Last week I attended (with a bunch of my esteemed colleagues) the SUNY Technology conference in Ryebrook, NY, and I decided to try a little experiment: leaving my trusty MacBook Pro at home, and bringing instead an iPad. Could it replace what I normally use my laptop for when I’m away for a few days? Well read on and find out…
1st test: The train journey to Rye. Metro North from Grand Central. I picked the most cramped, shiney (i.e. so slippery you need to wear rubber pants to gain any friction) looking seat I could find, for full effect. After contorting myself into as comfortable position as possible, I whipped out the iPad, and started reading the lastest copy of Stereophile magazine I’d purchased that morning through the Zimio iPad app. Whilst drooling over the latest set of speakers I’ll never be able to afford a clear leader emerged in oh about 5 seconds: iPad 1, Laptop 0.
Next test: The Hotel Room. I figured I’ll read a couple of emails; putz around online for a bit, that kind of thing. Turned on iPad WiFi. Waited. And waited some more. Called front desk (I know the answer but what the heck, I’ll try anyway) to be told no WiFi in rooms, just in the common areas and conference spaces in the hotel. Duh! iPad’s not looking so cool now. HOWEVER, on concurring with some of my fellow guests, apprently the wired connection was ssssssloooooowwwww, plus the room supplied ethernet cable itself was a most convenient 3.5″ long. In conclusion, It looked like Laptop equalized, but goal was disallowed – off side. Still iPad 1, Laptop 0.
So to the conference. This thing is light. And small. Fits into my little leather satchel perfectly. The Laptop never did, was way to big and heavy and brutish. Once downstairs I got to use WiFi at the hotel (which was nice and fast btw), and wondered: wouldn’t it be classy to download the conference schedule PDF using Goodreader app and use that, rather than fumbling around with the big folder we got? Well I did that and I was dead right. This was extremely classy. Half time result: Ipad 2, Laptop 0.
Lunchtime. Conference food looks pretty dismal, time instead, to lounge out in the lobby with my iPad and catch up on the morning’s email and read the NY Times. All good. FIT’s Exchange email works perfectly on this thing. As does my gmail. NY Times looks amazing. I am officially in love. Geek heaven. iPad 3, Laptop 0. This is a a cakewalk. New email arrives: Spiritualized are performing Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space at Radio City Music Hall. I can beat the rush for tickets by using a promo code. Capital! I hit the link in the email to Radio City’s website, to be met with a huge gaping hole where Flash content should be. The wave comes crashing down. Laptop pummels a 50 yarder right through iPad’s defense. Thanks, Steve. iPad 3, Laptop 1.
So…iPad’s in the lead, but evidently it’s anyone’s game at this point. Onto spending my 1st evening away without laptop. I usually bring a bunch of DVDs; catch up on a bit of work; listen to some music. Can’t do DVDs. Can’t really catch up on any work (I downloaded the Keynote iPad app, but it’s fairly useless IMO, more on that in another post). Music: well I hadn’t put anything on it yet so about the only thing I could do is pretend I was listening to 4’33” by John Cage. I had rented a movie from iTunes, which got me through night one, but my evenings of iPad fueled entertainment were pretty much dry after that. Oh well, will have to spend time in the hotel bar. Final Score: iPad 3, Laptop 2.
So in conclusion? The iPad is officially 33.33333334% better than a laptop when traveling.