iPad Global Road Warrior Experience, Part III
In meetings and working online.
I hit the ground running in Stockholm where my first meeting was to run through the presentation I made on the flight. Using the VGA cable I easily connected the iPad to the projector and it connected as soon as I understood that I had to have Keynote in present mode. The iPad should be charged when you start running the prezzos as it cannot charge and use the VGA cable at the same time. A minor detail that could be devastating. And go to offline mode to avoid getting interrupted by Foursquare updates. That turns off the presenter mode and therefore the projector.
Taking notes, using Notes, in meetings is easy and a much better experience than on the Air or iPhone. The former as it actually shows what you are doing (i.e. working as supposed to checking Facebook) and the latter as the virtual keyboard is so much bigger and easier to use. I just wish I could easily share them instantaneous with the cloud. The only sharing option is email.
Creating, writing and editing documents works really well via Notes, Pages or many of the different iPhone/iPad applications. The challenge is if you’d like to access old docs from the cloud and edit them on the road.
There are several synching applications available for Google Docs but none of these really rocks. The closest is the free Connect Reader which has a great user interface and let’s you access, download and read your documents.
Just tried the Office² HD (iPad version) and it does all of the above except sharing. Note that the application it’s still a little buggy (version 3.2.1).
Another option is the recently released Dropbox for the iPad. A third option is to use File Sharing and synching the documents you’d need for your trip before departure. Eventually this will be fixed by a third party developer or as early as in two weeks at the Google I/O.
So why can’t I use Google Docs via the Safari browser for editing if I’m online via 3G or WiFi? Well, the mobile version of the Safari browser does not support rich text editing. Editing spreadsheets works - as it doesn’t use rich text editing - but not documents.
I even held a Skype conference using the presentation I created on the flight. As the iPad have neither video nor screen sharing I had to email the prezzo in PDF format before the call. Maybe not a 2010 experience but it worked.
Managing my travel itinerary via the different travel applications is awesome. I booked and rebooked hotels, flights and used maps to get hotel directions. I even checked in on Lufthansa and SAS via the iPad and received a digital boarding card. The iPad even fit under the QR code reader at the airport despite the flight attendants doubt. Her first time, I guess.
I’ve been catching up on news via Reeder which is a fantastic Google RSS Reader on steroids (Thanks, Mark). It offers offline reading (caching), multiple sharing options, notes and integration with Instapaper. Reeder is just available as an iPhone app for now.
The lengthy batteries and the fact that it starts up right away makes a big difference on business trips. I work 20 hrs per day when traveling and need to stay productive the whole time. My projects are scattered across several different time zones and when traveling this gets amplified. Working smarter is a must and the iPad provides that edge.
Key learnings from 5 days on the road:
- The iPad can definitely replace the laptop for the basic needs I have (create presentations, hold presentations, write and edit documents, check emails, browse and manage travel itinerary, read news)
- The only obvious shortcoming is the lack of cloud apps apart from iWork and Dropbox but as I’ve described there are workarounds for the creative user
- Being faster with 10 hr batteries makes up for having to find workarounds. While my fellow travelers in business class (got upgraded on a dirt cheap economy ticket) saw their gray and heavy PC laptops die my iPad charged ahead like the energizer bunny
- The 3G is a must for the road warrior. I’d like to check my emails on the iPad while I’m in transit and cannot rely on the existence of WiFi on speed trains or in transit lounges. And 3G is cheaper than WiFi for low usage
- The iPad also replaced the need for my iPhone but that is probably something very personal. As I was mostly in-room (on flights, in lounges, in transit and conference rooms) the iPad offered the better user experience. I’m also a heavy Google Voice user, channeling all voice mails and text messages to my universal GMail inbox…
- The iPhone/iPad applications are in many cases superior to a browser or a desktop experience. The best apps combine the best of both worlds
- Apple usually carries a premium but $700 for truly portable laptop including case and a few basic apps is very affordably if not cheap
- The Apple Case is fantastic and much better than all other third party cases I’ve seen. The only additional accessory I’d look for would be a wall-mount for the kitchen or for the car…
I’m selling my Apple Air (1st Gen). Any takers? ;)