Tag Archives: ipad2

Should I buy an iPad 2 for my commute?

This isn’t something I’m considering, needless to say, but a question I was asked by an old friend, who predominantly uses Google Apps to run his own business. The short answer is – no if you plan to work on your commute, yes if you plan to play. This is what I told him in more detail:

I have an iPad and I do like it, but I recently switched to a Macbook Air for working on the train (plus 3G card). It’s not the most elegant solution but there’s a few reasons why it made sense for me.

1) Any substantial typing on the iPad is mediocre at best. It’s accurate as you could hope for a touchscreen but you just get tired tapping into a smallish screen if you use a full-size keyboard the rest of the time. You can fix this with a (pricey) keyboard accessory, but this diminishes the elegance and portability of the iPad.

2) File conversion and ‘offline access’ to documents is patchy on Google Docs (not sure there’s an easy way to make it work), and conversion of other people’s docs (Spreadsheets and PPT especially) is generally awful. Depends on the app you use, but there it is.

And why the Macbook is better, although still not perfect.

1) Offline access – quick to get started with offline apps for drafting stuff if 3G is patchy – I use Evernote as well as the more traditional offline productivity tools to draft stuff

2) Full keyboard!

3) Good battery life


1) No built-in sim card slot

2) Expensive

3) Slightly more clunky (although an 11" Macbook air is still pretty sleek)

Overall, though, if you’re using Google Apps bear in mind that Apple and Google are at slight ideological odds – the native iPhone and iPad apps from Google are rarely as good as they are on their Android equivalents. Although there is a Mac Gmail client – Sparrow – that is a thing of awesome beauty and power.

I love the iPad as a media machine – books, TV, etc., – but the Macbook is my true workhorse these days. Well, my personal workhorse – still all PC at the office.

Have you read about Chromebooks? If you’re running Google Apps they might be a better bet for you, I’m not sure.