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Why did my iPad Fail as a Laptop Replacement During my Vacation?

on October 19, 2010 11:19 am

I just returned from a very nice vacation in Sanibel Island, Florida. If you’ve never visited, you should seriously consider it… trust me. I decided to conduct a little experiment and did not take along my trusty Macbook Pro. Instead, I made my iPad serve as my only computer traveling companion for the trip. I thought for sure it would perform perfectly as a laptop replacement. I was wrong, it didn’t. But was it the iPad’s fault, my fault, or a little of both? Keep reading and see if you can help me come up with an answer to that question…

First of all, vacations for me are never unplugged. I don’t even know the meaning of being unplugged. Just the thought of it sends shivers down my spine. If I didn’t do some ‘work’ while on vacation, I would be constantly worrying about how full my inbox was becoming and what important messages I was missing. So the first thing I do when Jeanne starts making vacation travel plans is to make sure that the place where we’re going to stay provides WiFi access. Actually, I don’t even have to ask her to do that anymore. A few years ago we ended up at a motel that had really pathetic wireless and I was not a happy camper the entire time. So in order not to deal with my pouting, she puts that requirement at the top of her accommodations criteria list.

But even when we’re told that a place has WiFi, there’s still a worry that it will have crummy coverage and speed. For this trip I planned ahead and brought a loaner Verizon MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot as a backup WiFi device. I could have turned on the mobile hotspot feature on my Droid X, but I didn’t want to pay the extra $20 and I already had a MiFi to try out anyway.

For extended typing sessions, I dug out my old ThinkOutside Folding Bluetooth Keyboard to bring along.

It even has a built in stand that works (barely) to hold the iPad in landscape orientation as you type.

To convert the iPad into a laptop replacement, I figured that I’d not only need a physical keyboard, but also a mouse. But Julie, mice don’t work with the iPad you say… You’re right, they won’t work with a stock iPad, but they will with a jailbroke iPad ;) Since my iPad had not been updated to the latest version of the OS (it’s still running 3.2.1), I was able to very easily jailbreak it using JailbreakMe.com which takes about 5 minutes to do. Then installing the free BTstack Mouse app from Cydia, I was able to pair a Bluetooth mouse with the iPad. I tested both the keyboard and mouse with my iPad before I left on my trip and both worked great. I felt confident that I’d be able to do some real work while I was away from my iMac and Macbook Pro.

There was only one other ‘problem’ that I needed a solution for, and that was how to offload images from my Canon SD1100 digital camera to the iPad. Instead of ordering the $29.00 Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, I opted for a $7.99 application called ShutterSnitch that allows wireless transfers of images from EyeFi cards to the iPad. I love EyeFi cards and have never had problems with them, so I figured this would be a much more elegant solution than packing  another little gadget in my gear bag. Again, I tested the app with my camera and existing EyeFi card before leaving for my trip. Transfers seemed a little slow, but the setup worked just fine.

So with gear packed, we flew to Fort Myers, Florida and drove the short distance to Sanibel Island. The first thing I did when we reached our condo, was to check my Droid X signal strength to see if the Verizon MiFi would work well there. Unfortunately, it couldn’t hear me now. Signal strength varied considerably moment to moment inside the room and voice calls were choppy. Luckily the provided free WiFi access on the property was very very good, so I ended up stowing the MiFi for the week. It did end up working great on the travel day home, when we were stuck at the airport for about 3hrs.

During our week long stay in Sanibel, I mainly used the iPad for two things – email and surfing. For emails, I used either Apple’s built in Mail program or Gmail’s mobile site through Safari. I use Gmail for domains and both options work well. I tend to prefer Apple’s email client because it will show the email in full screen instead of the two pane view that Gmail’s mobile site has through Safari. I can say that for email, the iPad works very well. Even using the onscreen touch keyboard is not a bad experience. Jeanne (who typically loathes touch screen devices) even wrote a pretty long email to her soon to be 94yr old grandma and didn’t complain about it. That’s saying a lot!

For surfing, I have been using Safari and haven’t had any major complaints about it till I actually tried to do some real work with it last week. For surfing regular sites, it works just fine. I don’t play Flash games or typically visit sites with embedded flash video, so the lack of Flash hasn’t bugged me. But as soon as I wanted to work on some of my gadgeteer articles using the site’s wordpress admin dashboard in Safari, I ran into problems. The first one was minor – the traffic stats box didn’t show up. Guess why? It uses Flash. Darnit!

The next problem I ran into was more serious and not related to Flash. The visual editor is not available when you use Safari. So I can write / edit articles as long as I do it in HTML mode. I know HTML, but I’d rather not write in that view thank you very much.

Yes, I do know about the WordPress iPad app and I had it installed… But last week when I decided to do use it after Safari let me down, the app decided to crash on me. I’d click the icon and it would launch the app, show me a list of articles and then immediately pop back to the home / icon list view. The first thing I did was delete it and then reinstall it. That allowed the app to launch, but only comments showed up correctly. When I would try to view a list of posts, it would cause a 500 internal server popup error message. Grrrrr… And of course you can’t edit visually through the app anyway. :(

Oh well, so much for working during vacation ;) By the way, I just discovered (maybe I’m just late to the party) another browser called Atomic Web Browser. So far it’s really nice and I love that you can surf in full screen mode and it has tabs across the top of the page instead of another screen that you have to flip to. It doesn’t solve the issues mentioned above, but the extra features that it does offer are winning me over fast. The lite version is free, but I’m definitely going to buy the full version since it’s only 99 cents.

Ok, so I couldn’t easily work on blog posts with my iPad, so I gave up working while on vacation. Next up, how about offloading my digital images from my camera to the iPad so that we could look at them on the larger screen. Guess what? ShutterSnitch decided to NOT work at all for me. At this point, I felt like the gadget gods were frowning on me or something… From reading the ShutterSnitch forums, some people have had problems with the app and various wireless routers. Whenever I would try to transfer images the iPad would not see the EyeFi card no matter how close together the two devices were positioned. As soon as I came home and tried it, it worked fine. Go figure.

Why did the iPad fail as a laptop replacement? I guess I claim a tiny bit of the blame because I tried to make it work at a task it wasn’t really designed for. I had to jailbreak it to get it to work with a mouse. But I blame Apple for the lack of Flash (yeah, we’ve all heard the arguments on both sides for this one) and I have to complain about the WordPress app and ShutterSnitch apps.

I still love my iPad for emailing, game playing and web surfing, but I will most likely bring a real laptop with me on my next trip. What started as an experiment to lighten my gear load, ended up causing me to carry more items (iPad, mouse, keyboard) and have more frustration than if I would have just brought my Macbook Pro with me in the first place. Live and learn.

Comments

  1. 1
    Jeff says:

    This is why I haven’t done the jailbreaking on my iPad.

    Anyone I know that has done it has had new problems I’ve never had.

    In your case, the ShutterSnitch app worked BEFORE you jailbroke the iPad, but didn’t after.

    Leaving mine stock. But I do pack a netbook just in case on my trips.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    @Jeff No, I should have made it clear that the ShutterSnitch app worked fine before and after jailbreaking. It just didn’t work while I was in Florida. So I’m guessing it might have something to do with the wireless router that the condo uses.

  3. 3
    Pip says:

    The people who have been banging the Flash drum haven’t been making stuff up. Nearly EVERY major site uses Flash. You can’t check out what shows are playing at major hotels, casinos, venues while on vacation. You can’t check restaurant menus while on vacation. You can’t design your own cars on any automakers site. The browser in the iPad/iPod has always been completely crippled because of the lack of Flash for use in the real world, going to real sites.

    While everyone else says they don’t need Flash games, or Flash video, or Flash crashes this, or crashes that. It’s all irrelevant, if you want to do anything on the web, you need Flash for almost everything these days. That is a fact. It’s been that way for such a long time. Web 2.0 wont be replacing this stuff for a decade at the very least. I know I am coming across as a Flash fanboy, but I’m just stating the facts. Sit down with the iPad and browse major sites and it’s right there in front of you. You need Flash.

    Also, as far as pictures go. You’re better off just buying a few 2GB cards for $5 each. Memory cards are so cheap now that offloading your storage isn’t necessary. Any local drugstore has them.

  4. 4
    Gareth Jones says:

    We took an Ipad to europe with us this summer. Once we managed to get a sim card to work ( they kept wanting us to *live* there..) it was great. My wife used it to keep up with emails at work when her blackberry decided not to receive emails. As for web sites that didn’t want to co-operate – I used VNC back to my home pc and used a full firefox browser to do a lot of that. While slightly frustrating (there is no good way to right mouse button with the light version) I could do almost anything I needed to remotely

    Add vnc to the mix of tools you take on your ipad and many of the problems go away (yeah – not your pictures – but – we bought the camera kit).

  5. 5
    Jackie Cheng says:

    Glad you jailbreak your ipad. I’ve been using mine as a laptop replacement when I travel in between offices. It works great since most of the things I do is web based. Plus we created an in-house app to access our corporate network and databases. And if I do need to access something on a windows pc then I can always use the logmein app for that.

  6. 6
    GODMODE says:

    It’s ALL your fault!

  7. 7
    Aphoid says:

    The iPad worked great for us on a recent European trip. We were able to connect to WiFi in many places, play games, read books, surf the web, email, etc. The lack of flash didn’t bother us in the least, at least in that context (the big place we miss it is due to the lack of regular “Hulu” on the iPad).

    The Camera Connection kit worked flawlessly and didn’t depend on the local WiFi and we could use it wherever we wanted. You can connect a USB keyboard with it rather than having to jailbreak and use Bluetooth.

    Also, using it we were able to view and share pictures the same day, rather than having to wait to get home to our computers. It’s not a matter of storage for offloading.

    It sounds to me like your biggest complaint is due to the WordPress app failing and Mobile Safari not being a full desktop replacement to make up for it. I suspect that it is likely the EyeFi wouldn’t have worked with a laptop either.

  8. 8

    FWIW, I think the issue with the EyeFi card might have come from two sources. One is that if I remember correctly from when I set up my own EyeFi, you have to configure it for the SSID of the networks it is allowed to use, and the only way you can do that is with the special USB device and software that came with it. So it would work if you were on your home network, but not on a random open hotspot.

    Another possibility is that the hotel hotspot might have been configured to block traffic (either all of it, or the broadcasts that the EyeFi uses to find its upload host) between clients on the wireless LAN as a security measure.

  9. 9
    Andy Simmons says:

    Sounds like — Flash problems aside — your problems were the fault of specific third-party apps.

    Like you, I took my iPad in lieu of a laptop on my vacation a couple of weeks ago, and aside from Flash issues (I still don’t get restaurants that decide to do their entire website in Flash), I didn’t miss having a laptop one bit.

  10. 10
    BJN says:

    “Ok, so I couldn’t easily work on blog posts with my iPad, so I gave up working while on vacation.”

    If that’s the result, I’d say your mess of technology was a success. If it takes device and app failure to get you away from the cloud and into enjoying a vacation in the real world, may you never find that perfect travel umbilical.

  11. 11
    Jeff says:

    I use LogMeIn to my home computer quite often because the iPad doesn’t support Flash. I use my Google Chrome and Firefox on my home PC just fine within LogMeIn. (the app is $29.99, but the service can be free depending on how you’re using it)

  12. 12
    Mike says:

    That is why V1 of the iPad fails. It needs Flash and USB/Memory card slots. It’s not a great device if you need ‘hacks’ to get it do what you need it to do.

  13. 13
    Dan McNutt says:

    I was going to make the same suggestion Jeff did. I use LogMeIn through a web browser all the time. I haven’t grabbed the app yet. First because I used to have first gen iPhone (heard it didn’t run well on older hardware) now I think the screen may be too small for my new iPhone. Now for an iPad, and seeing how you got a mouse working on it I’m sure it would work pretty well. Maybe you could do a review? Thanks for sharing your experience Julie.

  14. 14
    Martin says:

    I really REALLY don’t get this iPad hype. “Yeah, I will carry only my iPad so I don’t have to lug around a laptop. And a Bluetooth keyboard. And a Bluetooth mouse. And a special carrying case. And a stand for the entire setup.”

    If they made the iPad with a keyboard that has kind of a hinge, then you could close up the keyboard over the screen like a clam when you travel. I bet they could put some kind of mousepad on the keyboard part too, so you don’t have to move the hand up on the screen for clicking.

  15. 15
    a.don.is says:

    Thats odd about the WordPress app. Ive been using it to blog from my Ipad since its first inception and love it! I pretty much blog exclusively on my iPad now LOL Of course mine is still stock. No jailbreaking here. Once you change the environment these apps were designed to run in, you open yourself up to all types of error weirdness :)

  16. 16
    mts says:

    I’m sorry but this was a rather useless article in that you complain about a device that wasn’t necessarily built to be a laptop replacement, nor work with a mouse (it is a TOUCH device) and it was jailbroken. And you expected all software to work as it would had you not messed with the iOS? What an odd way to review the use a device.

  17. 17

    iPad is a consumer device that is borderline useless for creative work. Without flash, mouse support and esp without USB it will forever remain as a toy.

  18. 18
    Julie says:

    @Pip I wasn’t wanting to offload the images just for storage, it was mainly so we’ve have the ability to view them on a larger display.

    @Gareth and others that mentioned VNC and Logmein. I don’t know why I didn’t think of using one of those options. I’ve used the free version of LogMeIn before at my day job.

    @Aphoid I think that and the camera connection kit is probably the best way to go in the log run. You have to have an internet connection to use ShutterSnitch. The adapter would be a no headache way to transfer pix.

    @Rob I’m going to try the EyeFi / ShutterSnitch again tonight with the Verizon MiFi and see if it works. I’ll report my findings…

    @BJN ;)

    @Dan good idea. Maybe I should write up both VNC and Logmein.

    @a.don.is and MTS The WordPress app worked fine before I left for my trip on my jailbroke iPad. So I don’t know the heck ‘killed’ it so that it won’t work now.

    As far as the article being useless, I think it might be helpful for some people to read about experiences trying to make the iPad do more than it was meant to do.

  19. 19
    crquetzals says:

    Another chink in Julie’s “Apple armour”? First the iPhone to Droid and now the iPad has limitations…What is Steve Jobs coming to? Next will be an ASUS ePad replacing her iPad next January… ;-) have a great day Julie lol

  20. 20
    Andrew Baker says:

    Yes the eyefi cards are known for their issues in 2.5ghz swamped areas. They run at such low powers, higher power AP and other 2.5ghz devices will either destroy the speed (due to unclean signals and packet re-requests) or a link can not be established at all.

    Alot of hotels will blanket the entire area with wifi access-points on all channels to insure the guests have not problems connecting. But this plays havoc with lower power wifi devices.

    Other devices in the 2.5ghz band that may cause problems, are fire alarms, wifi, bluetooth, entertainment systems for inhouse TV’s, and cordless phones.

  21. 21
    Andrew Baker says:

    I should also not this is not really an EyeFi problem, This is simply a High Power vs. Low power transmit battle. Low will always loose. This is a limitation of the physics in the technology, not the product itself.

  22. 22
    Julie says:

    @crquetzals I moved to the Droid X from the iPhone because of AT&T, not the iPhone. I will probably get an iPhone again if/when they finally come to Verizon. :)

    @Andrew That could be it. I do know that there were access points on every floor of the condo. So maybe things were saturated. I’m anxious to see if works tonight when I test it with the Verizon MiFi.

  23. 23
    FUCHIKOMA.X says:

    anyone else notice how everything that would have been nice to use required a fee from the app store? Basic Windows, Unix with web cam, Open Office, Fire fox and flash ability on a net book, problems solved with more options rocking a six cell battery with field serviceable parts like the HDD and memory and SD cards. no contest there.

  24. 24
    JAVOedge says:

    Thanks Julie for this post. Really interesting. I think alot of your frustration had to due with the 3rd party apps. By investigating that out, I think that helps us save some grief! :)

    Hope when you test them out at hope you won’t run into the problems.

  25. 25
    Andrew Baker says:

    You know I’m probably one of the biggest promoter of Open Source software, Being a developer with several FOSS projects and helping to run our local Open Source Usergroup (www.fosug.org PLUG PLUG).

    I’m not an apple fan, mostly because of their practices when it comes to developers and software. But I will give credit where credit is due. I myself own an iPad, it is jailbroken. Not jailbroken to install “stolen software” which is what Apple will try and lead people to believe. But to add features that allow me to use the device in a way that works for me. Multi-tasking for instance. (Yes I know 4.2 adds this, but does it very poorly)

    I know that by jailbreaking I might cause problems, it comes with the territory.

    Now My iPad has taken over about 80% of my laptop/netbook. I can do almost all my remote work on it. But I still do need to take my netbook with me. There are times I HAVE to have a real computer with me. It’s a matter on what you are doing and how you use it, vs this device is better then that situation.

  26. 26
    Jeff Hollaway says:

    @Julie In a few years I think there will be a great devide. Those who use tablets and those who use Laptops. And the few that use both. Each Device has a defined behavioral characteristics. Much like the difference between using a iphone and then using Android. Once we all figure out which device is best for certain tasks, we wont expect the same from the other device. I dont think the line is drawn clear enough just yet.

    By the way, I never did get a post card. LOL

  27. 27

    I was nearby in Boleekia fishing and using my iPad to find guides for info. You do need to vacation during vacations! Did you visit Cabbage Key? Thanks for letting the sh** hit the fan for us! We know now what not to do!

  28. 28
    Julie says:

    @Richard No, I haven’t heard of Cabbage Key. We mostly stuck around Sanibel Island and went to Captiva to the Bubble Room one day for lunch. They have insanely good cakes. Diabetes be damned ;)

  29. 29
    Julie says:

    Results of 2nd ShutterSnitch test: It’s flakey :) I just tried it with the Verizon MiFi and it wouldn’t transfer images. I then switched back to my home WiFi which has been the only way it has worked for me and now that won’t work either. Me thinks it’s time to order the Apple Camera Connection Kit and be done with it. :)

  30. 30
    Hai says:

    I did and will bring the iPad on vacation, but for entertaining only: light web surfing, email, weather, map, and most importantly: games.

    I still need to bring my laptop because I would like to process my vacation photos using Aperture.

    By the way, your article is very informative, not useless. For those who don’t like the iPad: I guess the iPad does not fit your needs, but for me, I bought it for what it is, not as a laptop replacement. In that account, the iPad works well for me.

  31. 31
    flynn2k says:

    Julie, very interesting article, and yes it is interesting because it is useful to see how far we can push a device before it breaks or pushes back at us. Going to get an Archos 101 when it comes out (Will not buy Apple products) and see how it fairs as a laptop replacement.

  32. 32
    kerok says:

    I think the MiFi will act as a wireless router creating a LAN even if it can’t get cellular signal. That may have alleviated your problem with the hotel-provided wifi.

    I have the camera kit and would never go back.

  33. 33
    Jeremiah(Eye-Fi) says:

    @Julie – A couple things to note for ShutterSnitch to work. The Eye-Fi Card and the iPad need to be on the same wireless network. Secondly, to truly test using the Mifi as the wireless network when home, you’ll need to remove your home wifi network from your Eye-Fi Card. The reason being – with both networks on the card, you can’t tell if the Eye-Fi Card is connecting to the Mifi or your home network. And if the iPad is connected to the Mifi network, and the Eye-Fi card is connecting to your home network, then the uploads will not work.

  34. 34
    Julie says:

    @Jeremiah I’m confused. How do I tell the EyeFi card which network to use?
    Nevermind, I found it. Although now it’s asking me to update the firmware, but keeps giving an error each time I try it. I must have irked the gadget gods because my batting average lately is bad! ;)

  35. 35
    Michael says:

    Thanks for the article Julie. Whatever people consider the iPad may be designed for there a lot of people who are trying to use it as a laptop replacement. Mind you there used to be people who tried to use the Palm as a laptop replacement with a folding keyboard and Docs2Go. That’s just what people are like. In academia, where I work, people are trying it as a presentation device in lectures, laptop replacement for attending conferences and a paper replacement for meetings. It’s very interesting to hear your experience.

    Michael

  36. 36
    Valcon says:

    Q: “Why did my iPad Fail as a Laptop Replacement During my Vacation?”
    A: Because an iPad simply isn’t a laptop.

  37. 37
    Michael says:

    My bicycle is not a car but it is, in certain situations, an excellent car replacement. The point of Julie’s post (I think) is to try to define in what situations an iPad is a useful laptop replacement.

    Michael

  38. 38
    1000Acres says:

    So… did TSA make you take the iPad out of your bag for airport screening? Supposedly, the iPad can go through screening without being separated. HA! Where??

  39. 39
    Fred says:

    @Martin #14
    Apple does have this kind of device, it’s named “MacBook Air”.

  40. 40
    P Curry says:

    I like “hacked gadgets” so I found your article interesting. You left yourself open to possibe unfair criticism by describing your personal vacation habits. Unplug, Sanibel has the best sea shell gathering in Florida. When you go again, remember to be wary of the weather, that one bridge is the only way off the island. Oh ya, know why so many people fish on one side of the bridge or the other, they are afraid to cross it – hail mary ;<)!

  41. 41
    Julie says:

    @1000Acres Nope. They didn’t make it me take it out of my bag at Indy. But at Fort Myers, they said to take out any computers, phones, etc and I said “iPad?” and she said yeah go ahead.

  42. 42
    Julie says:

    @Fred and I’m wondering what Apple has in store for the Macbook Air today with their event.

  43. 43
    Julie says:

    @P Curry oh, we did lots of shell gathering, believe me :) But that can get boring after awhile (although I did find some nice ones). Sometimes I just like to walk on the beach and not have to constantly stop while my walking partner is bending over to pick up something.

  44. 44
    edward says:

    hi julie. since the ipad is jailbroken, would installing ‘frash’ have helped your viewing of websites with flash embedded in them? just wondering…

    ed

  45. 45
    nukediver says:

    Just wanted to chime in on this. I used my iPad exclusively on two trips this summer, to Honduras and Montreal, and had great luck with it. I took along the camera connection kit from Apple, and also my Canon SD1100 IS camera, and was able to blog, view pics, post pics to Flickr and Facebook, and generally do everything I needed to do while away. I’m of the same mind as @Michael on this – for 80-90% of the time, my iPad setup is exactly what I need. The other 10% I go back to my MacBook.

  46. 46
    Larry G says:

    Thanks for the info Julie nice job and I look forward to your next vacation :)

  47. 47
    Ekstor says:

    Not a useless article at all. Those who say so should get off their high horse and understand that MANY people are seeking to use their iPad as a laptop replacement (and successfully I might add). This article sheds a lot of light for those curious of doing the same thing but wanting to know ahead of time what challenges could lie ahead.

    Does the iPad do everything that a laptop does? No. But if someone’s usage is general enough, an iPad will prove to be a simpler, more intuitive, more portable option. (For the record, I do not own any Apple products and have no interest in the iPad myself).

  48. 48
    Ted Allen says:

    One would hope that all tablet manufacturers would be paying attention to articles like yours to discover how real people want to use these things.
    To accomplish what you wanted to use the ipad for it would seem that only small changes would be needed. 1. SD card slot so you can get your pictures onto it and 2. A keyboard and mouse combination that could be plugged into a bluetooth connection.
    It may be that someday as touch navigation becomes more ubiquitious we may become comfortable with reaching up to our monitors and swiping the screen, but today, when one is typing on a keyboard, the “natural” action is to reach for a mouse. When you are holding the computer in your hand, iPhone usage has taught us to swipe the screen. But when using the keyboard the normal usage is a mouse. I can’t imagine that it would take much coding to make the ipad mousable when a keyboard or mouse is connected.

  49. 49
    Bob Deloyd says:

    I feel that this version of the iPad is crippled. Just get a Netbook for travel and you won’t have all them problems.
    I wanted an iPad but will wait until it comes with USB, Flash, SSD slot, and a camera. otherwise it’s useless to me :)

  50. 50
    Susanne says:

    Hi, I tried something similar, but I’ve had better luck: I had the Camera Connection kit (works like charm) and Blogpress instead of wordpress. The wordpress app crashs so often I even don’t bother to try anymore.
    And to all of you who blame the Jailbreak: the same Apps that crash on my jailbroken device are crashing on my friends original iPad. So don’t blame the jailbreak for lousy apps (yeah, I am looking at you, wordpress!)

  51. 51
    Julie says:

    @Susanne I’m not going to give up, I’m going to give the experiment another try. Thanks for letting me now that you were more successful!

  52. 52
    Hai says:

    Apple heard your pain so they introduced a new MacBook Air yesterday :-)

  53. 53
    Julie says:

    @Hai ;) Yeah, I thought about that too. I was/am tempted to buy the 11 inch model, but I don’t have any trips planned for the rest of the year, so I’m saving my money for the time being.

  54. 54
    Ray says:

    I did the same thing last time I went to Vegas, took iPad to see if it would be enough. I have 3G version, so wifi,Internet wouldn’t be a problem. At last second just before I left, I said WTF, just in case and it’s only 2lbs anyways, I tossed my hp mini 300 into my checkin.

    Once I got to Luxor, they didn’t even have wifi, only wired internet. No big deal i have 3G. Man was at&t’s 3G coverage atrocious in Vegas….on and off, half the times the internet barely worked even though I had five bars. I thought ppl were exaggerating when they slammed AT&T. Coming from Canada, Rogers and bell 3G is significantly better than AT&T. I plugged in net book to wired internet and boom. Fast as heck wired line. Logged into msn, and made a phone call home. Lol. Sad to see this $200 net book with 16g ssd eating my trusty iPad for lunch. To be fair i did use the iPad a lot outside of the hotel for google maps, and price lookups and email. Something the net book would have been hell for. Anyways, excited for the 11.6 ” MBA. Ordered it yesterday. 64g version with 4gb of ram. Although that would not have solved my Ethernet problem, nor my 3G problem when on the move. Looks like i will still probably carry both on vacations. When i went to Los angeles last, I only carried iPad as i knew the hotel had wifi. Did not miss the net book. Have a cruise coming in dec, which probably won’t have any reasonable cost effective Internet solution. Probably iPad only for that trip even if i have the MBA by then. Then again iPhoto while cruising could be useful, entertaining when chilling. Delimas delimas, btw, wrote this lengthy comment on ipad right now, works pretty good considering….

  55. 55
    try unplugging on vacation says:

    Try unplugging on vacation. It’s good for the soul. You could have saved yourself time and money than jacking with this.

  56. 56
    Ragnar says:

    Whatever can be said about Flash, it is Crystal Clear that Not offering Flash on Ipad (and other Apple products) is Against the Customers best interest.

    I don’t know what the Ipad can manage, apart from Logmein/vnc and similar (which are rather slow), I would consider Web2 office application on the cloud (like Zoho), if the Ipad can handle it.

  57. 57
    Andrew Baker says:

    I Can see HTML5 being able to replace Flash, but I think we are 2-4 years away from that. There is just TOO much out there that relies on Flash. 10 years from now, I agree with Apple, Flash will be gone, and something else HTML-11teen?. Will replace it.

    But what drives me up a wall is. Adobe already HAS a flash product that works on the iPad/iPhone. It was developed and tested. It’s not like suddenly we have to develop a whole new platform, 90% of the leg works done. Just have to cut the great and powerful “Steve tape”. Steve says no, So NO it is.

  58. 58
    snorkle says:

    iLame!

    use a netbook if you want to freely surf and do other stuff you would do on vacation. very lame that fanboys would think that the ipad can replace a laptop/netbook

  59. 59
    AJ says:

    @Ray I too had a bad experience in Vegas with AT&T. I’ve been in L.A., Vegas, San Fran, Seattle, and Tacoma with AT&T, and the service has been horrible in all those areas. Finally I switched to the HTC Evo which uses Sprint. I have since been back to Vegas, San Fran, Seattle, and Tacoma, and the difference is incredible.

    In San Francisco people would come up to me and ask to use my Evo because they couldn’t make a phone call on their iPhone! And from what I hear, Verizons service is even better than Sprints! It’s sad because I like the iPhone better as a device; in the mean time I have compromised by using a wi-Fi iPad with Sprint Hotspot.

    With my iPad I can do almost anything a laptop can do: edit documents and spreadsheets, edit video, create presentations etc. I think Julie hit the nail on the head: the biggest drawback to an iPad is the horrible browser. To call it less than functional is being nice. There are no good alternatives in the app store. And using LogMeIn is a very nice and creative idea, but in a perfect world we shouldn’t have to use such a cumbersome work around.

    And one more thing, next time, stay at New York New York. The Luxor has no WiFi, the surround sound in their rooms doesn’t work, and the air quality is almost as bad as the Belagio.

  60. 60
    RIZ001 says:

    well after reading such comments ill rather wate for a while till the time apple guys are ready to sell a ipad which comes with USB port , camers , flash acceptance, good solution for mouse and key board. cause in my country its a real expensive gadget

  61. 61
    Adam Jacob says:

    Your issues are easy to solve. Your issue with Flash not running? Just download the $3 Puffin Browser for iPad. You can run flash websites and games, and it even has a cool little “virtual trackpad” feature within the app. That solves all your work issues… Then, for your problems with your photos, just pay the money and get an Apple Camera kit, instead of complaining about a chep option that requires internet to work. Then, just in case you need to use your laptop while on your trip, just download the $7 Splashtop Streamer, which lets you see your macbook’s screen on your iPad.

    Remember, you are trying to replace a $1500 laptop with a $500 iPad. You are going to have to pay a bit of money if you want a proper replacement.

  62. 62
    Julie says:

    @Adam Thank you for your tips. I’m going to check out the Puffin Browser. If Apple would allow mice to be paired with the iPad (without jailbreaking), I could easily use the iPad as a laptop replacement while on trips. I like using a mouse while doing a lot of surfing and/or image editing. Otherwise, my iPad3 with 4G is a wonderful traveling companion.

  63. 63
    Bob DeLoyd says:

    Dang, this review almost 2yrs old- in that amount of time I bought an iPad first Generation :)

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