Stephen Hackett’s iPad Life

Editors note: This is the first in what I hope to be a longer email interview series looking at how different people across the web are using their iPads on a daily basis. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? My name is Stephen Hackett. I’m the IT/Multi-Media…

Editors note: This is the first in what I hope to be a longer email interview series looking at how different people across the web are using their iPads on a daily basis.

Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live?

My name is Stephen Hackett. I’m the IT/Multi-Media Director for the Salvation Army Kroc Center, which is due to open in about a year. The Kroc Center is a large community center focusing on arts, education, recreation and worship. I oversee pretty much anything that involves electricity or pixels. Back in the day, I was the Lead Genius at our local Apple Store and (more recently) served as the Service Manager at a local Apple-Authorized Service Provider.

Speaking of Apple, I write about the company, journalism and design over at

I live in my hometown of Memphis, TN. Yes, where Elvis is from. While I have never been to Graceland, I love this city and don’t plan on going anywhere. I have two kids, two bikes, a cat and am married to my high school sweetheart.

I have a dog cow tattoo on my right ankle.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

I initially felt underwhelmed and what I perceived to be a large iPod touch. However, the more I thought about, the more scaling up the iPhone OS (and not scaling down Mac OS X) made sense. Now, I’m really glad Apple decided on iOS to power the iPad.

Honestly, the A4 chip got me more worked up than anything else. I love hardware, and this thing is the pinnacle of Apple’s design philosophy. There is nothing here that doesn’t need to be. Even the bezel is perfect. I was in love with the hardware from the moment Steve unveiled it on stage.

Which model did you order and why?

I wasn’t going to buy an iPad. However, about an hour before our Apple Store closed, I drove over to see them in person with another former-Genius buddy of mine. My initial “meh” attitude melted away instantly.

I bought the the 16GB Wi-Fi model on the spot. I didn’t see the need for 3G, and haven’t come to regret going Wi-Fi only yet. I opted for the 16GB, as I don’t keep a lot of media on my devices. And spending the least amount of money let my wife tolerate the impulse buy a little better.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

At work, I am in and out of meetings a lot. Calendar and Mail are wonderful to have handy. I use the Photos app to not only show off photos of my kids, but to share renderings and construction plans for the Kroc Center. I take notes all day long on it.

At home, I use the iPad to check RSS feeds and email, check the weather and more. I really don’t use our family iMac for “little things” anymore.

I read a lot on my iPad. Between Instapaper, iBooks and the Kindle app, I’m set. However, I don’t write a lot on my iPad. While blog post ideas may come to me on the go and get captured via the iPad, most of my writing takes place either at my iMac (via an Apple Extended II keyboard) or at my MacBook Pro.

The battery life continues to impress me. Even my Mid-2009 MacBook Pro can’t keep up. The iPad is basically a tiny computer bolted to two giant batteries, and it shows. It blows my mind how little I have to charge it.

Can you give me a quick run down of the apps that you use the most?

Simplenote, Instapaper and Reeder are my most used third-party apps. (NetNewsWire was on that list until I discovered Reeder. Seriously, go download it. Now.)

As far as built-in apps, I use Mail, Calendar, Photos and Safari the most.

My current game of choice is Solipskier. It’s a wonderful little game involving a skier going really, really fast and making huge jumps to over-the-top music. My two year old could watch me play all day.


Which app is your favorite?

Simplenote, as common as that answer probably is. I keep everything in there – meeting notes, ideas for blog posts, snippets of HTML and more. It’s fantastic.

Do you have any bag/stand/case recommendations for people?

Early on, I bought the InCase Convertible Book Jacket. It looks like a large Moleskine journal, and doubles as a stand. However, it was bulky and the iPad had a tendency to move around in the case a bit, which I found very annoying. I sold it after a few weeks of use.

I bought the Timbuk2 Freestyle Netbook Messenger to carry the iPad around during the day. Timbuk2 has great products. It has a padded pocket for the iPad and space for papers and a paper notebook. Yes, it’s a man-purse. Don’t judge me.

My wife recently made me a sleeve for the iPad. It lives in that while in my bag or for a little extra protection.

I have the official Apple case, but I don’t use it much. I like my devices naked.

What features do you want to see in a future iPad?

On the hardware end of things, I know a FaceTime camera is a no-brainer when it comes to future iPads. I don’t really care about it, honestly. The biggest thing the current device lacks is enough RAM. And I’d be happy with a louder speaker.

Software-wise, I really want to have AirPlay working in reverse. Why can’t I stream iTunes content from my iMac to my iPad across my wireless network? Don’t get me wrong, AirPlay seems like a killer feature for the new AppleTV. I just want it here, too.

Ed. note: Big thanks again to Stephen for taking the time to answer my questions, be sure to hop over to and check his site out.

More iPad Life

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