About six months ago I bought an iPad. I bought it as a toy. I don’t have a television and I’d thought I’d get a laptop but my oldest son kept saying “Mom, get an iPad.” Finally, mostly to shut him up I headed for my local Apple Store.
I was entranced with the device. The screen is so bright, the colors so clear.
After about an hour’s demonstration I headed off to look at laptops, but as I was exiting the store I asked myself which device would I rather have in a hotel room – a five to seven pound laptop or the less than two pound iPad? Which made better sense, a device that had a battery life of a couple of hours or one that works for eight hours or more (lots more) per charge?
It was clear to me that the iPad would make a better traveling companion. I did an about face and bought the thing, complete with a leather cover that helps it stand up. The truth is I don’t travel much, but was able to justify my decision that way.
And sure enough it’s a great toy. Because it’s a wireless device, as soon as I set up a wireless network at home, which these days is a cinch, I began stream movies, play games, get clips of the Daily Show and follow many of my favorite websites and blogs from the comfort of my living room – exactly what I intended.
From Toy To Business Use
But the darn thing is insidious. Gradually I’ve gotten more and more work done on it as well.
I started with simple lists using the Notes app that came with it.
Then I discovered I could email manuscripts to myself using my gmail account (gmail is the default email program on the iPad) and read them on the iPad. That meant I could move to the living room or out on my deck to read, making notes as I go.
Finally I bought Pages for all of $10 and I’ve got an almost full-fledged word processor that’s compatible with Word. I’m still exploring all I can do with that.
I’ve also made a dent in those .pdfs I’ve always meant to read. Now I email them to myself and read them on the iPad away from my office computer. Makes them almost a pleasure.
When it comes to ebooks, I’ve got a Kindle reader, a Nook reader and several others as well. The colorful screen isn’t quite as good as e-ink because I have to be careful of glare, but that’s mostly a small problem. Since I’m getting ready to launch an ebook blog, being able to read in multiple formats is a real plus for me. And having color is a plus with some ebooks.
Brining my iPad to a coffee shop is way kwel too. I’ve yet to open it up and turn it on without someone asking me about it. A great way to meet folks.
Is an iPad a must-have tool for a freelance writer? Not quite. The on-screen keyboard is hardly adequate for real writing, and adding a keyboard like the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard and Case for iPad is an additional but worthwhile expense. Even then, so far there isn’t a truly ergonomic keyboard for it.
The glare from that brilliant screen is a, well a trade off. The outstanding color apparently requires some glare. I’ve found turning down the brightness helps when I plan to do a bunch of reading.
And all those apps! They are so easy to buy. I solved this problem by not buying any for the first month and then going very carefully. There are enough free apps to keep you happy for years.
No, you don’t need an iPad, but one is sure a nice-to-have for any freelance writer.
What computer or device do you take traveling or to the coffee shop?
Write well and often,
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