Tap tap oops cursor's in the wrong place tap tap drag oops too much highlighted tap tap oops tapped too lightly for the dot to show up tap tap tap…

  49. R Kuperson Says:

    I support your choice 100%. I've been a sotware engineer for 25 years so I'm not generally an early adopter, but I can spot a winning solution a mile away. My quad-core macbook, sporting 4 O/S's (using Parallels) is now permanetly docked on my desk. I do ALL non-development tasks on my Zagg-equipped iPad. Even though it's a bulkier model 1, it's nothing short of a joy to use for lnon-dev tasks over the ball and chain notebook.

  50. R Kuperson Says:

    Forgot to mention thwt without apps like Filer, DocsToGo and iSSH, I couldn't have made the transition. So it's really e iPad, Zagg and apps combined thwt made it possible.

  51. Jacques Perrault Says:

    That's a great observation and I much appreciate it. It's really the combination of the hardware and software that makes certain tasks possible on the iPad. Without one or the other, some tasks are impossible to do.

    As a scholar, I don't typically use my computer or iDevice for "research". I'm not in the kind of discipline that uses secondary research that much. However, in the process of reading and writing, I do use my computer and iDevice (and of course paper books). The combination of Pages, Numbers, PDF Expert, Good Reader, and a few iPad-only dictionaries have enabled me to do some of my draft writing on the iPad.

    However, I still cannot make the final paper on the iPad because I need to use bibliography management tools that integrate with a word processor and currently that combination of software does not exist for the iPad.

  52. Kevin Says:

    How often do you have the keyboard attached? When you do that, it's less like an ipad and more like a netbook/laptop. Is it more convenient to carry an ipad and a keyboard around than a laptop?

  53. Harry McCracken Says:

    I usually take the keyboard–which is very slim and light–but even with it, it’s smaller and lighter than a laptop. And the real-world ten-hour battery life still beats any laptop I’ve used (including ones that claim to get more than ten hours of battery life).

  54. Jacques Perrault Says:

    Depending on your work tasks, yes, doing that CAN be easier than carrying laptop.

    Take my case for example, my iPad is now a great device for reading PDF books. Many of the books I read are available on PDF, some of which I've scanned myself. When reading, I don't use the keyboard, but when typing obviously I need the keyboard. The iPad can be a great reading device and a great word processor device. The laptop is not a great reading device, largely because of 1) the way the input works there is no touch-screen method, and 2) the keyboard gets in the way.

    So yes, depending on what you need to do, the iPad CAN be a better combination for some work tasks than a laptop.

  55. kiltbear Says:

    The other big plus, is that you can lift the iPad out of it's keyboard and just consume or do casual creation, and email response. It is really tough to lie back on the couch and read all my news feeds, keep up on my readability list, or read a kindle book on my 11" MBAir, and impossible with my 27" iMac.

    That said, I'm sitting in a chair writing this on the MBAir.

    Having the iPhone, iPad 2, MBAir 11", and 27" iMac, each one does different tasks particularly well.

    What is amazing about this conversation, is that so many of the "walls" that people are running into can be solved with some new software. It's not a limit of the device, but a reflection of a maturing software market.

    When I get really stuck and all I have is my iPad with me, using iTap Remote Desktop to a PC or iTap VNC to a mac, while a little kludgey, gets me out of those tough fixes.

    BTW, I'm a unix sysadmin who spends most of his work time at a terminal prompt.

  56. sam Says:

    Surely using a bluetooth keyboard on a plane would be in violation of the FAA regulations about using radio transmitters in flight?

  57. jmitchell Says:

    i don't think it is an issue once electronic gadgets are "allowed" at 10k feet, etc. In-flight wifi service seems to pass muster.

  58. cray Says:

    Lots of people use bluetooth headphones on the plane so I'm guessing it is okay to use keyboards too.

  59. Won Says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble but Shanklin is right on the money. Tablets are very poor content creation devices. By the way, when you add a keyboard to your tablet, you essentially have a very poor touchscreen netbook. It costs more and does less than an actual netbook, so really, what are you trying to prove by your example.

    For business users, try working on complex spreadsheets or making useful presentations on a tablet. For students try writing research papers, most research material is now digital (you're bound to have fun swiping the screen flipping between your word processor and your source content). Don't even get me started on more technical fields such as engineering and design where you will likely need multiple large monitors with precision input devices.

  60. geognerd Says:

    I completely agree with you. Ironically, I wrote on my blog last night about how tablets are only good for light content consumption, and not very good for content creation. My main beef was the lack of keyboard, which Harry has dealt with. I know others who have a similar setup. But iPad + keyboard = less than a netbook. You can bounce between apps and browser tabs on an iPad, but not as well as you can on a full-blown computer. I am also unsure of how one would effectively manage files and documents. Everything either has to go into the cloud or be synched somehow.

    I'm sure there are others using the iPad as their primary computing device, but I think more of them are going to run into barriers as they try to do more with their iPad than it was designed to do. They'll return to laptops.

  61. Harry McCracken Says:

    I'm not claiming that iPad/keyboard setup is good for everything, I don't insist that everybody agrees with me. But I do know that this works for me. I have laptops here; I have a netbook here. I could use 'em at any point, and sometimes do–but more often, I choose the iP. And I get my work done quickly with it.

  62. Jacques Perrault Says:

    Again, this depends on what tasks you need done. Just like you wouldn't use a digital voice recorder to write some code, but you would use a digital voice recorder to record interviews and various field observations, you also wouldn't use an iPad for certain tasks but you would for others.

    Just don't think that because the iPad combination doesn't work for your tasks that you should then in one scathing wipe declare it a "poor content creator". After all, I do use my iPad to create content, just not the kind of content YOU want.

  63. geognerd Says:

    @Jacques & Harry – I think this is an interesting topic because the iPad flies in the face of what we have been used to for the past 30 years of computing. The iPad sort of redefines what a computer is. It changes how you use a computer, and that's why there are comments of disagreement. Everyone uses their computer differently. For the way I work and play, iPad won't cut it. But there are many other people who are able to get along with it just fine.

  64. deasystems Says:

    The author was talking about his use of an iPad, not a "tablet."

  65. His Shadow Says:

    Sorry to burst YOUR bubble but you should probably read the article, and then some of the earlier comments. All you've penned is another "your work isn't the same as my work so your work isn't work" screed. Wake up, for Odin's sake. Did the article state that an iPad could replace all other devices? Did Harry declare all forms of "work" suitable for the iPad?

    Give it a rest.

  66. John Says:

    So with that you get a keyboard, but still no mouse options?

  67. @khiddy Says:

    Why would you need a mouse, when you can touch the screen to activate buttons, move the cursor, etc.?

  68. On Request Says:

    I work for a living (programmer) so I need something that supports tools. Don't talk rot about doing real work on a tablet.

  69. Harry McCracken Says:

    Didn’t claim that *all* real work was well-suited to an iPad, just most of mine. In fact, I pointed out that I do Web development on my MacBook Air.

  70. deasystems Says:

    Start here:

    That programmer talks rot about using the iPad for professional programming. You may find it enlightening.

  71. His Shadow Says:

    And here we go again. Would it be that hard to read the article? Or did you just do a search for "iPad" and cut and paste the usual obtuse blither into the comments section?

  72. Chris Says:

    I work for a living (professor) so I can track grades, create lesson plans, build and deliver presentations, send and receive emails, create documents, read periodicals and journal articles, and generally perform all of my other computer related tasks from an iPad. It also gave us smartboard functionality at a fraction of the cost for each of our classrooms… Oops. Sorry. I'm not a programmer. I guess I DON'T work for a living.

  73. Why Says:

    I always wonder why some people have to be so stupid?

  74. Charlie Says:

    If nothing else the screen size is a deal breaker for anything more than a few minutes of actual "productive" work. Perhaps a 16" tablet would make the tablet more useful? I tried using the eee pad transformer for a month. After a few days it turned out to be nothing more than a toy so I added the keyboard, which actually made it useful. Loved the battery life but always found myself moving to a laptop for the added screen real estate.

    I enjoyed reading the article, but respectfully disagree with your conclusions, at least for my needs.

  75. deasystems Says:

    @Charlie: "I tried using the eee pad transformer for a month. After a few days it turned out to be nothing more than a toy"

    True, but this article was about the iPad.

  76. Charlie Says:

    @deasystems: I really don't see much of a difference between the Android and iPad. 2 of my children have iPad2 tablets which results in ready availability but the problem remains the same: small screen become mighty annoying. My daily worker is a 28" desktop to go with a 17.3" laptop (and switching to the laptop is hard). A glance at my system will regularly see a couple dozen programs open – screen real estate is necessary. For an individual who performs a task, moves to the next, etc. the tablet may be adequate.

  77. John Says:

    I also tried the "transformer" variety of tablets. They didn't work for me either. I think this it was they were based on a version of Windows which was wholly unsuited to the device and they clumsy and slow.

    I have an iPad (1). I use it as my device of choice for much of my work. This involves lots of reading, lots of email, some document creation (i typically use Pages and the soft keyboard), loads of notes (I use Evernote).

    I have two desktops, a netbook and a full sized (15") notebook so it isn't like I don't have a choice. I find that I pick up the iPad almost instinctively – it's on instantly, it always has power, the apps are quick and easy to use. When I head to one of the other devices it's invariably because there is something specific that I want to use it for. Funny thing is that is happening less and less.

  78. Dr. Spellwell Says:

    You misspelled the word "grammar" while complaining about typos. -_-

  79. llewdis Says:

    Hmm I just took a working vacation for Thanksgiving and left my macbook air at home and took my new Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus. I don't have a bluetooth keyboard for this, but i was able to work remotely including using SSH and iTap RDP to get onto servers for administration. Email is a snap using the built-in email app for exchange and Gmail for personal mail (granted I wasn't writing novels). I will now be leaving my macbook air at home when i travel (security at the airport was a breeze with the tablet).

  80. Jacques Perrault Says:

    Indeed, for many things a tablet is just fine. People get too worked up about the idea of "content creation" when they think only their type of "content creation" is what only should be defined as legitimate "content creation". I don't code for a living and I don't often make slideshow presentations. But I do use my iPad to create "content".

  81. Shaun Says:

    Wooosh! That was on porpoise. Haven't you ever noticed comments on the interwebs complaining about bad grammar use this technique to made a point?

  82. PaulD Says:

    It would have made more sense to misspell "typo."

  83. Bill Maslen Says:

    As a writer/translator, I have to say that I find the iPad an excellent content creation platform, above all for text. It can't possibly compare with a multi-monitor setup (which is what I have on my desk), but there are a number of big plus points: zero startup time, wide range of research-oriented apps (including good dictionaries/thesauri), excellent authoring apps (including Apple's own Numbers, which is, in many ways, superior to Pages when you're putting together a complex document with notes/comments etc.), and much more flexibility than many people realize (apps like ReaddleDocs, Notebooks and Save2PDF make working with, searching through and saving various reference sources, including web pages, very easy – they also allow you to open documents in a wide variety of other apps). No, of course an iPad can't replace a "high-end" setup. But it can certainly enhance your working environment and practices, not least because you can take it anywhere and work with it anywhere. Oh, and did I mention drawing/diagrams? Very easy on the iPad – especially for us amateurs – and also very easy to transfer to other apps thanks to the shared Photos repository. I've created a number of presentations and infographics on the iPad which have achieved their intended purpose in a surprisingly elegant way. Let's face it, most PowerPoint users aren't exactly producing works of art! With a bit of thought and imagination – required on any computer platform – you can use your iPad to produce some very good-looking results using KeyNote, iDesk or any number of other tools (OmniGraffle appears to be a top-pop app with many professional designers – on the iPad as well as the Mac – but I'm just as happier with much cheaper tools!).

  84. Harry McCracken Says:

    I’m equally capable of making typos (and, eventually, fixing them) on any device…and while I don’t make any fewer of them on the iPad, I also don’t think I make any more of them, at least when I’m using the external keyboard.

  85. Shaun Says:

    My point was simply that using a laptop with proper word processing software will spot and fix mistakes much faster and easier than an iPad. I was not trying to troll, etc. Have you noticed any increase in time or workload from corrections while using the iPad?

  86. Harry McCracken Says:

    Got it, but I actually made the typos on my MacBook Air. My problem is writing in the wee hours, not the device I’m writing on.

  87. David Nelson Says:

    To those commentors re not being able to do 'real work' (programmer) or the difficulties business users with complex spreadsheets will have, or students writing research papers. Did you read the article? Or are you just spoiling for a fight? It was pretty clear from the article that going iPad only at this time isn't going to work for a lot of people and even amongst bloggers, as Harry says, "I know I’m still unusual" for going iPad most of the time.

    I'd agree with pretty much most of what Harry's said here. I'm journalist and have begun filing copy when out and about from the iPad for a lot of the reasons Harry states. It turns straight on, simple word processing is fast and easy and with the data connection you can send it from anywhere. When covering evening events in Madrid, Spain there often isn't wi-fi available.

    My newspaper provide us with netbooks with 3G connectivity, but after some appalling experiences (several minutes to boot up, more several minutes to log on to the data connection, and a pretty crappy keyboard and mouse) I started taking the iPad, and haven't looked back. Long life battery and extremely low weight are just extra advantages.

    Agreed that at the moment the iPad isn't for video editing, heavy duty programming or lots of other things. But I don't think the article was saying it was…

  88. Jacques Perrault Says:

    Good points.

    A good work solution for me is using the iPad in the field or when at the library. Then, when I'm back home or at the hotel, I touch up the documents using my laptop. In the field, the iPad can be the dream work machine.

  89. Bret Says:

    So really what you want isn't a tablet per se. What you've created is an ultra portable laptop with a extra long battery life and a simplified interface for launching / switching applications…

  90. Harry McCracken Says:

    Exactly. (Although I can turn it into a tablet in a jiffy, too, and often do.)

  91. geognerd Says:

    This is an interesting point. While the iPad isn't cheap, the combo you have created would still come out cheaper than a ultraportable laptop with a long battery life. I imagine Samsung, HP, et al would charge an arm and a leg for such a thing.

    Your setup is starting to make more sense to me. Instant-on, 3G connectivity, battery life. If it works for you, then it is a good solution.

  92. Dan Says:

    What's the total you've spent on apps and hardware accessories to turn the iPad into your primary work computer?

  93. Damon Says:

    Goog for you! I wish my work would allow me to follow the same route.
    Don't hate, appreciate.

  94. Jason Says:

    (everyone in this comment forum)
    "Graaaaahhh. I have a boring job that requires spreadsheets and I need to use a boring, ugly Windows computer to do it and that is why your argument is invalid!! Resist change!! Even though it was just a friendly article that was just about how this is a cool new way to do things."

    I'm with ya on the tablet for 80% of what I do. Desktop for video and photo editing. Tablet for everything else.

    Sent from an iPad.

  95. dggdgfd Says:

    and the other half of people in this comment area are just manchildren trying to justify that their expensive toy purchase is actually useful.

    I mean look at that photo at the top of the article, it's beyond retarded. They just turned the tablet into a worse laptop.

  96. Harry McCracken Says:

    That’s right! Anything that doesn’t happen to appeal to you is beyond retarded. Anyone who doesn’t like the same things you like is a manchild.

  97. Neil Weinstock Says:

    I'm always fascinated by the replies to articles like this, particularly from indignant commenters who insist that the author's work requirements aren't really "professional" like theirs, and therefore the iPad *is* a toy.

    The title of the article is "How the iPad 2 Became *My* Favorite Computer" (emphasis mine), not *Your* Favorite Computer. The point is not that the iPad is a replacement for a laptop for everyone. Rather, it is that the blanket argument that you can't use an iPad to (mostly) replace a laptop is demonstrably false. It mystifies me why some folks get their panties in a bunch when they're told that someone else can thrive using a different set of tools than they. I suppose it's human nature that folks can't grasp that their own requirements are not universal.

    In any case, it is worth remembering that the tablet disruption is just beginning. Hardware, OSes, and apps will continue to improve, supporting more and more folks' workflows. Not *everyone*, mind you, but a few years down the road I think we'll all be surprised by how many get by mostly using only tablet.

  98. Timisorean Says:

    Sorry, but take a look at the article "I respectfully disagree with Shanklin. I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m positive it’s possible–because I’ve been doing it for the past three months, and I’ve been having a really good time."

    For me the iPad is and never will be a "primary device for professional-level content creation". I am a website content writer and for my work I need a mouse, high resolution display (currently using a 24" lcd" and a real keyboard. The iPad would be just a time consuming gadget with no real production value to me. How can I browse the web on the iPad fast enough, have multiple tabs open and switch between mail, iA Writer and other programs? In my opinion the obove statement, that the iPad is a "primary device for professional-level content creation" is false.

  99. TYOmar Says:

    Neil, while in general I agree with what you are stating, the point of this article is that the author is making a general statement that iPad CAN be used for professional-level work across the board. If the author would have stayed at the iPad can be used for HIS professional work then the "panties in a bunch" comments would have not been so. Far too often tech authors do make the mistake – as you pointed out with comments – that since the technology works for them it will work for everyone. And this author made that same mistake. Just because it works for his professional needs does not imply it automatically or automagically will work for every professional need.

  100. Harry McCracken Says:

    No, I didn’t say that. I said I could do (most of) my professional work on it. And I said I don’t recommend this for everyone, and that there are things it doesn’t do well, and that it works well because of my particular circumstances. But even an unlimited number of caveats wouldn’t be enough to please some folks.

  101. Gavin Says:

    I love my iPad as it has allowed me to do tasks that I never have found time to do. I'm a professional developer that loves my i5 Win7 dual monitor setup at work, but as soon as I'm out of the office, I'm a iPad maniac.

    I was recently in a hospital waiting room where I was able to use iMovie to stitch together a video for my kids last year as a Xmas present. I've been meaning to do that for each of the last 5 years, but the thought of spending 5-10 hours in front of the pc at home was too much. Sure it didn't have super effects and all the rest – but I got it done and we have a result, not just an intention.

  102. Johnny Says:

    I'm a professional developer and I would never use an iPad for developing software. That doesn't mean that I don't use it for the development process. Using the iPad for notes, sketching out ideas, and writing simple high level requirements, the iPad is perfect for this professional work. The tablet is out of my way and lets me do what I am trying to create. This past week was the start of 2 new projects that I had to noodle out. Take my iPad outside with my stylist, and ripped out 15 pages of sketches and notes. Perfect for the next day's meeting.

    So please don't take your workflow and try to place it on someone else's choices. Emacs isn't for everyone. Windows isn't for everyone. The iPad works for me. Its my tool. Will it work for you. I don't know. I don't do your job or create the same content.


  103. ebernet Says:

    Why did you use AT&T when you were in Europe? One of the nice things about the iPads is that their 3g is unlocked – any carrier in Europe will be happy to sell you a cheaper SIM card at the airport, avoiding the "stiff fee". I traveled in Israel last summer and paid $12 for 3 weeks of unlimited data on my unlocked iPhone (I did not have an iPad yet). Had I done that on AT&T, I would have been over $5000…

  104. Cyberpyr8 Says:

    I went on my first trip last year for business to Tech Ed armed with only my 7" Galaxy Tab wifi tablet and my phone for tethering when I needed access. I was nervous about doing that but I knew that there were plenty of computers available there to use. It was the perfect way to try just using a tablet.

    I used Evernote for note taking at the seminars, took pictures to send to Evernote and of course checked emails and even fixed some problems by using RDP to my work based VM. I didn't lug around some big heavy device and unlike the iPad, the 7" form factor is great for typing on. I wouldn't want to write a book on it but I use it for more than just the average short email or Google+ response. I saw a few others with just tablets and they all agreed it was a great experience. I plan on using it again this year. I really see tablets like the iPad 2 and the upcoming ASUS Transformer Prime with the keyboard dock as a way for some to shed the laptop on business trips and most day to day tasks.

    Like you said, this isn't for everyone. I store my documents all in the cloud and I have trained myself to live without a full PC for over a year now. I still sometimes prefer doing some things on a full PC or laptop but those occasions are rare and usually can be planned in advance. For some of us it is a viable way to travel. Makes getting through security much easier too!

  105. joh Says:

    I’ve tried to use an iPad for work and couldn’t. Even with some custom web apps to get some workflow going it was just too much fumbling around. OK, I use a fair amount of shell scripts and Textmate, but basically the only way I could even remotely do what I have to do with the iPad was using Emacs running on a Linux server out there using iSSH, reducing the iPad to a sexy but still slow and awkward dumb terminal.

    My major problems with the iPad: No really good editor. Fumbling around with iTunes and Dropbox for a file system. Absolutely no way to automate or script things.

    I do get by though with my iPhone and a BT keyboard now and then. But for many things this means at least doubling the effort and time I have to put into common tasks. This is fine for getting something done now and then, but not for every day.

  106. D.J Says:

    Anyone who doesn't like iPads (or any tablet) because they can't copy/FTP files doesn't get it. The best way to manage documents between desktop and tablet is in the cloud. Why do you need to manually move files around when the apps auto-save and sync from anywhere? Do you still get up and walk over to your TV to change the channels, or crank-start your car?

  107. Dave Says:

    I agree with the cloud — dropbox works for many apps, and I use dropdav within pages/numbers/keynote to get things to and from dropbox. I started using it before I had my iPad2 to sync the multiple computers I use – both Mac and Windows.

    Just a note — I FTP all the time to my personal website and the work websites I admin. Just go to the app store and find the FTP apps. I use one called ftp on the go — it does everything I need it to do.

  108. Wario Says:

    Have you tried the Clamcase keyboard? I have done a lot of research and found that to be the best keyboard available.

  109. Jim Says:

    Pages has Find/Replace, under the Wrench icon.

  110. Dave Thornton Says:

    It is my belief that the iPad provides close to 100% of the functionality any home computer user needs. There will be 100's of thousands of home computers beginning to gather dust in the next few years as millions more iPads are sold. I have looked forward to this day for a long time. I am a business-captive Windows user who has finally been freed from Windows prison and found freedom with my iOS devices … at home. Hopefully more employers will move to MacBooks (Airs & Pros) even if they insist on remaining with Windows. They are simply better and last longer, and, give more "bang for the buck". My employer gave me a HP to use for business use. It is gathering dust on a bookshelf in my den while I take my iPad on the road all the time. I avoid using the HP at all costs – i cringe at the bootup time and its slowness.

  111. Stan Says:

    The only thing you have done is assembled a reasonably priced ultrabook. As soon as prices come down on ultrabooks (most people are suggesting $699 as the sweet spot) tablets will be paperweights.

  112. John Says:

    Yawn. I have a netbook. I also have a "transformer". The iPad experience is completely different. Ultrabooks will work great for some. iPads work great for others It iis't JUST the size and form factor.

  113. Rockdad Says:

    Like you I've swapped from writing on a laptop to the iPad, permanently, and for the same reasons. Plus there's one more thing: I got the original iPad and the ZaggMate cover /keyboard, this allows you to stand the screen in portrait mode, and see a whole A4 page of writing at once, something no laptop I know of can do. I write plays and novels and being to see the whole page has always been a priority for me. I chose Homeword running on an Apple II as the first wordprocessor because it had a miniature screenmap of the whole page. When I swapped to a Mac I used a Radius Pivot monitor, that system cost megabucks. And now a £500 iPad + Pages does the same thing. Thanks Steve.

  114. David Saker Says:

    The other great option with the iPad is that you charge it in the car.

  115. Jeff Kent Says:

    I have owned a Clamcase for both the iPad 1 and the iPad 2, which I am using now to write this comment. I like the Clamcase because it covers and protects the entire iPad, and it acts as a stand when the keyboard is folded back under the iPad. The iPad is held tightly and will not fall out. It does appear that the keys on the Logitech keyboard, as islands, are easier to type on, although I don't have much trouble typing on this keyboard as a touch typist.

    Still in all, I believe that I would rather carry and use a light laptop rather than an iPad combination. Regardless, the laptop has a better keyboard, a faster cpu, a better graphics chip for general use, and a bigger, if not better screen. This is not to disparage my Clamcase, iPad 2 combination. It is to say that a 15.6 $500 Fujitsu laptop, which I used on a recent vacation to NJ, is highly superior to my wonderful little iPad/Clamcase combo.

  116. Ryan Says:

    Superior in what way? For what tasks? I would never travel with a heavy laptop with subpar battery life especially on a vacation if I had an iPad2/keyboard combo. That's just considering what I normally use such a device for on short trips (video/music, web, Kindle, photos).

  117. Angel Says:

    No offense intended, but most people here is trying to avoid the fact that what Will Shanklin calls “professional content” is related to AutoCAD drawings, Adobe Suite related content, Programming IDEs like Eclipse and others, connecting to Linux servers, remotely debugging applications and so on… Not blogging or writing a column for a magazine, which I do not critize and consider professional content but not of the same type referred by that person, besides, you can do that kind of content even from most smartphones, no need of an iPad at all, you need to take that as a fact.

  118. Harry McCracken Says:

    Shanklin doesn’t think the iPad is ready to make writers happy. He says:

    “The iPad, at this point, is nothing more than a novel backup tool for most pro writers.”

    That might be true! But it’s not true for this writer. I agree that there are numerous areas where the iPad has bigger issues, and mention that I don’t use it for Web development.


  119. DanT Says:

    I know some of you will be appalled and offended by this but I actually prefer browsing the internet on my iPhone vs an iPad or a computer.

  120. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    The idea that you can't create on an iPad was always crazy. It can easily morph into a typewriter, art tools, musical instruments, audio tools, video tools. So many things are created in a sketchbook, and iPad can morph into a sketchbook.

  121. DanT Says:

    This is a pretty cool blog, glad to have discovered it via Daring Fireball.

  122. Scott Stawarz Says:

    I'm with you except for a few things. I wish that the command+tab would cycle through the ipad apps open. Secondly, I wish that bluetooth mice actually worked on it or at least a bluetooth trackpad. I get tired of poking at the screen.

  123. Gustav Says:

    I feel the same way I do the same with my IPhone with the apple Bluetooth keyboard. I use all my Apple favorites;

  124. Will Says:

    Yes the Ipad works fine since writing is a very simple activity. If you only need to input text then yes. Otherwise no. This does not generalize to other activities for computing unfortunately.

  125. Danny Says:

    Last week, I've been at HP Discover 2011 in Vienna, congress-style event with 7000 participants all from the IT business. I was amazed how many ppl were actually using iPads instead of laptops. And this is even more remarkable since most participants were actually HP staff, partners or important customers.
    I had mine with me for the first time and it worked really well (no bluetooth keyb). Also saw ppl sitting on the floor around the very few outlets waiting for their laptops to be charged …

  126. @dailywebtuts Says:

    I really thought the iPad could replace my netbook, but even with the development tools (I'm a web developer) I found it difficult and took the iPad back for a refund.

  127. highlandham Says:

    Yes, tablets might be the future ,but then only when they are not locked to a vendor's app store, but be able to work with FOSS , i.e. Linux. Ubuntu is aiming at that with their Unity desktop.
    I understand the Motorola Xoom can handle that and possibly a few others as well.

    Highlandham in the north of Scotland

  128. saf Says:

    Tablets in their current form really are just a gimmick, I bought an Ipad 2 and it spends most of the time sitting there doing nothing. Reason is very simpe the Galaxy S2 with its large screen is more convenient to use in bed and on the sofa for casual surfing and for serious stuff I need a laptop with a real keyboard and mouse. This is the experience of many people not just myself.

  129. jason Says:

    An iPad with a keyboard is just like a netbook but less powerful.
    Anybody that thinks othwise is just kidding themselfs.

  130. SvenO Says:

    I'm with you in every way. I'm a student in germany. I've used a MaBookPro for a jear or so, and I was happy. Batterie-Life 12-16 houres with SSD insalled. But sinse a month or so ago I use the iPad 2, and I cant think of going back. Is much lighter, easier to carry, and with my boog-pad I have my sheets to write on with me, and nothing else. Its realy great to get to the universety with just that, and I'm lovin it.

  131. Scott Says:

    A question for you – why do you still use a MacBook Air at all?

  132. Erwin Leon Pentzke Says:

    So you need power.
    Use Cloud Computing and iPads. You can connect your iPad to a Virtualized Windows Server running on Amazon Web Service's Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2).
    Check the iPad app with the best mouse pointer: Wyse PocketCloud (Remote Desktop) – RDP / VNC.
    Choose RDP over VNC, RDP is more responsive than VNC, it is just like having a 64 bits W2K8 workstation. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office and Project + Visio, Flex, Notepad++, WinSCP.
    I don't even use a keyboard. I'm used to the screen keyboard.
    Why to carry something heavier than 1.35 pounds?

  133. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Apples & Rocks.

    Without all the extraneous attachments (docking, keyboard, et al,) reevaluate.

    I'll wait…

  134. Sandy Says:

    Is there a Citrix client available for iPad? That's the best reason I have for using my large computer at home.

  135. Sandy Says:

    I see that there is one. Anyone have any experience with it? We go directly to a Windows Server and then RDP to other servers.

  136. fjpoblam Says:

    Both Koder and Textastic offer *rudimentary* FTP and code editing capabilities. But until they get a little more sophisticated, I'll tend to return to BBEdit for website maintenance. Bet you don't do that sort of thing. There's also some (much) sophiticated grapics work and file deletion therein involved, at which the iPad doesn't excel. Aside from these, I can definitely see an iPad as a *major* computing appliance in my activities. I run down the battery daily. I only hope the battery lasts as long (endures as many recharges) as the rest of the device. (I still use my first-gen iPod Touch!)

  137. fulltext Says:

    The keyword here was 'professional'.

    All you're doing is writing some text with a few jpg embeds

  138. Nicolas Says:

    Nice article Harry! I was happy to read somebody else's feedback on how an iPad could be used as a primary computer. My own experience of using the iPad 2 as primary computer was slightly different than yours (, but nonetheless satisfying (I always take my iPad with me when I'm on the go or commuting). And as you wisely mentionned it, "All of this works wonderfully well for me, but that’s because of my particular circumstances". One device, many possible use!

  139. Chris Long Says:

    “fulltext” says:

    “All you’re doing is writing some text with a few jpg embeds”


    sounds like 97% of THE WEB, to me.

  140. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Right but, NOT 97% of what business people do…. So, not relevant.

  141. Dan Says:

    Incorrect. Most business people use their computers predominantly for sending/receiving emails, reading/creating documents & spreadsheets and checking stuff on the internet.

    Anyone who seems to think that business people spend their time in the nuts and bolts of a system are kidding themselves. They want ease of use and simplicity. The iPad achieves this for many, many people. Does it achieve 100% of everything that everyone needs? No, but you know what, there's no computer in existence that can do that. Show me a computer that's a powerhouse for content creation of all kinds and yet is small enough to throw into a bag and carry around with you whenever you go away & can last a weekend of hard use on a single charge and I'll show you my a*se!

  142. Ric Says:

    Their is a simple requirement here for most folks in this current economic climate, with one question that requires one answer; Can a tablet match the value I receive from a traditional notebook in the same cost zone or less and that answer is unequivocally NO! It cant offer the same value proposition unless you are a fanboi worshiping at the temple of apple. For many a tablet still is a luxury and not a necessity!

  143. Sojo Says:… How my Samsung Galaxy Tab (7 Inch) became my favourite compute r How my Samsung Galaxy Tab (7 Inch) became my favourite computer

  144. Dave Says:

    So the moral of the story is, if all you do is type some text for a living, you can use the ipad as your primary computer.

  145. Harry McCracken Says:

    That’s right. I’m a typist. And you are…?

  146. @acnMobility Says:

    It’s interesting to read how the iPad was made to work to fit your needs. For more tech-savvy users, it’s easy to see how the device could naturally evolve. For other users, an ultrabook might be that super-portable, all-in-one solution.

  147. bndctc Says:

    Excellent post.

    I haven't bought a tablet yet, since I have been hesitating all this time, but will be buying the iPad 3 when it comes out.

  148. dan Says:

    Can you download torrent files and what happen to Windows 7 or 8 option on this thing?

  149. Dave MacLachlan Says:

    It doesn't handle torrent files. It runs on iOS and doesn't support Windows of any flavor, except (possibly) through a Citrix-like app.

  150. Jeff Says:

    Great post. Any chance you can share what bag you mentioned in the post?

  151. Alice Says:

    Dear Harry,

    Am I missing something, or is the only way to switch between apps to use the native Home button or gestures?

  152. Jauhari Says:

    Awesome iPad Story…

  153. Guest Says:

    How do you move a file (music or picture) from the iPad2 to your computer?

  154. Dan Says:

    Really good article, just a shame that so many people seem to feel it necessary to wholly misinterpret the article so their gripes hold some weight. It should be perfectly clear from the article that the author's not stating that the iPad's ideal for every 'professional' career. In fact he even states that doesn't fulfill 100% of his needs!

    As someone who owns an iPad and a Macbook I have to agree that my Macbook barely gets a look-in these days. As quick as a Macbook is to fire up and let me browse the internet for information or start writing up some work or an email it's still not as fast as my iPad. I can throw my iPad into a bag when I visit my folks and sort out lots of work when I'm away, moreso than with my Macbook as my iPad is the 3G version. When at home, if I've a lot of writing to do I can just grab my Logitech keyboard pop the ipad in the stand and I can comfortably work away at a desk or even sit back on the sofa with the keyboard resting on a cushion in my lap! Any work I do is saved to a cloud, if there's any that isn't, guess what, at the press of a button I can email it to my office machine.

    The fact is that the iPad is never going to be a replacement for people whose work requires lots of processing power, or very specialised hardware/software. However, for 90%+ of people, the iPad can meet the majority of their requirements.

    Maybe people should be applauding the machine for everything that it can do for most people rather than criticising it for the things it can't be for the minority?

  155. XD Says:

    For all content production needs? Srsly? Maybe amateur production needs is what is meant. There may be also people who believe the iPad or iPhone camera could replace a $2000 SLR Nikon or Canon camera…
    I strongly believe there is no “one size fits all” as you want it to be.

  156. colored pencil Says:

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  157. O'Rly Says:

    Wow. Author buys a $700 iPad and an external keyboard and manages to get some work done, albeit by cobbling together a bunch of apps to create a clumsy workflow, then talks about how great it is, espeically since he doesn't have to worry about all those 'distractions' involved in using a regular laptop or desktop. Apparently iPads require no maintenance and the ability to multi-task is now a burden.

    Just because you can live off of water and chia seeds for 3 weeks doesn't mean it is a good idea.

  158. jane Says:

    This a great way to learn the ins and outs of the IPAD:

  159. Kristy Says:

    Here's A little something that may solve all your ipad 4 questions .. check it out its worth a shot !

    If it doesnt allow youo to click on it just copy and paste it to your address bar . It really has helped me learn my way around ..

  160. Riley B. Says:

    One aspect that frequently gets ignored is cloud computing. Apps like OnLive or the service provided by nivio allow you to do the same things a PC does, just in the cloud. And I think it's just getting started. I, too, have replaced my laptop with my iPad 2, except I'm using the Rocketfish iCapsule keyboard. My transition happened by accident. I just kind of started using the iPad all the time, and before I knew it, I was realizing all of these things I could do on my iPad instead of my laptop, and it felt liberating. I realize as well that the iPad is not going to work for everyone, but for some people (depending on job function) it does work and with cloud computing that just improves the experience for more people.

  161. ipad case keyboard Says:

    We know exactly what you mean.

  162. RPN Says:

    I use a iPad for 80% of computing (mostly with on-screen keyboard, although I have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard in Origami case), using two MacBook Airs and an iMac only for serious research and writing (e.g., book chapters). iPad works for me; perhaps not others.

  163. Ian Liuzzi-Fedun Says:

    I happen to think you are a wacko for doing what you do but let’s put all that aside. How yep you handle exchanging files between applications? I find the only reasonable way is to email or to myself and then open it in the new app as there is no central location the iPad allows access to

  164. Harry McCracken Says:

    The iPad certainly doesn’t provide the flexibility of a PC or Mac in terms of moving files between apps. But–and maybe I should have discussed this in my story–it provides more flexibility than I expected. Many iPad apps let you move documents directly into other apps, and I frequenty work on files in multiple apps before I’m done with them.

  165. Chris Says:

    I think people are taking this too far. No where in this article does it say everyone should replace whatever device you have and replace it with an IPad. All the writer is saying is that for basic everyday things that he had to do, the IPad was able to get that done for him. If that doesn’t work for you don’t rip the IPad apart, its a product for simplicity. Just because it can run some high quality programs doesn’t mean that it has to be as good or better than a computer version. The common misconception with people is that they think that just because a product can run certain things they should have super high expectations. The IPad does the job it does and thats it. I have a PC, Mac, and IPad. I use them all equally for different things. Just because the writer uses his consistently and talks about his experience with it doesn’t mean people should take every negative side of the IPad and rip at it, but instead peole should recognize what it could be used for. Almost every product has a purpose and the IPad’s purpose is to get everyday work done efficiently. If you job requires extremely proficient work no ordinary device would do it. You need to get a device that is worth a lot more that can do that. The IPad should be noted as a simple and helpful device.

  166. Ethan burke Says:

    I have the clamcase, and rather than carrying a zaggfolio in which you have to sit on a table and set up, the clamcase has a hinge that folds out like a sturdy laptop and you can actually swing it around in your lap mindlessly. It also adds lots more protection. It's very well-built

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