Well, I made it to Friday – an entire week of using my new iPad as my sole computing device. I set out at the beginning of the week to see if it was feasible to use an iPad as your main computing device at home and at work. Don’t forget to check out my day 1 and day 2 articles and check out my conclusion at the end of the week in the paragraphs below.
Days 3,4,5 – Settling into a Routine
The last three days of the week saw a couple of regular school days (again, I work as a teacher and principal) and a day of giving presentations to other teachers about using the iPad in school classrooms. Through these three days I stuck with using the iPad as my only device.
Because my computer work consisted of typing up basic documents and designing a Keynote presentation, the rest of the week went flawlessly using the iPad. With my Apple Bluetooth keyboard, I felt as if my typing was just as fast as it always is. After teaching myself some of the keyboard shortcuts to select and edit text, I didn’t find myself needing to reach up to the screen as often, and this sped up my work even more.
One More Snag – Sending Out Mass Emails
I did run into one last snag at the end of the week. As the principal, I often have to send out mass emails to families of our school. On the iPad, there is no built in quick way to send out a mass email to a large number of individuals.
After a quick App Store search, I came across a free app called Mail2Group. This app allows you to make groups of your contacts to quickly send out mass emails. Thanks to this app, I was able to send out the mass email to the school parents without a hitch. However, Mail2Group, while free, is a very limited function group mail app. There were other group email apps available at a cost on the App Store, and I plan on researching them and purchasing one that will allow me to send group emails more effectively and with more available options.
Thankfully, the App store was able to remedy this problem for me, or this could have been a deal breaker for me as far as using the iPad as my main machine.
An Effective and Hassle Free Presentation Machine
I was a little nervous to rely solely on the iPad when making a presentation to a group of teachers at a conference at the end of this week. For presentations in the past, I had always relied on my trusty Macbook Air. Ironically, the presentation I was making was on implementing and effectively using iPads in the classroom. Using a iPad to deliver the presentation was an ideal way to demonstrate the exciting power of the iPad to the group of teachers I spoke to.
The presentation went off without a hitch. I brought along my Apple TV to connect to the projector in the room and connected my iPad wirelessly to the projector via the Apple TV. Normally, I have to make sure my MacBook Air is plugged in as it does not have the longest battery life, nor do I usually begin with a full battery. Despite using my iPad all morning before my presentation, I confidently went to the conference without any charger. Knowing my iPad has 10-12 hours of battery life, I knew that I would have more than enough battery to get be through the day and my presentation as well. This gave me one less thing to worry about. It is great not to have to do a desperate search for a nearby outlet when on the road.
The fact that I was able to let my audience know that I had put together the presentation completely on the iPad added emphasis to my message at the conference that the iPad is a powerful educational tool for schools. I had multiple people approach me after the presentation who were curious about how I was able to display my my iPad screen wirelessly to the projector and get by during the presentation without any plugs or cables.
My New Main Computer
After my full week of using the iPad as my sole computing device, I have to say I am impressed at what the iPad is able to do when pushed to the limit. I will be using the iPad as my main computing device going forward.
Notice, I did not say the iPad would continue to be my sole computing device. I do plan on using the desktop computers available at my work and home to do the heavier computing jobs and multiple document editing work that can frustrate on the iPad. However, during the week I found out that I can easily do about 90% of my work enjoyably and sometimes even more conveniently on my iPad.
I love being able to carry around my main device like a book all day. Typically, during the day as I teach and move around the building at work, I don’t have any need for a full keyboard. Before and after work, when I need to do serious typing, I seamlessly connect my Bluetooth keyboard and type away.
Granted, your experience will vary depending on the type or work you do and your own computing needs. However, I am convinced that many people could successfully use the iPad as a main device.
At this point, the iPad still isn’t a machine that can be used for 100% of all computing work, and I wouldn’t recommend selling off your desktop or laptop computer. I am convinced, though, that it is possible to leave the bigger, battery sucking devices behind, and still be productive on the iPad.
This being the case, I don’t really see a need for most people to buy the 128GB iPad. If you still need another computer around for doing the heavy lifting, you may as well use that computer to store all of your photos, videos, and other collections of files. Buying a smaller capacity iPad and carrying around your important day to day files is a much cheaper option that most people will be able to get by with – even if most of their computing us done on the iPad.
Verdict: The iPad can be an effective main computer, but don’t toss away your other device just yet.