John C. Welch has written a very good article for arstechnica about the iPad as an additional tool (rather than a straight-up laptop replacement) for sysadmins and IT professionals.
Welch gives a very good rundown of what the iPad is capable of, and what it can’t (yet) be used for – where it can prove useful day to day and where a laptop or desktop PC is really needed. It’s interesting to see that in some cases the limitations are due to lack of appropriate apps for a task, rather than it being impossible to consider the iPad for a particular job.
Here’s just a small excerpt from his piece:
The iPad, on the other hand, is quite enjoyable to use for sysadmin tasks. For one, the size is just about perfect. It’s big enough that even my ape-like paws can type at a reasonable speed, manipulate screen elements, etc. It’s not so big that you can’t easily carry it, but it’s big enough that you can wedge it into a rack or prop it up on a CD tray so the display is easily accessible. … Don’t get me wrong, I love my 17” MacBook Pro and am definitely a fan of that beast. But there are times when it’s just too big for the situation and an iPhone is too small. The iPad’s superior battery life is also of no small comfort when you’re in a situation where you won’t be able to plug the device into AC power for some time.
I worked as a network engineer, network manager, and IT consultant for many years – and I would’ve loved to have had an iPad as an additional tool, for some of the very same use-cases as Welch talks about.
The whole article is a very good read, check it out at arstechnica when you have a chance.