Monday, June 7, 2010

Why the iPad - And Why Now

ipad.jpg

 

As you know, I was resisting the iPad.  I have a Tablet PC with a Sprint USB broadband device and I couldn't see for sure what the iPad could help me do that I couldn't do already.  Well I wanted to try one, but I didn't really feel like buying one "just to see".  Apple, of course, isn't turning loose of lots of review models, so I figured I'd have to wait until I got feedback from some friends.  It turns out that one of my buddies (Thanks Ben!) was nice enough to reset his and loan it to me so I could give it a try.

 

It turns out that the iPad has made itself almost indispensable to me.  Let me explain why.

 

  • Speed - The software is blazing fast.  If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you understand what I mean.  You tap an icon and the program loads and is working inside of 5 seconds.  With my Tablet PC, it grinds away before I can do anything.  Depending on the size of the program, this can take up to a minute or two.
  • Software/OS - One of the big things I've always liked about Apple products is how well thought out the software is.  As an example, answering email on the iPad is a breeze.  The program loads blazingly fast, it's easy to highlight for mass deletes, the layout is crisp and easy to use, and the soft keyboard appears like magic whenever you need it.  I was concerned that typing would be difficult.  Even if you are a 2 finger typist, it's easy to use.  Add in the fact that it syncs my contacts, calendar, and anything else I need to run my life and you can see why it's a hit with me.
  • Apps - You've got to hand it to Apple.  The entire culture they've built around The App Store really drives their portable products.  I'm doing almost everything from a small slate type device that I normally do from a heavy and bulky laptop.  So much of my life is in the cloud now and the iPad with its Apps connects to it beautifully.  No matter what you need, there really is an app for that!

So, now that I've admitted the error of my initial impulse, it comes down to making a decision.  Here's what I've decided to do:

 

I've ordered the 64Gb version with Wifi only and no 3G connectivity.  That may seem silly for a gadget guy like me, but let me explain why.  Since I'm on the road so much, I already have the above mentioned Sprint Sierra USB wireless broadband modem.  Now one drawback on the iPad is no USB ports so if I wanted broadband coverage, I'd have had to pay more for the iPad and then about $30 per month to AT&T for the connection.  So instead, I've ordered the Sprint OverDrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot.

 

Sprint OverDrive.jpg

 

This device will replace the Sierra USB and provide wireless broadband for up to 5 devices.  This means my iPad can connect via Wifi to the OverDrive and I won't need to be paying anything extra to AT&T.  Putting this thing in my pocket for around town or in my carryon bag when i travel will give me what I need with no increase in monthly charges.

 

Both devices are on order and should be here this week.  I'll be getting back to you on how it works out for mobility.  My home has great Wifi coverage with 2 routers in the house so that's not an issue.  The only drawback that I can think of with the OverDrive is a 2 hours battery life, but I'm not sure how much broadband I'll be needing that will max that out.  As always, it's a work in progress...

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