As my wife was on holiday in the States a couple of weeks ago, she very kindly offered to pick up an iPad for me while she was there. I had to do a talk on the subject and having the real thing would make a big difference.
After countless phone calls to Apple stores all over Chicago, she came back with the Wi-Fi 32GB version in white.
To run the iPad you need iTunes on your PC or Mac and at this time you can’t update from the iPad iStore as it gripes about you being outside of America but you can update via iTunes on your PC.
On power-up the unit wants to talk to the free iTunes program and gives you the opportunity to restore from your iPhone backup or go for a new installation – I chose the latter and it installed most of the apps from my iPhone – yes, you get to use apps twice.
Of course the TomTom app isn’t going to do you much good without a GPS and the basic iPad has neither GPS nor Cellnet capability – it is Wi-Fi only. But that’s not necessarily a burden.
The unit had been charged in the US so 20 minutes after the box was opened I had a working iPad and for the better part of the day I ran video, installed programs, moved things about and generally kept it busy.
Ten hours later, the unit was showing 20 per cent power so the adverts are right – it will do a 10-hour day with no power. And it runs cool all the time – no noise, no heat. Beats my laptop hands down in that area.
That said, it’s not a replacement for a laptop as you only get to store the last few days’ email. From a business perspective, however, it opens up the possibility of attending paperless meetings without having to give everyone a mains socket. The announcement that the operating system upgrade later this year will offer multiple Exchange accounts will be a godsend to some.
The best application from a business perspective has to be Goodreader, which will interface to a variety of sources including FTP, WebDAV, Google Docs and even SharePoint to get your documents.
I could give a lot more detail but the videos at the Apple web site pretty much say it all: simple, fast, elegant – but don’t throw away that laptop.
Peter Scargill is the national IT chairman of the Federation of Small Business