I have decided that Apple products must be the smack cocaine of gadgetry - once you've had one you just can't get enough of them!
So two Macs and a fist full of iPods later - still haven't got an iPhone, but my iPod touch does everything I would use an iPhone for - I took the plunge last week and treated myself to a iPad.
First impressions? It does indeed seem to be an iPod touch on steroids. It behaves almost exactly the same, and runs almost the same apps. The iPad-specific apps obviously make better use of the screen size.
I am disappointed to find that the handy little Yahoo! weather app that comes a standard on the touch and iPhone is missing on the iPad. The alternative weather free apps are not as good in my opinion.
Since I wanted a business tool I was straight on to the app store and bought Apple's Pages (word processor) and Numbers (spreadsheet) apps. These are great, although there's a file viewer built in to the supplied Mail program so I think you can view attachments without any extra software. What is lacking, however, is a file manager like Finder on the Mac or My Computer on a PC. The standard way to get files onto the iPad is to transfer them via iTunes, which seems a bit daft to me, but then again there's no way to connect a device directly to the iPad so you can't use something like a USB stick. I think Dropbox is going to be my preferred file transfer method, I use it a lot to transfer files from Mac to PC and there's an iPad app to make it very easy to pick up Dropbox file on the iPad too.
Best app so far? Has to be GoSkyWatch Planetarium which uses the built-in GPS and compass to display the stars overhead as you hold the iPad up against the sky. It's just as if someone had stuck labels to all the stars for you!
Is this a serious business tool? I hope so. The iPod is still my portable music player - in fact I have disabled music synchronisation with the iPad as I have no use for music on it. I'm taking it to some client meetings this week, so we'll see how it performs as a paper file replacement.
About Nigel Harris
I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.
I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!