When I go away, I tend to take my MacBook Pro laptop with me in case I need to do some light computer work whilst I’m not at home. This year, however, the MacBook Pro has stayed on my desk, replaced by the Apple iPad, which has been accompanying me on my various summer ventures instead.
Before using the iPad as my main computing device when away from home, I had a few doubts over whether it could do everything I’d use my laptop for, but I shortly came to realise that the iPad is a very capable machine in its own right. Admittedly, my needs aren’t as demanding as others may be, but Apple’s tablet device has proved to be a worthy match for many of the tasks I’ve used it for.
Of course, first on the list for many people is browsing the web. Most of us spend the majority of the day in our browser and it’s undoubtedly one of the most important applications on your machine. For me, the web browsing experience on iPad is one of the best I’ve had, with web pages looking great on the 9.7″ display.
Naturally, the lack of Flash may be an issue for some, but if you’ve got a jailbroken iPad, you could be enjoying Flash on your tablet device without much hassle. Apple now seems a little more relaxed about the possibility of third party browsers in the App Store as well, so we could well be able to use a different browser on the iPad just like you can now use the Opera iPhone app on your “iPad Mini” (or shall I say iPhone/iPod Touch), depending on whether developers feel it’s worhtwhile investing the time in creating the iPad apps.
Out of the box, your options for office work are limited to the Notes application that ships with iOS, however, as Apple loves to remind us, there’s an app for just about anything on this platform of theirs. Need a word processor? The Pages iPad app has you covered. Want to work on a spreadsheet or presentation? Take a look at Numbers and Keynote. Of course these are not quite as fully featured as their desktop counterparts (yet), but they’ll definitely do the job you’re looking for. If you want to find out more about these applications, you can check out our reviews.
There are some things that you couldn’t accomplish using the iPad as well as you could on a computer running a desktop operating system, such as professional video editing, or some serious Photoshop work. Although people needing a computer for something as intensive as Adobe Creative Suite most probably wouldn’t consider the iPad as their main computer for a prolonged period of time anyway. However, for users looking for some light image manipulation, there are plenty of apps to be found on the App Store that should fit the bill just fine – there’s even some developments that might see the possibility of using an iPad Stylus for pressure-sensitive drawing.
All things considered, I still feel incredibly productive using the iPad over my laptop and it’ll only get better once that iOS 4 multi-tasking update arrives onto the iPad.
Overall, The Internet looks great, email looks brilliant with the default iOS Mail app, and if you’re really stuck, you could always use a service such as LogMeIn Ignition iPad app to take a look at your desktop PC anyway!
Could you use the iPad or another tablet in favour of your laptop whilst you’re away from home? Or is there just that one desktop application that you can’t leave behind? As always, let us know in the comments!