I’ve written about the iPad as my sole computer before, but I think the story changes enough with each major OS upgrade that this really is a topic worth revisiting. I’m currently on vacation in Asia to visit family, and I’ve brought my iPad Air 2 and Logitech ultrathin keyboard to function as my main computer. I’ve loaded the iPad up with a few movies for the 10+ hour plane rides, podcasts for long car rides and traffic jams, and all of my photos.
Aside from making security checkpoints a breeze, I loved using the iPad for referencing my own travel itinerary while at the airport; and it really helped me cut down on the paper documentation I needed. All I ever really had was my passport, printed boarding pass, and the iPad took care of most everything else I needed to know or fill out.
There are a few downsides I’ve noticed along the way.
I would have liked to write a little bit on the plane, but I realized that I couldn’t actually turn Bluetooth on during the plane ride, so my Ultrathin keyboard just stayed in my bag. [Edit Jan 15: Oh, I stand corrected by commenters and friends who have told me that you can, in fact, have Bluetooth on now. I’ll keep that in mind for the next trip!]
Now that I’ve landed and have some data with a traveller SIM on my iPhone, it would also be nice to tether with my iPhone over USB, but that just isn’t an option on iOS. The Personal Hotspot feature of iOS is unfortunately a little spotty at the moment, so it can be difficult to tether consistently.
I’be also had a errant thought about charging with the iPad. My dad is able to use his MacBook Pro to charge his iPhone, and I think it woul be an interesting platform mechanic to be able to charge an iPhone by plugging it into an iPad. This would require some sort of extra female Lightning port accessory, similar to the Camera Kit used by photographers, but I think it would be a handy option for charging an iPhone in a pinch. After all, the Air 2 has a huge 7340 MaH battery, which is more than enough to power an iPhone 5S (1560 MaH batt). I’m not sure how much extra tech would actually be required for an iPad to do this, but it would certainly empower the iPad’s status as a full fledged computer.
Pipe dreams aside, I have no regrets about the decision to leave my retina Macbook Pro at home. The trip feels a lot lighter for having a tablet instead of a full fledged computer, and yet this Air 2 is proving itself capable enough of doing whatever I need it to do so far.