I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of the purchase on my first tablet and I was thinking about how big an impact this device has had on the way I use or don't use my laptops any more. My expectation wash that I would be able to use my iPad to consume content ( check email, browse websites, listen to music, watch videos, etc ) and possibly create some simple content ( take meeting notes, create and reply to email messages ). I didn't expect that I would be able to stop taking my laptop to client sites and that I would be able to perform so much of my work on my iPad. This change was able to happen because of the applications that come delivered on an iPad and the applications available through iTunes. While using the iPad together work done I found that I didn't have to worry about things that didn't matter, I was able to focus on using applications that filled specific business needs. I don't know why it has taken so long but I finally realized that applications are what really matter.
My small business is much like many other small business. I have computers running Windows 7 that I have to maintain on a regular basis. There are Windows updates to install, disks to defragment, problems to troubleshoot and every few years I have to buy replacements. I hate to think about how much time I have spent over the past year just trying to keep my main laptop running. Twice over the last year i have encountered errors and had to reinstall the operating system from scratch. I lost days of productivity while I rebuilt and restored my laptop back to normal. Why does any of this matter? It matters to me because I have realized how much of my time is sucked up maintaining an operating system. Operating systems need to exist only as a means to allow applications to run, operating systems don't make me any money. Applications that run on top of the operating system are what I use to create content for my clients and this is what makes money.
It took me a little while to find a collection of applications that I was happy with to provide me with enough functionality to stop carrying my laptop and I have refined this set of applications over time into a collection that I think work as well or better than similar applications on a Windows based laptop. I will go into the details of this collection of applications in a future post.
One big upside to using an iPad as my primary computing device is that I am now only carrying a 1.4 lb tablet instead of my 8.5 lb laptop. Now I leave this laptop in my home office and connect to it over the Internet when I need the horsepower that this laptop can provide. Again, it took me a few attempts at finding a solution I was happy with for remotely connectivity but I now have someone that works really well.
Another interesting lesson was that I don't need Internet connectivity all of the time when I am using my iPad. Yes, it is very convenient to have a full time Internet connection so that I can continuously receive email on my iPad but my iPhone has a full time Internet connection and it notifies me any time I have email. If I need to get out to the Internet on my iPad I can turn on the hotspot feature on my iPhone or use WIFI access to get out to the Internet. I'm finding this is becoming less of an issue because it isn't that hard to find a WIFI hotspot and my main client has WIFI in their office.
I think it still might be a little early for many people to make the switch to a tablet as their primary computing device but for many this day is getting much closer. The applications available for the iPad keep getting better and more feature rich. Life isn't perfect using an iPad. There are things that aren't as easy as they should be ( just try to reply to an email and include an attachment ) and hopefully Apple will solve these problems but there is no way I'm going back. I want to work on a device where the operating system is just something that is in the background, something I don't have to spend time on so I can focus on creating content using what really matters, applications.