July 21, 2010
iPad on the Road -- Part IV
And yet another trip with the iPad. This time a 10-day product review trip to the Honduran island of Roatan. I took along all my dive gear, as well as a boatload of underwater cameras, both of the still and video variety, so luggage space was at a premium.
Unfortunately, this time the iPad didn't save me space and weight by replacing another computer. I had to lug along my big MacBook Pro because it has Quark XPress on it, which I needed for client work. And I had to bring my Acer Aspire One netbook because my Uwatec dive computer needs an IR port to upload dive data. So all three came along, which wasn't all bad.
Needless to say, I turned off the 3G radio on the iPad as soon as I left the US. No need to inadvertently incurring outrageous AT&T data charges. The dive resort on Roatan did have WiFi in the commons area, and so I mostly used the iPad for email and the web because it’s so much handier than a big notebook, and so much quicker than a netbook.
As usual, and even with three million plus sold, the iPad got a lot of attention and I frequently had to do demonstrations and answer questions. The reaction was always the same -- amazement of what all the thing can do, and a resolve to get one as soon as possible.
The iPad came in very handy for uploading all the hundreds of pictures from our underwater cameras via the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit. Stick an SD Card into the adapter, pop it onto the iPad's docking connector, and it will automatically launch the Photos app and ask whether to import pictures, and whether to skip those already loaded. When done, it asks if you want to delete the pics from the card. One annoying glitch was that Photos frequently quit when uploading pictures, usually multiple times during an upload. Nothing was lost, and it picked up where it left off, but still annoying.
Viewing the pictures on the iPad is very gratifying as it's so much faster to pinch and stretch to zoom in and out than using a trackpad or a mouse. It’s an entirely different viewing experience as you can instantly and effortlessly zoom in on things you want to get a closer look at. I didn’t like one thing: the iPad imported my 12mp pictures as 3mp versions in 2048 x 1536 resolution. That means you can’t really use the imported pictures for later editing and printing (unless, of course, you’re satisfied with 3mp pics from your 12mp pic camera).
I also ended up using the Mac for writing review observations and a trip report. This amounted to several thousand words, and it's eminently doable in the Pages word processor on the iPad. Writing on the iPad led to entirely new writing positions... I often found myself lounging on the bed, holding the iPad wedged between my knees, typing along.
Oh, and another benefit: the ever vigilant TSA at airport security never asked we remove the iPad from our carry-on luggage and run it through the scanner in a separate plastic tray. Apparently the iPad is benign, not like those suspicious netbooks and notebooks.