I promised to follow up with you on whether or not I survived a 2-week+ road trip using just my iPad® and its attached keyboard. Here are my impressions on being entirely mobile:
- Did I like being fast and loose? Yes.
- Did I like being able to pull up email, the Web, my calendar and anything else I wanted anywhere I could find a hotspot? Yes.
- Did I like the “instant on” feature? Yes.
- Did I like responding to email, typing and editing business documents on a tablet (even using my stylus and the pdf-notes app)? No, no and no.
First, full disclosure: I’ve had the Belkin keyboard for some time and bought it both for its utility as a keyboard and to protect the iPad. Unfortunately, the more I’ve used it the more I’ve realized that it adds way too much weight to the iPad’s light frame and it doesn’t always connect when you need it to. In fact, I’ve found it functions best as a heavy stand. I didn’t like typing on it due to the difference in its concentrated key placement (backspace becomes delete). After a while I got somewhat used to it, but never fully comfortable.
That being said, I found the built-in, on-screen keypad on the iPad to be challenging. I never quite took to typing with two hands and ended up mostly typing with one or two fingers. This caused me to spend more time and effort thinking about my typing and distracted me from my pithy messages. So in short, the usually exceptionally high quality of my communications suffered.
Coming home from my trip I see that Apple has released the new iPad Pro with its 12.9” screen (which is approaching the screen size and power of its Macbook® Air laptops. They’re also getting ready to add a soft keyboard/stand combination and best of all they’re finally including a stylus called the Pencil – something that various apps have needed but wasn’t built into the basic OS.
Obviously Apple is onto something. People love the thin footprint of the Macbook Air line but need the convenience of a keyboard. It’s not as simple as putting a touchscreen on the Air itself and finding some way to underfold or detach the keyboard (like the Toshiba Portege) although I think that would be pure Apple genius. Perhaps the new, wider footprint will allow for a more natural onscreen keyboard. We’ll see.
But I’m not sure that a bigger tablet is what I want to plunge into my backpack, so instead I’m going to wait for the iPad Air 3 to come out (either later this fall or in early spring) or maybe grab one of the new Microsoft® Surface® Pro 4 models. In the meantime, the next time I leave the country it’ll be with my trusty old iPad but I’m leaving the Belkin keyboard at home.
Keep on Techin’,
P.S. Comment and share whether or not you can live on a tablet alone and if so, what do you like about it.