iPad, or iFad?

If you had an iPad, what would you do with it? Could it help with your day-to-day workflow? Which would you grab for those routine tasks, iPad or laptop?

I spent a day tallying my choices.

5:30 AM Alarm Clock (app) I was dreaming. It was warm, no snow, I heard birds, and then this strange buzzing… Oh, iPad, punch Snooze, and it’s already time to get up. That’s iPad (1), Laptop (0). It’s interesting how many tasks don’t require keyboarding.

6:00 AM Check weather. Looks cloudy. Grab the iPad, tap Weather Channel, and check the forecast: Ice and snow, wintry mix! The time saved not having to boot this thing is a real perk. (2-0, iPod).

6:15 AM Read the news. Oh iPad for sure. Scan sections from the NYTimes, USNews, USAToday, CNN, BBC, NPR, or one of the myriad news blogs and wikis saved as favorites in the browser. (3-0, iPod).

6:30 AM Check delays. Surprisingly, iPad. Run FilmOn and watch real network TV, free. WPIX  covers CT, NY, and NJ. School’s closed, office is open. Gotta scrape! (4-0, iPod)

6:45 AM Check the traffic. Before driving off, tap Maps, tap a bookmarked location and see where the tie-ups are. (5-0, iPod)

8:30 AM Weekly task list. It’s just a little chart, but where I work, it has to be printed and hung up. I’ll start it on the iPad and send it to Dropbox for printing. iPad and laptop split the task on this one. (5.5 – 0.5, iPad so far still leading).

8:45 AM Mileage report. Oh oh, Laptop for sure. Accounting requires an Excel spreadsheet, nothing less,  printed and submitted (so 20th Century). (5.5 – 1.5)

9:00 AM Email. iPad, no question. A pleasure to read and super easy to respond with word complete and auto correct. I’ve got the iPad’s propped up while I do that Excel thing on the laptop. (6.5 – 1.5, iPad)

9:15 PM Grant Proposal, first draft. iPad. My first draft’s a sketch. Portability’s the key. I can work anywhere on this and after 3 hours, still have 3/4 (9 HOURS) left. The laptop barely goes 2, and seems to take that long to boot. (7.5 – 1.5, iPad)

11:45 AM Find Lunch. Neither iPad or Laptop. iPhone’s the way to go, connected and really portable, when wandering around trying to locate restaurants and sandwich joints. There just aren’t enough hotspots to justify lugging an iPad or laptop. Forget paying for 2 phone services.  (7.5 – 1.5, iPad)

2:30 PM Staff Meeting: Minutes. A Netbook running OneNote would be perfect, for typing, doodling, even recording voice. Plus it would be a lot less obtrusive to pull out the iPad, but since there is no comparable note taking software available, the laptop wins.

What’s that? OneNote’s available for the iPad and iPhone, last week!? And, syncs with Skydrive (Microsoft’s DropBox) for laptop retrieval? Sorry. (8.5 – 1.5, iPad)

3:00 PM Typing (Blog entry). iPad. Speak your thoughts into Dragon Dictation (free – no training) and don’t type at all. Just a few more chunks on this Blog draft. (9.5 – 1.5, iPad)

8:30 PM Movies. Kidding, right? iPad, of course. That Discovery app with science footage is amazing. And fight scenes from Gladiator (transferred from iTunes) is also pretty amazing. (10.5 – 1.5, iPad)

9:30 PM Select reading and relax. iPad here. Choose titles from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and read with free Kindle and Nook software. Load the files and read for hours without a hotspot, or a flashlight if you’re in bed. (11.5 – 1.5, iPad)

10:30 PM Skill Development: Labyrinth. You’ve played this before. iPad’s the way to go here. Hold the screen level, now tip, a little more to the right, ok, avoid the trap, now tip left, drop the ball in the hole, YES. Aren’t accelerometers great?! Who would think we’d still be playing this in the 21st Century, without the knobs. (11.5 – 1.5, iPad)

10:45 PM Classical stuff: Magic Piano. iPad! My piano teacher, Mrs. Oberle, would be amazed if she could see me. You tap descending dots, it plays, but watch your rhythm. Let’s see, Moonlight Sonata, The Entertainer, Happy Birthday, or play as a duet with someone in China. (12.5 – 1.5, iPad)

Well, we made it through the day. The pattern I see, until my wife tells me to turn the lights off, is the iPad serves those spirited, creative types who can avoid Office work, but need portability, convenience, quick access to tools and information. If not for printing, we could have skipped the laptop entirely. Or we just spring for a new HP ($200) wireless printer.  Check the stats:

1.5 Laptop Strengths: straight office (Office) work and printing

12.5 iPad Strengths: managing communication, information, schedules, and other short spirited tasks like blogging, dictating, note taking and staying socially connected.

1.0 iPhone Strengths:  portable and always connected, otherwise small.

BTW, we’ll still need the phone. Now what’s up with tomorrow’s weather?


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  7. Cheryl Watford said:

    What a great way to compare the two topics. I wish I could use the iPad for more printing options… I have the basic app for writing my notes… I also use a doodle pad as a way to hand write my notes in as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

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