♫ And I’m thinking two is better than one… ♫
Having recently acquired an iPad2, I am just starting to explore how to integrate this tablet into my daily workflow. As with any new gadget, I had questions as to the degree the iPad2 would replace my MacBook or fit into my existing workflow. Surprisingly, I have found that, rather than replacing my MacBook, the iPad has integrated into the workflow quite nicely. So here are the initial steps in my journey with the iPad2:
I realized that using the onboard screen keyboard was not something that I was prepared to use long-term if I was going to use the iPad seriously. So the first thing that I did was to purchase a Kensington iPad wireless keyboard + case:
This provided me with a nice bluetooth keyboard along with a very attractive leather case for carrying and protecting the iPad. The bluetooth setup was straightforward and the iPad ‘discovered’ the keyboard in short order once the settings were turned on in “System Preferences” on the iPad. In addition, the Kensington case props the iPad up on an angle in front of you with the keyboard out level in front. Great for working at a desk but not really suitable for lap-use, since the iPad is just propped up and if you shift or move, this may dislodge the iPad from its ‘groove’ that keeps it upright. But otherwise I love the case and the keyboard. The case is really designed for the original iPad which is thicker, so the iPad2 really needs a small bit of foam between the back of the iPad and the case to keep it tight in the case. Not really a problem.
The second thing I did was to install the Dropbox app onto the iPad. This allows me to have documents on the iPad that have been saved to my shared dropbox folders. This is a great way to achieve file sharing and synchronization between the iPad, my Dropbox and all the documents that I am collaborating on with others. Dropbox is also a great way to get documents to and from my MacBook and the iPad – automatically. The Dropbox app is free.
The third thing I did was to download and install the AirDisplay app that allows me to use the iPad as a second display with my Mac (it also works for PCs). Now this app cost $9.99 but it was worth every penny! Installation on the iPad was straightforward as well as on the Mac (it did require a reboot of the Mac to complete the installation). But now I have a second display wherever I may be! With a battery life of 10 hours, I don’t have to worry about finding an AC outlet to power the second display. Auto-rotation of the iPad is detected, so I can switch from portrait to landscape display simply by turning the iPad (the Kensington case will hold it in both positions, but in landscape it is angled back nicely while portrait mode is vertical unless you can prop it up against something.
But now I can work from dual screens using the Mac and the iPad! Wonderful for getting some serious work done when away from my office. I have become totally hooked on using dual screens and this feature is great. You can ‘drag and drop’ between the Mac and the iPad2, you can resize windows for the iPad display etc. Wonderful way to have your research on one screen (the iPad2) while you work away on the other (the MacBook). There is a slight bit of lag but for drafting purposes it is just fine. Here is a nice YouTube demo of using the AirDisplay:
The fourth thing I did was configure “Mail” on the iPad for my firstname.lastname@example.org email address. Again, this was straightforward and allows me to jump on the iPad and quickly check my mail (using a Wi-Fi connection) rather than pull out the MacBook.
With DropBox and ‘Mail’ enabled on the iPad combined with the Kensington keyboard, I now feel comfortable grabbing the iPad and leaving the MacBook at home in order to attend meetings, conferences and such. For serious work times where you wish to emulate your office environment as much as possible, then using the iPad2 and the MacBook in dual-display modes allows you to feel like you are back at your office with all the trappings.
As a matter of fact, I am thinking that two is better than one….
So now I would love to hear from you on the apps that you find useful on the iPad or tips on how you use the iPad in your work.This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 10:17 am and is filed under I'm a Mac, Make it Work!, Technology, Tips, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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