I currently spend my days as an executive assistant, juggling my own set of deadlines, and then managing the calendar and upcoming tasks for my boss. My job provides me with a laptop for work purposes, but it’s so heavy and slow that I’ve always felt artificially anchored to my desk because of it.
I’ve recently started bringing an iPad Air in to work to complement my laptop. I use the tablet for quick schedule checks, quick note-taking sessions, and as a third screen for displaying tasks, and I’m really loving the setup. I can’t believe how useful the iPad is turning out to be at work.
The key is a combination of the iPad Air’s drastically reduced weight, thinner bezels, and the improved three-panel Smart Cover.
At just a little over a pound, the naked iPad Air really does feel more usable for quick one-handed usage, and it’s quite comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. This is the iPad form factor I was waiting for: something bigger than the 8-inch mini, but nearly as light.
The thinner bezels have also made it worlds easier to thumb type, which I do a fair amount of at work. I keep the keyboard about two-thirds of the way up the screen and tap away. I feel much more comfortable holding an iPad as opposed to a smartphone for note-taking, as I think there’s less stigma about what the iPad could be used for at work. Even though both the tablet and the smartphone are equally capable at messaging, I do believe there’s more stigma surrounding the use of a phone during a meeting. It’s hard to break the mental association of the smartphone as a calling and texting machine. The tablet doesn’t seem to have that negative association.
I’m also surprisingly happy with my purchase of a Red Smart Cover. I thought the older metal and leather smart covers were handsomer, but the lighter three-panel polyurethane design (introduced with the iPad mini) finally feels good enough for most situations. The cover tends to magnetize very nicely to the rear of the tablet, making it very easy to hold. My old Smart Cover would often loosen up and hang limply, making the iPad feel heavier than it actually was. The steeper typing angle and the more relaxed viewing angle are also much more comfortable for long term usage. This Smart Cover really completes the idea of the iPad as a use-it-anywhere kind of device.
Until very recently, I was tethered to a large Lenovo laptop and Outlook 2007 for my days at work. However, the recent office trial of Google Apps for Business, and my newly acquired iPad Air, are really changing up the way that I approach my job. Those dream scenarios of people in Apple commercials smiling — flashes of presenting a chart with a smile on your face and a tablet in your hand, of quickly drawing ideas on a 10-inch touchscreen, and creating quick documents while you wait for a meeting room to open — are becoming a pleasantly surprising reality. There’s still a lot that I want the iPad to do to become a more respectable computer (as opposed to mobile device), but I’m really taken aback by how useful it has become at the workplace.