In the air experience.
The first thing I realize is that the 3G is a must. Traveling and not be able to pull out the iPad to check or write emails, browse or write notes is not very productive. The new data-only plans are actually surprisingly good. The international roaming, paying $1,000 per GB, is redonkilous.
The iPad fits perfectly in the carry-on and I was never asked to take it out during security checks in San Francisco, London, Dusseldorf, Berlin or Stockholm. Might seem like a detail but just dropping your bag on the screening area and going through the metal detector without all the hassle is pretty sweet. Sans slow, and overpacked tourists of course.
Using the iPad on the flight is a fantastic experience. The Apple case should get a design award. Yes it doesn’t looks great but works both as a protective shield and a fantastic stand, either on it’s head to watch movies or lying down, angled to write. It enhances the experience tenfold.
The fact that it never overheats, wakes up in a heartbeat with batteries that lasts for 10+ hrs is a dream come true. The size is perfect if you are a frugal entrepreneur, always traveling Economy Plus. It’s actually possible to work without bumping shoulders. After getting use to the virtual keyboard I personally think it’s feels much better to use than the Air’s.
The media experience with everything from Spotify, to iTunes, Photos and Video is obviously outstanding. C’mon. I never had a doubt. I watched “I love you, man”, slept, then “Rush in Rio”, slept a little more and then while creating a presentation from scratch rocked out to Led Zeppelin, Chris Cornell, Genesis, Yes and Phish.
I created a presentation in Keynote from scratch during the flight and once I figured out how to access the toolbox, create new slides, delete text et cetera it went really fast. The fewer choices compared to the desktop version makes the experience much faster. It helps to have pre-loaded the Photos application with useful images for the flight. I love that I can import PPT and export PDF. Exporting PPT would be even better.
Doing research is obviously hard while in the air but if you gather the data that builds your story then the design of the presentation can easily be done while wasting away in an airline seat for 10+ hrs. It’s very cool to see that it works.
Creating, editing and sharing documents and spreadsheets is a completely different story. The only application that works well is Notes and Pages but can only share via in-mail. There is no application available that is letting you use Google Docs offline and then sync when online. There are workarounds with manual downloads and syncs but they are clunky and feel unnecessary. I’m confided to taking shorter notes that I then need to manually add to Google Docs (now when the email functionally is gone). This is really the biggest area for improvement. It can be done so let’s do it!
Does it beat the laptop experience while in the air? Hands down. It’s faster, lasts longer, easier and more fun to use. The only current drawback is the lack of word processing with cloud sharing but that will eventually get fixed.