I have to admit, when I first purchased the iPad, I bought it as much because I wanted the latest technology as opposed to some master plan on how I would use the device. However, it has become such an important day-to-day tool, that I even purchased a “man bag” to carry it around.
Why do I love it so much? First, the size is perfect. I kind of felt like Goldilox, the smart phone was too small, the laptop was too big, the iPad is just right. The keyboard is large enough to get some serious typing done. The screen is plenty big to read on, surf the net, and work with different apps. Yet it is small, light, and quick to start up. This last point, instant on, is the next reason I utilize the iPad to an extent I never thought I would.
The instant on feature of the iPad, like on a smart phone, allows it to be a true, all-day every-day tool. I find myself using “to do” apps, checklist apps, mind map apps, note taking, in addition the standard email and calendar functions. These tools are not practical on a laptop since you have to wait for it to load, even from sleep mode. I found the smart phones keyboard and screen were to small to use the tools on anything more than a periodic basis. I literally no longer travel with a notebook – the pen and paper kind.
Now that I am travelling all the time, I get my two main news publications directly on the iPad, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Both have developed very elegant apps for the iPad, and The Economist app even has audio recording of all the stories. This last feature is great when I am doing a late night watch on the boat and I don’t want to get tired reading or affect my night vision by looking at a screen.
This last Christmas I purchased all presents using a wonderful shopping app on the iPad. Our family loves to read, and as I read one to two books a month, the iPad is a great benefit on a boat, when you can not obtain books that often nor would you want to store them.
For sailing, my favorite app is a marine cart-plotting app. It allows you to plan routes with waypoints, determine distance, estimated time, and look for obstacles and anchorages. Everything you can do on a chart plotter, but anyplace. Because of the mobile nature of the iPad, it is not uncommon to find me sitting around a table in some sand, floor beach restaurant with other sailors, planning routes and discussing destinations.