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Thoughts on iPad on the go

I’ve suddenly discovered the iPad is deadly convenient for books and movies. Instead of milling around Barnes & Noble or waiting for a 2-day FedEx from Amazon, I can one-click order things and they show up via the Kindle app on the iPad. Want to watch a movie? It’s usually right there with Netflix streaming.

It’s almost perfect for air travel. In the air, it’s very convenient to stuff in a seat back pocket, or go through email or read an e-book without worrying about the guy in the seat in front of me leaning back and crushing my laptop screen or praying for a seat with a power connector.

In the terminal, it’s another story. The lack of multitasking is annoying. Fire up irc, nobody chatting, want to switch over to email? Gotta quit irc and miss anything new. It’s not clear that it will ever really be solved due to Apple being very particular on what they’ll allow in the background (audio, location, application suspension). But, the upshot with 3G, suck it $7.95/day airport wireless.

Google Maps is handy on the road. My Garmin StreetPilot doesn’t have a lot of details in places like Grand Tetons National Park. With the iPad I can fire up Google Maps for more detail, including topological contours. Amusingly without rotation lock on, turn a corner and the screen flips. Unfortunately, as I discovered with the iPhone last year, the places you generally really need a map in, there’s no cellular coverage.

Apparently the iPad also requires some serious juice to charge. More than once I’ve noticed that plugging the iPad into my MacBook it tells me it’s not charging. I don’t know if this is because the MBP is drawing all the charge to its own batteries first, or a limitation of the USB port. Plug it into the wall, it’s happy.

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