the ipad experiment

April 18, 2010 | 4 Comments

This week, I’m leaving my laptop in my home office.

We’ll see how effective I can be with an iPad alone. Well, not completely alone. I’ll also be carrying my bluetooth keyboard, and the $2 business card holder I picked up to hold up the iPad. (Works great in landscape mode, tips over backward in portrait mode.)

To see what this means for me, it will help you to understand what my week looks like. My work life is spent between two part-time jobs, plus my side projects. I spend most mornings working from a coffee shop. My primary focus in this time is my role as the pastor of a startup church community, so much of the time is focused on study, planning, email, and face to face meetings.

My afternoon is usually spent at home working as a freelance webdesigner, specializing in WordPress sites. I bring my laptop home and plug it into a monitor for this time. Sprinkled through my day, and more heavily in the evenings, I work on some side projects, like this blog and some other writing or website projects.

Most days don’t segment out so cleanly, but that is my general flow.

My laptop is going to become a desktop for the week, anchored to the monitor in my home office. It will still be my primary machine for design work. I can’t promise I won’t drag it to the couch once or twice, but I’m not going to leave the house with it. I have a diverse week ahead — one client meeting, one network meeting, a few one on ones — so I think it will be a good test for the iPad.

I can tell you now what I’m most concerned about: using only the iPhone version of OmniFocus, and functioning without LaunchBar and Yojimbo. I did drag some essential notes into Evernote to sync with their iPad app, and I’m also checking for SimpleNote for iPad everyday. (I’ve been incorporating Notational Velocity and SimpleNote into my workflow, but that’s another post.)

I’ll report back at the end of the week how it goes, and maybe drop in an update or two along the way. (Afterall, I do have the WordPress app.)

  • Justin

    I was wondering how long it would be before laptops and desktops would only be needed for heavy work – I was thinking this pre-iPad, but now that it’s out, I’ll be interested to see the results of your test. I’m particularly interested in how it would work over a several-week period, e.g. if you were traveling and wanted to stay connected and still get stuff done (other than, you know, design work).

  • John

    Yep. I think it will be good for a lot of light work or preliminary work for bigger projects. In fact, I like that it will limit my multitasking, so that I can focus on he tasks at hand.

  • Cool man. Sounds like a good experiment. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts at the end of the week.

  • Hey John, good experiment– I’ll be watching to see how it turns out.

    I have decided that, for now, an iPad can’t replace my MacBook Pro for my work. As a Pastor, I’m constantly multitasking on the computer– for example, I write my sermons and teaching notes in OmniOutliner with heavy use of Accordance running in a second window; likewise, I plan worship liturgies in a Bento database, while using PDFs of sourcebooks, a couple of key websites, and frequent searches in DevonThink. In short: the way I “do” technology in ministry, I need multitasking of applications (and preferably two monitors).

    Now, a lot of that is coming: OmniOutliner is on the way, and so is DevonThink. Bento is already there. AND, iPhone OS 4.0 will bring true multitasking. In six months, maybe a year, it might be possible to replace my laptop with an iPad. But even then, I wonder whether I will even want to; my (new) Macbook Pro will easily last another 3-4 years before I need to reconsider my approach. And with lots of text and aging eyes, I appreciate bigger screens these days, not smaller ones!