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As the sun was streaming in the window this morning, for the third straight morning or so, I’m reminded of summer and warm days and sitting out on the deck. How I’d love to sit out on the deck, with my coffee and do my devotions. Hey, even work out there on a really nice day.
Right now, A) we don’t even have a deck, and B) I find I need my macbook to be on a table of some sort. I find at night when using my mac downstairs in front of the TV or whatever, so much radiation / heat comes off it that I feel like my legs are burning. No lie! Maybe I’m overparanoid and sensitive to the perceived healthy issues there but the legs do get real warm using lap top. Not sure what it does for other organs!! So, for total recreational surfing, emailing, I’ve decided the laptop isn’t the best since being on my lap isn’t ideal. Plus, its heavier, you have to be so much more careful with it as you carry it around and its our MAIN computer, holding all out photos, movies taxes,… all that good stuff. So I take more care with it as well.
Tossing it around
That all sorta brings me around to what I’ve decided is a good position for an iPad. Its a unit like an iPod touch that you can virtually toss around, leave lying around anywhere without too much concern, the battery lasts a long time (unlike my 1.5 hour batter life on my mac, yes, my battery is dead but to replace it would cost me $160 :S ). For recreational surfing and light emailing, the iPad fits the job. the touch ends up being just a little small if you want to relax and read some news online at the end of the day or reply to a list of emails. I envision sitting with the iPad out on the deck, in my lap with little or no heat dissipation being provided my my legs!! The units all solid state so that should be minimal.
I envision being able to plunk it on a table, not worrying about spills on it (its a sealed item, seamless glass top), being able to pick it up where I left off should a child temporarily run over for some attention. I can also see it as a great computer for visitors when they ask to check their email. What could be a better idea that then eh, rather then handing them my laptop with all our personal info, setting up a guest account, or having them sit in the basement on our dirty old / messy / slow windows (which we actually don’t have anyways 😛 ), we toss them an iPad. they can wander around the house, lounge on the deck or front porch, sit out on the lawn or in their bedrooms and check the days emails.
I think there are great possibilities for renting these things at hotels or having one in the hotel room for your internet access (though it would likely get stolen real quick). There is also no training required on them, they are so intuitive that guests would just start clicking on things and figuring it out. its not like they are sitting down to your iMac and trying to figure out the one button mouse. The biggest question for visitors that don’t have macs is which thing to click on to get to the Internet. Seriously, when people use my macbook, thats the question, where is the Internet. yes, Mac users are still a minority.
I can see the versatility in a product that you can toss into a bag, pass across the table with ease and use outside with limited worry on the elements. You can even potentially use it like a huge remote to control house systems such as heating, lights, etc if you have such devices in your house. sure you can control them from your PC or macbook too but how cool would it be to have this lying around the house somewhere, walk from room to room with it and control that stuff as needed. This is not to mention remotely operating your main PC or Mac as well via VNC or whatever other Apps they have out there, RDP maybe. I could see doing some simply quick work on my macbook remotely, ie, turning on itunes sharing so I could stream my music to my iPad, or doing some work in iWeb for a quick update, using FTP, initiating backups. Lots of opportunities to sit out on the deck and have the full horsepower of your main system as well.
There are lots of youtube vids on people using it like this too. A bit of a fumble on iPhone but on the iPad, NOW its a totally usable app for semi real work. How does it work with pages and things like that? I guess we’ll see, but you could just make a pages doc directly on the iPad anyways. what you could do is setup files for sharing and do other management tasks on the Mac.
So thats how I could see making use of it, it would be a primarily recreational tool that I would have outside of my home office all the time. My macbook would get a bit of a rest from years of 24/7 use jostling around, going full bore running parallels and all my other business related apps.
Using it as a bible
Another use which we use the iPod touch for now a bit is a bible for church. Its kinda a novelty for that sort of use, rather than bringing a BIG full hardcopy of the bible, you can carry it in your pocket. Are we getting too lazy 😛 well maybe. But its not real easy to flip between chapters and verses there. I think bringing the bible to a more life size screen as on the iPad would really make this something less of a novelty for bible reading and more like a bible for the 21st century. This brings the conversation around to its e-reading capabilities. Its definitely a viable option for reading in general as the screen is large enough that you wouldn’t get tired real quick, its a medium that allows more extended reading periods unlike a tiny touch, and its more flexible and natural to manage when reading then a laptop as if you are reclining or laying on a couch, this one handed device just moves to wherever you need it to move, no worries about its orientation there. (the macbook I generally like to have on flat none moving surfaces as its easier on the harddrive – ie, wear and tear of mechanical spinning things. This is not to mention the efficiency of the fan as well that you’re always concerned can breath, is open all that. The macbook you can’t easily take into bed and place it on the covers as it would warm up REAL quick and then the fan would be going full bore trying to cool it down. Not good. Usually you would need a laptop tray / cooling fan device for such situations. Again, with the iPad, you have an almost full size device that will not significantly heat up in those scenarios. Great!
Out of doors
I can also imagine taking the iPad to the garage (in range of WIFI) for instructional videos on fixing the car for example or doing wood work or whatever. I wouldn’t take my laptop out to a dirty garage, it would get dust on it, liquids, greasy fingers etc. BUT, with an iPad and a decent case, not worried about it so much, a drip or two, no problem, wipe it off, greasy finger prints, well, we’ll all be WELL used to wiping off finger prints even from regular use and on glass, its fairly resistance to any etching that might take place from a quick drop of whatever. So ya, totally usable methinks in that scenario. Also, geocaching, what a GREAT map for finding geocaches even without 3G as the map is cached (at least it does this on the touch). If it has a large enough image cached, you could use it for narrowing down streets in a neighbourhood and carry it along in the car and on the walk for help. Of course the 3G would be incredible in this circumstance, need a hint? surf to geocaching.com when you’re in the vicinity of the cache. You could do it on the iPhone too but hey, full size Internet in your hand onsite in a forest or park? Cool! And no, you wouldn’t be hauling a laptop out there, booting it up, balancing it on one palm,.. just not gonna happen with a laptop.
Long post, ok, so there are my thoughts on the recreational uses of the iPad for March 🙂 Its fun thinking about the possibilities.
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