The iPad. This is one of those things that you don’t know you need until you get it and if I’m being perfectly honest I don’t NEED it, but I am finding more uses for it constantly. Could I live without it? Yes. Is it totally cool to have and can you use it for a bunch of things? Hell yes!
But seriously, I think it’s a bit of a quality of life issue. You remember life, don’t you? It’s what we all had before we started spending hours on the computer. So what does the iPad do for me? Here are a few examples:
Reading: I already mentioned on Tools of My Trade Day #1 that I use the iPad in conjunction with the free DropBox App for reading submissions for ARe. It frees me up so I can get away from the computer but I still have access to my files. I can read my PDFs and Word documents on the iPad rather than the computer.
I also find I’m using it more and more as an eReader, even though I have a Nook and also used to read a lot on my iPod Touch. I have the Kindle App and iBooks (which takes ePub or PDF) on the iPad and between those I can read pretty much any eBook.
Travel: It’s incredibly light but has a lot of functionality packed in that tiny package. I think (though I have yet to do it) I could travel with just the iPad and not the laptop and still be okay, even in the event of a work emergency. [NOTE: I don’t write on the iPad. I also can’t write when I travel. My brain rebels. So I’d use the iPad for travel strictly to check email, social networks, etc.] As long as I have a connection, I’ll have access to all my files through Dropbox, and access to the internet for any sites I need such as my blog or website. Hell, I found a WiFi connection on a highway, pulled the car off the road and ordered promo on the iPad while parked on the shoulder once. It wasn’t the ideal situation but it worked. (It was a limited time offer and it was order right then or lose the price forever–maybe I’ll cover my crazy promo habits in a future series.)
Sleep: How does the iPad let me sleep? Well I used to try and stay awake for my favorite shows that aired on TV late (like 10PM). I usually ended up falling asleep during a commercial break and waking up tired the next morning. Or, I would watch the show the next day on my computer on ABC.com or whatever the station, but that tied up my computer and my time, both of which I really should be using to write. But now with the iPad, I have the ABC App, I also have the HBO GO App. I can go to sleep early, wake up and there are my favorite shows on the iPad, which I carry downstairs with me, set on the counter and let my show run while I’m making coffee, feeding the cats, emptying the dishwasher, whatever. It saves me time because I’d have to do all those other “kitchen” things anyway but now I’m watching my show at the same time. Multi-tasking.
SOCIAL NETWORKING/EMAIL: I can quickly and easily check my Twitter, Facebook and email on the iPad and it does end up being faster because I’m not tempted to go off on tangents on the iPad like on the computer which turns a quick task into a very long one. Sure, I can follow a link someone tweeted or reply to an email on the iPad, but honestly, it’s easier to do all that on the computer so I usually wait.
Besides the Apps you can download for Facebook (I have yet to find one I love) and Twitter (Echofon is my favorite) there is another really, really cool app for keeping your social networks and blogs in order but I’m saving that for tomorrow when it will be the seventh and final tool of my trade.