Have iPad. Will Travel.

This blog is called Independent Knowledge Professional for a reason. It’s where the action is in our crazy global, info-everywhere world. Workers don’t necessarily work at work anymore. They work wherever they need to or want to. It just so happens that an iPad fits in really, really well in this environment.

Part 1 – Have iPad. The iPad is the Post-PC device Steve Jobs envisioned and created a year ago with the help of his awesome team at Apple. Steve hires the best of the best and they pretty much eat sleep and breathe the excellence cocktail Steve has brewed for them. Forget about the iPod and the iPhone for a minute. Those were a starter set of tools for our mobile selves.

Now we’ve got the big brother or sister of iPhone 4 to make our way in the world. The iPad and its newer companion the iPad 2, are personal devices. They aren’t really like the *big* computers we’ve grown up on.

PCs. I’ve got the smallest *big* computer I can think as my main Mac: the new Macbook Air. I got my first one in November 2009 and didn’t look back. The Air is a little like taking a sow’s ear and seeing if you can make a silk purse out it. I would say, Apple succeeded admirably with the Air. I liked the slightly limited gen 2 Air and now am in love with the 4th gen Air I’m writing on right now.

By the way, I’m writing in bed. I do have one of those chairlike pillows to lean up against, but this Air can do writing in bed quite nicely thanks. So, I don’t want you to think that you will never want to use a computer again. And, I want you to see that we aren’t in Kansas with a big honking desktop PC, chained to the desk – even before iPad.

Part 2 – Will Travel. We have moved on, out, around the house, on the bed, the sofa and the kitchen table. We’ve moved out to the local coffee shops of all stripes en masse.

Knowledge professionals working fulltime jobs (probably a minority but it still happens) often bring their own laptops to work and back every day. Some take the work laptop home if the company supplies nice laptops. The main point of all this is we are mobile in our computing and have been. Things just keep moving in that direction.

The word computer is getting stretched a bit thin these days. It is true that the iPhone, for example, is a computer. It’s small and sexy and has a phone and all sorts of sensors and extras on it, but its still a computer.

Most cell phones seem to be on their way to becoming smartphones. When smartphones grow up they become mobile computers that are also phones. Calling isn’t the only way people communicate these days. Look at those Blackberry folks thumb-typing to beat the band. They are into email and will talk to you on the phone if they have to. Texting is popular across the globe at this point. Social communications on tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a whole slew of others seem to consume a lot of people’s time as well. This is going to keep getting more interesting as the phone continues to morph.

So, that leads to the question, what does the iPad have to do with any of this? Steve says its the car to your PC pickup truck. He says it can do a lot and is easy to keep with you all the time. That’s true by the way. I can testify that keeping an iPad with you almost continuously is something that is not only possible but desirable. The iPad is the daytimer or clipboard of our decade.

The iPad is new and Apple took the opportunity to make a new iOS with different rules and tools. They didn’t play nice like us lazy humans wanted. They didn’t do cool new stuff but also stick every single standard thing we’ve become accustomed to on computers into the container. They said no again. That darned Steve and his minimalism. He just won’t quit on that no stuff.

So, with an iPad you don’t have a USB connector at all!!! It is heresy of the first water to deny people of USB ports. What will we do with all our usb sticks not to mention the 101 USB devices we purchased with our hard-earned money? I ask you.

And forget about a file system you can navigate around in and set up folders wherever you want. No way. The file system is there but you don’t get to play in that fun little sandbox. Every app has its own place for files hidden in the back somewhere. All we get is a way to send files from App A to App B. To send email attachments to Apps that can deal with them. It is not seamless no matter what Steve says.

So, just take my word for it that you won’t be able to just run with an iPad as a smaller, thinner laptop sans the keyboard. You can’t. You have to learn new things and all the pieces are not perfectly synchronized yet. Remember how long it took to get copy and paste on the iPhone?

In spite of all that inconvenience, the iPad is a resounding mega hit. Apple sold so many iPads in 9 months that they almost made as much money there as they made selling all models of the Macintosh. Something is going on here and even Steve’s marketing and incessant commercials couldn’t do that if the product wasn’t pretty phenomenal.

I’m writing this on the Sunday after the international launch of iPad 2 in 25 countries on Friday. The lines were really long. And happily lots and lots of people brought home shiny new iPad 2’s. Even with Scalpers running amok buying up iPads to sell in the rest of the world that hasn’t gotten lucky yet.

I am starting to think that the PC as we’ve known it was longer in the tooth than we realized. The PC is 30 years old and sure its gotten faster, has bigger screens, has applications that can jump through all sorts of hoops. Maybe the time has come for something a bit off the charts. Something smaller, lighter, more personable and human-friendly. That’s the iPad.

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