MG Siegler’s iPad Life

I want to welcome one of my favorite writers, MG Siegler to my iPad Life interview series. He is probably best known for his great writing on TechCrunch. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I’m a writer for the site TechCrunch, focusing on a wide range of […]

I want to welcome one of my favorite writers, MG Siegler to my iPad Life interview series. He is probably best known for his great writing on TechCrunch.

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

I’m a writer for the site TechCrunch, focusing on a wide range of things, including yes, Apple. I’ve been with TechCrunch for about two years now. Before that, I was doing more or less the same thing at VentureBeat for a year and a half. I’m based in San Francisco and have been here for three years now.

Before that, I was a web developer down in Southern California. I did front-end work: HTML, JavaScript, CSS. And before that, I worked in Hollywood for a few years. That was fun, but soulless.

Originally, I’m from Ohio and went to school at the University of Michigan.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

I was extremely excited. Of course, we had all been hearing the rumors for months (and really years) of Apple doing a tablet. But I had no doubt that when they finally did it, they would do it right.

I laughed at the “big iPod touch” criticisms at the time, knowing that those people would all change their mind when they got their hands on the thing. Why? Because I really believe that touch is the future of everyday computing. We’ve all grown accustomed to desktops and laptops with mice and keyboards, but think about how ridiculous some of the learning curves are on that for a second. Then think about the iPad. As we’ve seen, babies can use it. It just makes sense.

Which model did you order and why?

64GB WiFi. The 64GB call was easy as I wanted to put a lot of media on it. The WiFi versus 3G debate was tougher, but I ultimately went with WiFi simply because of my hatred for AT&T. Living in San Francisco, it simply does not work. So I wasn’t about to pay them more money to prove their incompetence in another way.

But now that Apple and Verizon have partnered up, I’ll definitely consider a 3G version of the next iPad (assuming there’s a Verizon option). On the other hand, the Hotspot feature on the Verizon iPhone sort of makes it pointless.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

It has basically become the living room computer in our house. If I’m on the couch, chances are that I’m using it to surf, read, tweet, etc. I basically only need my laptop for when I’m going to write something — I still would not use the iPad for that.

When I’m on my laptop or desktop, I usually use Instapaper to bookmark things to read later on my iPad. And that’s usually how I go to sleep at night.

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

Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, Instapaper, Reeder, ScoreCenterXL (ESPN app), Boxcar, iBooks, and, of course, Safari.

I have dozens others installed, but those are the ones I use most frequently. Also, The Daily recent joined that group, but perhaps only because it interests me right now as it just launched. We’ll see if it stays in that group.

Mg tmb

Which app is your favorite?

It’s a tough call between Twitter and Flipboard, but I’ll go with the latter. The reason is that I love that it has been thought of from the ground-up as a way to consume social content. It’s brilliant.

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

I definitely do not recommend the official Apple case. I hate that thing. I’m shocked Apple even approved it. I use a simple Incase puffy sleeve thing [Editors note: I think this is the case he is talking about]. It’s ugly (lime green), but it works well. And it keeps the iPad pretty clean.

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

The main thing I’d love is for the iPad to weigh slightly less than it does. The battery life is amazing, but I’d even take slightly less if they could cut the weight a bit.

I’d also love a retina-like display, but it doesn’t look like that will happen in iPad 2. But maybe later this year…

The other big thing I’d love to see improved about the iPad is the screen glare. I understand it’s a hard problem to solve with glass, but the iPad really is pretty impossible to use outside at the moment, I’d love that to change.

Oh, and more multi-touch gestures. But it looks like those will be coming as a part of future iOS updates too.

If you had to choose between owning your Air or the iPad, which would you choose?

That’s a very good question. For work purposes, I’d have to go with the Air. There is simply no better computer to travel with for work. And because so much of my life is work, I give it a slight edge over the iPad. Also because I know the iPad 2 is right around the corner. Very tough call though.

I want to thank MG Siegler for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his iPad life with me. You can keep tabs on MG by following him on Twitter where he is known as @parislemon.

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Iain Broome’s iPad Life

I would like to welcome a fantastic writer and a fellow Read & Trust member, Iain Broome to my iPad Life interview series. You can find out more about Iain on his blog Write for Your Life. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? Well, I’m a writer […]

I would like to welcome a fantastic writer and a fellow Read & Trust member, Iain Broome to my iPad Life interview series. You can find out more about Iain on his blog Write for Your Life.

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

Well, I’m a writer and I live in Sheffield, which is in the north of England.

By day I’m a copywriter for a tip-top UK design company called The Workshop, where I write copy (obviously), but also work on UX, UI and accessibility. By night, I write fiction. My first novel is called A is for Angelica and is represented by literary agency, Tibor Jones & Associates.

I also run a couple of websites for writers – Write for Your Life and the rather stupidly named Broomeshtick.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

Goodness gracious, how am I going to persuade my partner that we need one of those? That was my first reaction.

Then I started to think about it with a little less emotion. That’s the thing about Apple. They tug on our heart strings before they start to talk technical. It’s wonderful and wallet-scaring in equal measure.

Anyway, apart from initially not having the money to buy an iPad, I also wanted to think about whether I would really use one or not. I had an iMac (still do), which is totally aces, and my partner had an old Sony Vaio laptop, which she used primarily for browsing the web and studying.

I spent the best part of six months working out how I could – and if I should – fit the iPad into our lives. It was the first time I’d ever bought a computer that wasn’t a natural upgrade. I was worried my iPad would be a luxury. A toy, even.

I wanted a mobile device but couldn’t afford any of the Macbook line up and the old Sony Vaio’s battery was next to useless. In the end I bought an iPad because I decided that, as a writer, all I needed was a keyboard and a screen. The iPad has both plus all of this other fantastic stuff too.

I convinced myself that together, me and my machine, could create as well as consume.

Which model did you order and why?

I bought the 16GB WiFi only version because it’s all that I need.

My iPhone works nicely as a play-anywhere MP3 player and I’m quite happy to switch movie files to and from the iMac when I need them. I knew that I wouldn’t need the extra storage. Like I say, purchasing an iPad was a carefully considered decision.

As for 3G, again I felt pretty sure it wouldn’t be a problem not having it, and that’s proved to be the case. I use the iPad primarily at home, where it connects to our WiFi network. I can’t envisage a time when I’ll be out and about and the 3G connection I get with my iPhone won’t be enough.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

I use it in the same way that you do Ben, and all us other technofolk. I read articles, blog posts, books and play games. I also watch the occasional TV show or movie. Importantly, I write. But enough about me. I can’t tell you anything new.

What’s been far more interesting is the way both my partner uses it, and my two nephews who are three and five years old.

My partner is never off the iPad. She has no interest in technology whatsoever, and yet she absolutely loves this rectangular bundle of joy. See, although she doesn’t give two hoots about what version OS she’s using, or whether it’s a 16 or 32GB version, she does like browsing the internet, checking Facebook and, inevitably, playing Angry Birds.

For people like her, you know, normal people, who don’t know or care about the hows and whys of computing, these things can be a chore. All that most users care about is the doing. With the iPad, my partner can do. And she does. All the time and wherever she wants. That’s a significant shift, both in our house and for casual web users everywhere.

Then there’s my nephews. They are children – infants – and they can use the iPad. As someone who works in usability and accessibility, that’s pretty amazing. Watching the three year old figure out ‘swipe to unlock’ in under ten seconds was mind-blowing.

It made me think back to my Commodore 64. So many wasted hours waiting for something to load. We’ve come so far. They’ll never know that anguish.

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

I use Safari all the time for browsing the web, of course. And I use the official Twitter app on a daily basis to, you know, tweet.

I also use Simplenote a lot, originally for my to do list, but I’ve now reverted back to pen and paper for that. However, Simplenote is very much the place I put ideas and sentences when they come to mind.

The jewel in the crown is PlainText and this goes back to my only needing a keyboard and a screen. When the iPad launched, I was wary because I couldn’t see an easy way for me to write on the iMac and then seamlessly carry on writing in the same document with the iPad. But with the aid of Dropbox, PlainText allows me to do just that. It’s utterly brillotine.

Finally, I use Instapaper and Reeder to keep up with what’s going on in the world.

Broome small

Which app is your favorite?

I should probably say PlainText as that allows me to do what I love, but I think I’ll go for Instapaper. It’s just fantastic, isn’t it?

I know it’s wildly popular already, but I really wish that more of those normal people I talked about earlier were aware of things like Instapaper. It’s just a great way to read the web and so many people are put off by all the nonsense that gets crammed into websites.

I should start a petition or something. Maybe send an angry email.

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

I have just one iPad accoutrement, and that’s the Compass from TwelveSouth. It does exactly what I want it to. It holds my iPad up for me. Lovely stuff.

I don’t have a case yet. My partner (who has featured in this discussion more than anticipated) is pretty nifty with the needle and thread, and I’ve commissioned her (asked politely) to make me a nice iPad wallet of sorts. Just something to protect it from the elements. And by elements, I mean me dropping it.

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

I honestly can’t think of anything that would drastically change the way I use my iPad. A front camera might be nice for Skype, but not essential. A really fantastic microphone would be great for interviews on the move, but unlikely to ever beat proper recording equipment.

So nothing, no extra features required. I love what it does and it does it how I need it to. You can’t say fairer than that.

Have you ever had an American pronounce your first name correctly?

Ha! I do get some strange spellings, but it’s actually just the Scottish version of Ian. As in Sir Ian McKellan or Ian McEwan. Although I am in no way Scottish. I don’t know what my folks were thinking.

I want to thank Iain for taking the time to share his iPad life with me. Be sure to follow Iain on Twitter where he is @iainbroome.

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Derek Lunde’s iPad Life

I would like to welcome one of my best friends and fellow Mac lover Derek Lunde to my iPad Life interview series. You can find out a more about Derek on his Tumblr. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? My name is Derek Lunde, and I am […]

I would like to welcome one of my best friends and fellow Mac lover Derek Lunde to my iPad Life interview series. You can find out a more about Derek on his Tumblr.

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

My name is Derek Lunde, and I am a husband slash April Fools Baby. I have a cat who is addicted to carbohydrates, and she is a good reminder for me to go to the gym (another hobby I’ve learned to enjoy in lieu of caffeine in the morning). By day, I run the Visual Communication and Strategy practice at one of Washington state’s largest design firms, BCRA. My time is commonly split between advising our clients on marketing strategies and managing our team of designers, copywriters and project managers.

I live in a cozy flat overlooking downtown Seattle.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

My first reaction when the iPad was announced (we’ll get to the launch in a second), was “OMG, the name’s a joke, right?” It wasn’t until peripheral items like the iMaxi were announced that I came to grips with this less-than-appetizing moniker.

When the iPad was launched, I kicked myself for not pre-ordering one. Mostly this was because my wait outside the Apple Store in Bellevue Square Mall on launch day was about five hours (need I mention I was surrounded by Microsofties the whole time). As a marketing person, I was in complete amazement over the perfectly synchronized efforts in promotion and sales with strategic product placement, media reviews and articles published locally and internationally. What also amazed me was the skepticism that existed among many “expert analysts” on Wall Street (for example…).

As I look back on the launch, I never could’ve imagined the new micro-economies that have evolved out of the release of the iPad.

Which model did you order and why?

16GB WiFi. It was the cheapest model, which helped me get approval from wifey. But, looking back, I wished I would’ve researched the 3G plan details a bit more. The convenience of signing up month-to-month for service just didn’t click with me at the time, and in hind sight I probably would’ve waited to get a 3G model instead. I do prefer the look of the WiFi only model over the 3G and its black antenna bar. Obviously, impatience also had a lot to do with it.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

In the morning, the iPad is my excuse to take a quick couch break in between the gym and heading into the office. I check twitter, weather, and feature stories through Pulse.

In the office, I like to use the iPad to check in on personal projects and follow the social networks. Of course, it has replaced a paper notepad in meetings and was used as a guinea pig for our firm’s adoption of the iPad as a portfolio marketing tool. I also use it as a quasi-second workstation when necessary for simple multi-tasking or research.

At night, I’m checking emails, FB, and twitter with it. Most importantly…Sim City. Lunde Metropolis, run by Mayor Adam West, is growing quickly. It has plenty of utility capacity, is still lacking a museum, and can respond to fire emergencies in 2 minutes.

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

Pulse: still a great news feed summary tool. I check this once per day in the morning. Twitter: love the interface. I check this a lot. Flipboard: nice way to display social network and news feeds. I check this once per day at night. Keynote: much of my work involves pitch-decks, and the functionality would leave PowerPoint with two black eyes in a cage match. Looptastic HD: as one who wants to reincarnate as a DJ, this is a fun app to get lost in for way too long.

Lunde iPad Homescreen

Which app is your favorite?

iBooks: it’s an old skool choice, but it’s simple, clean, and yet robust enough to do the little things. BBC News and Twitter are a close second in terms of usability.

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

The Roots I-Sleeve leather case is great for people who like to use the iPad naked, but want a soft, stylish, simple case. And, it fits super snugly (a top concern of mine). I just bought the Tumi T-Tech Empire Freedom bag (aka murse) to carry my stuff around, and coincidentally the bag has a perfectly sized pouch the iPad can slip into. I haven’t purchased a stand yet, but would love a few suggestions.

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

SD or MicroSD card slot: It’s lame to have to carry around an adapter for that – especially on vacation and taking pics.

Retina display: Why not? Might as well go for the gusto.

Backing that doesn’t make my hand sweat, picks up scratches less easily, and can be gripped a little bit better than the aluminum: I like the look right now, but it’s less functional than it could be.

I want to thank Derek again for taking the time to do this, and you all should be following him on Twitter where he is @derekjlunde. Lastly I think we can all agree that he should be writing a regular blog — so once you follow him be sure to let him know that you want to see more of his writing.

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Federico Viticci’s iPad Life

Please welcome Federico Viticci the editor-in-chief of MacStories.net, where he always has great scoops on Apple and their products. Federico was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule and geek out about iPads with me. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? Hi, my name […]

Please welcome Federico Viticci the editor-in-chief of MacStories.net, where he always has great scoops on Apple and their products. Federico was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule and geek out about iPads with me.

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

Hi, my name is Federico Viticci and I am the editor-in-chief of MacStories. I live in Italy and more specifically in Viterbo, a small town 80 kilometers away from Rome. Life is pretty good around here, although I wish I’ll be able to move to the States someday, both for work purposes and personal reasons.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

I remember the months ahead of the iPad announcement. People were skeptical about the “Apple tablet”, they didn’t know how such a device would run OS X (yeah, some people actually thought Apple would come up with a new portable Mac) and, above all, they didn’t see why users would need another thing to fit in their workspaces. Personally, I wasn’t skeptical at all. I knew I needed a new device, possibly touch-based, to put between the MacBook and a smartphone, and Apple delivered just that.

Being based in Italy, I had to buy an iPad from the US on day one. Our editor Cody Fink drove to the nearest Apple Store to get one, shipped it inside a UPS box and, thanks to the super-expensive & super-fast Express shipment, I received it in 60 hours. When I first opened the box, first reaction was “Wow, this screen is large”. Second reaction was “Well, this is heavier than I thought”. I’ve been using the iPad since April 6th and I love it. I know we’re just getting started with the tablet market and better iPads will come in the next years, but the iPad 1 has definitely changed the way I work, read, play games and consume media.

I also remember being one of the few folks in my town with an iPad didn’t help getting people away from the screen.

Which model did you order and why?

I got a 16 GB WiFi-only model because a) WiFi model was the only choice available in April and b) I didn’t think I would need much storage on a tablet. Now I can say my next iPad is definitely going to be a 32 GB model with 3G connectivity. For as much as MyWi and, most recently, Apple’s Personal Hotspot have helped me using the iPad on the go, I want to be able to connect to the Internet using 3G with no additional devices or apps required.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

Mostly for reading, writing and playing games. Well, actually my friends grab my iPad to play games, but still. The iPad is perfect to read long articles saved from the web: with the combination of Instapaper and Read It Later, I take the device off its stand to read and focus on what I’m reading (I can’t do that on a desktop browser) at any time. The iPad’s large screen is equally impressive to write down articles and quick ideas for MacStories: notes go into Simplenote, articles are written into Writings, a Dropbox-based text editor I started using a few months ago.

Overall, though, I believe it’s not about “how I use my iPad” — it’s about how I can’t use it. This thing can do almost anything besides Flash, movie and photo editing and other desktop-related tasks that require professional software. Which, as you can guess, it’s not really a problem for me. So every time I found myself using the iPad instead of my MacBook or the iPhone, I’m surprised of how this device is changing the way I work every day.

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

I have too many apps installed on my iPad, but these are the ones I come back to on a daily basis:

Screens: Awesome VNC client I use to connect to my MacBook Pro and iMac;

Twitter for iPad: Many people and well-known bloggers hate it, I love it. It’s got its issues and bugs, but I believe the Twitter team will get them fixed soon. I use Twitter because it’s fast, intuitive and lets me see lots of information at once.

OmniFocus: See reply below. It’s the app for iPad.

Writings: The text editor I use to write articles for MacStories and sync them through Dropbox. With Notational Velocity running on my MacBook Pro, I can also sync these articles to Simplenote.

iFiles: A great app to get files out of the iPad (with a built-in WebDAV server) and into it via supported internet services. I use iFiles every day to share iPad screenshots with my Mac or upload them to Rackspace.

iCab: An alternative to Safari that’s actually great and good-looking. It’s got tabs, it’s fast and never crashes. I love it.

Read It Later / Instapaper: The perfect combination to read articles from the web. Read It Later works better with articles that have lots of images and video.

Reeder: I have tried several RSS readers on the iPad since April, but Reeder is where I sticked. I use Silvio Rizzi’s app on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. I guess I’m just too much of a Reeder fan.

Colloquy: IRC client to communicate with my team. The UI is minimal and it makes IRC easy.

1Password: Seriously, there’s no better way to manage passwords and logins. 1Password is must-have both on OS X and iOS.

viticci-tmb.png

Which app is your favorite?

OmniFocus. Ever since it came out it dramatically improved the quality of my GTD workflow by offering cloud sync, a great UI (way better than the Mac version) and an impressive feature set. Of all the apps on my homescreen and the ones I’ve tried, OmniFocus might be the single reason to get an iPad if I didn’t have one already.

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

Sure. I only use a case and a bag for my iPad: a Griffin Elan Passport case (ecru leather model) and a Tom Bihn Ristretto bag. The Ristretto is a great, high-quality bag that can easily fit cables, iPad camera connection kit dongles and iPad (inside the case) + ZAGGmate Bluetooth keyboard with ease. I also know some people who use the Ristretto to carry the iPad + MacBook Air 11-inch without any problems.

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

I can tell you the features I can imagine, because you can’t really know what Steve Jobs will come up with. Anyway, I would like a front-facing camera for FaceTime and Skype, a thinner and lighter design, a higher resolution screen (even though it looks like we won’t get it just yet with the iPad 2) and the obvious faster processor / more RAM / more storage. I also think touch-sensitive bezels would help in allowing developers to enable multi-touch gestures without overriding Apple’s ones (that aren’t coming with iOS 4.3). Oh, and a software developed by Apple to integrate the desktop with the iPad. Like a full-featured VNC client + lightweight Finder + cloud-based file management. I think a future iPad with more powerful specs will be able to handle this kind of desktop -> iOS portability.

Last question: You seem to tweet all day while I am awake, yet I am in Seattle and you are in Italy — do you set your schedule based on U.S. times, or just stay awake all day long?

That’s a good question. Yes, even if I live in Italy I have adjusted my life to the U.S. time zone. It’s better for work, but it lead to some “issues” with my friends and family at first. They have come understand my needs and times though, so it’s not really a problem now. The amount of caffeine I have every day doesn’t help sleep either, so that’s why it looks like I’m always online and available.

Thanks again to Federico for taking the time to give us a peek at his iPad life. You can follow him on Twitter he is @viticci.

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Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s iPad Life

Please welcome Julio Ojeda-Zapata a Minnesota based technology journalist. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I’m a technology writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a newspaper in Minnesota’s fine capitol. I cover consumer tech, both as a traditional reporter and as a tech-product reviewer. My Tech […]

Please welcome Julio Ojeda-Zapata a Minnesota based technology journalist.

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

I’m a technology writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a newspaper in Minnesota’s fine capitol. I cover consumer tech, both as a traditional reporter and as a tech-product reviewer. My Tech Test Drive column is published every Sunday, and I also maintain a tech blog called Your Tech Weblog.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

I was initially underwhelmed. There had been a lot of rampant speculation about how Apple would roll out some kind of new interface or approach to touch-screen computing, so when the iPad was unveiled, it struck me (as it did others) as just a big iPod Touch. Big whoop. When they did the iWork demo, though, I went, ‘hmmm, this thing could actually be useful.’ That was essentially the inspiration for my upcoming book, iPad Means Business, which is a business book focused on the iPad’s work and productivity implications.

Which model did you order and why?

I don’t currently own an iPad, though I anticipate buying one eventually. I have a couple of iPads on loan from Apple for book research as well as my Pioneer Press tech writing. I am almost done with my book, so the iPads are headed back to Cupertino shortly (one is going out tomorrow). The iPad I buy will probably be a second-generation model.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

I use the iPad for staying on top of important information (e-mail, RSS feeds, Twitter, and so on) when I am not at one of my home or work computers. I’m buffeted by a LOT of stuff on an hourly basis, so the iPad keeps me sane. The tablet is also my TV. I do a lot of Netflix and Hulu on it, and I also watch lots and lots of TV in the form of video files recorded on my Macs via Elgato EyeTV tuners. I have this routine down to a science. This is how I stay on top of all my favorite TV shows, such as “The Event” and “The Big Bang Theory.” When I travel, the iPad becomes more of a productivity device for writing and so on. One of the chapters in my book is a blow-by-blow account of one such business trip.

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

In addition to the aforementioned Hulu and Netflix, I use LogMeIn ignition for remote access to work and home computers; Amazon’s Kindle for reading (not just on the iPad, but via Kindle apps for other devices); Pandora for music; Read It Later for catching up with stuff I saved on my computers for future reference; Twitterific and the official Twitter app; Reeder for RSS; Simplenote for writing that gets automatically synced to other devices; Skype for voice calls via a USB headset and Apple USB adapter; Evernote for access to my Web clippings and other saved information; Dropbox for access to important stuff saved in the cloud; and the Boston.com Big Picture app for looking at gorgeous photography.

Which app is your favorite?

Probably Simplenote since it’s so simple, elegant and powerful. I’d add Netflix to the list since I am so reliant on that service, but its iPad app is an eyesore. It needs a aesthetic overhaul.

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

I think I am in a minority here, but I like Apple’s own iPad case. It can be paired with WaterField Design’s Exo SleeveCase for added protection. An alternate strategy is WaterField’s new iPad Wallet, which is a padded case with pockets for an iPad and Apple’s wireless keyboard, and room for other stuff. You can then stash the Wallet in your backpack, or attach the bundled shoulder strap and use it that way. Griffin Technology makes a bunch of different stands, and they’re all good. The Compass by Twelve South is another excellent option. ItÕs a rod-like piece of metal that pulls out of its tube-like carrying case and expands into a tripod-like configuration to serve as an elegant stand for the iPad in portrait or landscape. It is beautiful.

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

The one thing I really, really miss when traveling for business with an iPad is doing video conferences with my son. I crave a front-facing cam for some FaceTime with the kid. I gotta have that. I’ll scream if the second-generation iPad doesn’t have it.

Are you not buying an iPad because you hope the new versions are coming out soon?

I have no idea when new iPads will be released (I’m guessing they’ll be announced in January and released later) nor do I have a firm timetable for buying one. I’m in standby mode until second-generation models arrive in the hope that they have the features I want (especially a front-facing camera for video chatting) and I’ll likely wait a while beyond the next-gen release just to be sure Apple is not shipping a buggy product.

How will not having an iPad change the way you work?

As a tech writer who evaluates a continual stream of products, I have to remain highly flexible and adapt to whatever device I have in-house for testing. The Galaxy Tab is likely the next tablet I’ll have on loan for review, so that will be my primary work device for a bit, shifting my attention away from the iPad. Likewise, I am currently evaluating Windows Phone 7, which has shifted my attention away from the iPhone, and I am writing this on one of the new MacBook Air portables, which I also have in for review. Since I have a cloud-based work system, with all my stuff stored on Dropbox, Google Apps and so on, migrating from device to device is straightforward.

Thanks again to Julio for taking the time to give us a little insight into his iPad life. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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Shawn Blanc’s iPad Life

Please welcome Shawn Blanc, perhaps best known for his exquisite writing on ShawnBlanc.net, he was kind enough to take some time to share his iPad Life with me. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I am a full-time missionary at the International House of Prayer in Kansas […]

Please welcome Shawn Blanc, perhaps best known for his exquisite writing on ShawnBlanc.net, he was kind enough to take some time to share his iPad Life with me.

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

I am a full-time missionary at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I serve as the Director of Marketing and head up our website, design, branding, and most other communication efforts.

Because of my affinity of fine software and great design I write a tech- and design-centric website at shawnblanc.net. Also, I drive a 20th Anniversary Edition Volkswagen GTI (#3455 of 4000), and I love to snowboard.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

When Steve Jobs first announced the iPad in February it was pretty much what I expected. Watching him show it off, it just seemed like a big iPod touch. Not that I was unimpressed, just that it instantly seemed familiar.

But then the reviews started rolling out just a few days before it went on sale — I especially remember reading David Pogue’s, Andy Ihnatko’s, and Stephen Fry’s articles. Based on these guys’ reactions, it was obvious that the iPad wasn’t just a giant iPod touch and that the next few weeks and months were going to be very exciting for early adopters.

By then it was two days before the release, and so it was too late to pre-order one and get it in time for launch day. I had no choice but to arrive early at the Apple store and wait in line.

Which model did you order and why?

I bought the 16GB, Wi-Fi model (the 3G models weren’t available on day one), along with the Apple case and a bluetooth keyboard.

Based on how and where I use my laptop I knew I’d be fine with the version that offered Wi-Fi only. And based on how many apps and music I keep on my iPhone I knew 16GB of storage would be more than enough for me. And I was right.

Though it would be nice to have a 3G model so I could still have connectivity at times when Wi-Fi is not available, those times are few and far between. In fact, usually those times are when there is Wi-Fi but it’s slow.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

My iPad is used for all sorts of things: reading, writing, taking notes, jotting down to-do items, sketching out Website ideas for my team, setting meetings, checking email, and more.

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

I do a lot of reading in Instapaper, Reeder, and iBooks (Instapaper on the iPad is perhaps the best way to read the Internet). I also buy and read Wired every month.

Even with the plethora of writing apps which have come out, I still write all my notes in Simplenote, and do a lot of long-form writing here as well (using the bluetooth keyboard). Though I have bought and fiddled with Writer and PlainText and a few others, I am still sticking with Simplenote as my main writing/syncing app of choice.

For sketching, I use Penultimate; it’s fun and clever (though Adobe Ideas is also a good sketching app and happens to be free).

In the past few months OmniFocus has grown into a vital iPad app. Not only is OmniFocus a fantastic task-management app (on iPhone, iPad, and the Mac) but the iPad version is by far the strongest version of the three-app suite from OmniGroup, and I use it for my weekly project reviews.

Which app is your favorite?

Based on time spent in the app: Simplenote.

Based on most-frequently launched: Twitterrific.

Based on personal affection: Instapaper.

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

I use Apple’s iPad case. It gets a lot of flack, but I like it. It is not the coolest case ever (the sharp edges are annoying), but it is thin and highly functional.

If I need to prop my iPad up while its not in its case, I use an inexpensive book stand that I picked up on Amazon a few years back.

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

My future feature requests are just the usual suspects: retina display, an even longer battery life, and a lighter casing that makes it easier to hold in one hand.

Also, I’d love some sort of Apple-led, Dropbox killing, cloud service that allowed all my iPad, iPhone, and Mac apps to work much better together. Right now, each developer has to build their own syncing solution and though Dropbox is significantly helping make that possible, it’s not the ideal situation.

Thanks again to Shawn for taking the time to give us a little insight into his iPad life. Be sure to follow him on Twitter he is @shawnblanc.

More iPad Life

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Chris Bowler’s iPad Life

Please welcome Chris Bowler, he was kind enough to participate in this weeks iPad Life. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? My name is Chris Bowler and I am a Christian and a father of 6. I run a little boutique company called Fusion Ads and an […]

Please welcome Chris Bowler, he was kind enough to participate in this weeks iPad Life.

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

My name is Chris Bowler and I am a Christian and a father of 6. I run a little boutique company called Fusion Ads and an online store called the Idea Cafe. I’m a novice front end web developer and have a passion for many things, software and coffee chief among them.

My family and I live amidst the forests of northern British Columbia (Canada) and enjoy the blend of modern convenience in a small town.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

Mostly, meh. I mean, it was gorgeous and such a well designed piece of hardware, but it was clear from the start that I was not the target audience. I do very little consuming of media (TV, movies, magazines, games etc.), so a lot of the focus of the iPad did not apply to me. I didn’t have much need for another toy or satellite device.

Of course, we all knew that creating content would be possible on the iPad (as Chairman Gruber keeps harping on), but for the first while, it would be much harder to do my creating on an iPad than on my Macbook.

In the end, I did get one since Fusion Ads were going to be included in iPad apps. I wanted to be able to see the ads in beta apps before they hit the public.

Which model did you order and why?

The low end 16GB wifi version. It cost the least and I have no need to use the iPad in any location. If I do work from outside my home office, it’s always at a cafe with free wifi.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

Even though I don’t consume a lot of media, I do read a lot. So my iPad is usually where I thin out my feeds — it’s like a filter where I dismiss the articles that don’t interest me or read shorter, less intensive posts.

And thanks to OmniFocus, my iPad is now a key part of my work day. I keep an eye on my tasks there and do all of my weekly reviews with the iPad. It’s the first app where using the iPad version is easier and has less friction than the desktop counterpart. I give the biggest kudos to the OmniGroup team for creating an interface that just … flows.

As well, I foresee myself using it in face to face meetings with clients. It’s an ideal way to show and discuss content with others.

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

Mail, OmniFocus, Reeder, Twitter for iPad, Simplenote, Dropbox, Instapaper, YouVersion and most recently, Yojimbo.

Which app is your favorite?

OmniFocus, by far. Obviously Instapaper is great, seeing as the iPad is a great device for reading. But I had been perfectly happy consuming news before the iPad. OmniFocus changed the game for me.

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

I only use a stand and I’m very happy with it. It’s the Loop from Griffin. Although it looks a little large, it’s a pleasure to use. It’s sturdy and will not worry you about falling etc.

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

Just two: iOS multitasking and the Reeder feature from Safari on the desktop. I have a few sites I read regularly that would be a pleasure to be able to block out all the noise (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl). And I believe multitasking is self-explanatory.

Thanks again to Chris for taking the time to give us a little insight into his iPad life. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.

More iPad Life

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Tyler Galpin’s iPad Life

Please welcome Tyler Galpin, an incredible web designer and all around nice guy. I am very happy that he took time out of his busy schedule to talk iPads. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I am a 21 year-old web designer currently pushing pixels for MetaLab, […]

Please welcome Tyler Galpin, an incredible web designer and all around nice guy. I am very happy that he took time out of his busy schedule to talk iPads.

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

I am a 21 year-old web designer currently pushing pixels for MetaLab, a company I joined in September 2010. I’m also a university student finishing my completely-unrelated business degree in my spare time. Unlike most on the web design scene I hail from the Great White North (also known as Canada), more specifically in Toronto. Yes, I play hockey.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

When the iPad launched I was really excited for the possibilities of an extended iPhone interface. That is, being no longer constricted by the relatively small screen of the iPhone and the ability to interact with a large touchscreen at an affordable price point. The large screen plus the extended battery meant that it was a must have for myself. From a future standpoint, the iPad also felt like Apple’s stepping stone to an eventual desktop touchscreen device (most likely integrated with an iMac).

I own a Macbook Pro that weighs about 5 pounds which used to be my portable entertainment unit, but this quickly gathered dust as the iPad scales in at a mere 1.5 pounds. I do have to note that the iPad is in no way a practical replacement for my Macbook Pro. I still rely heavily on the ability to use Photoshop on-the-go and the iPad fails in this department.

Which model did you order and why?

Being in Canada, where the technology gods hate us, I actually had to get my iPad while visiting New York City a week or so after its release. I ended up with the 32GB Wifi version and there are a few reasons for this choice:

  • 32Gb seemed good enough in terms of being able to store lots of media long-term without forking over an extra $100 for 32GB more space.
  • Owning an iPhone 3G (with eventual plans to upgrade to the iPhone 4) meant that an additional 3G plan would have been redundant and expensive. The added cost of the 3G model plus the $35/month Rogers was asking for an iPad plan was not worth it in my opinion.
  • $600 was a reasonable price to me for a large touchscreen.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

On a daily basis I use my iPad for a few but very useful/important tasks:

  • Twitter: Yes, it is important. While I love Tweetie for mac, its nice to have twitter open in a dedicated screen beside my iMac so i can focus on using Photoshop/Espresso/Illustrator/Safari on my desktop.
  • Writing: I write to take down ideas, brainstorm a bit, blog (kidding – I totally neglect this), and compose emails. Mail.app is surprisingly delightful to use on the ipad.
  • Media watching: Sometimes I like to get away from my desk chair and lounge somewhere to watch things I’ve downloaded – converting files using Handbrake on my mac makes this a breeze.
  • Reading: Reeder.app for keeping up with my RSS feeds and to get inspiration from the myriad of design blogs. Instapaper for reading those articles and organizing sites I’ve saved for later perusal. Both of these apps are phenomenal, and I recommend that anyone who does a lot of web browsing to try Instapaper. I promise it’ll be worth your time.
Even the Safari browser gets a special mention here because it is really a joy to use and interact with.

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

  • Reeder: A great looking RSS app that integrates well with Google Reader
  • Twitter: The official app. Some wonky UI bits but overall a good Twitter app.
  • Writer: Literally just bought Writer only 2 weeks ago and have been warming up to it ever since. Some really great ideas in the app such as a focus mode, among others.
  • iStudiezPro: A stupid name, but a great app for a university student.
  • Instapaper: Seriously, go try it out.
  • Dropbox: A great way to access client files on-the-go and show designs easily.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Guilty as charged.

Which app is your favorite?

Choosing Instapaper as my favourite would be too easy so I’ll go with another app that I recommend you all download – the official TED app. Best of all? It’s free. You get access to dozens of inspirational talks that will get you fired up if you’re ever in a creative rut.

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

I have only ever used the official Apple case once or twice and didn’t like how cheap it felt (in my opinion). I bought the Incase Convertible Book Jacket which is priced around $59.99. It’s sturdy, has lots of padding (seriously, I’ve stacked books on this thing), and doubles as an iPad stand. It’s also relatively easy to take out in case you’re just not feeling the extra bulk.

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

After upgrading my 3G to an iPhone 4, I can tell you it is extremely hard to take the iPad as seriously as I did before seeing the Retina screen. I’m not kidding when I say it really changes the way you view the pixels on the iPad’s screen. I’d like to see the Retina screen migrate over to the iPad, as well as a front-facing camera. These options alone would be reason enough for me to upgrade to a newer iPad.

Thanks again to Tyler for taking the time to give us a little insight into his iPad life. Be sure to follow him on Twitter, he has a noble goal of trying to respond to anyone who pings him.

More iPad Life

To see more people’s iPad Lives take a look here.

Patrick Rhone’s iPad Life

Please welcome Patrick Rhone, best known for Minimal Mac Patrick was kind enough to take the time to talk iPads with me. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I’m likely best known these days as a Writer and Curator at Minimal Mac, where you will find original […]

Please welcome Patrick Rhone, best known for Minimal Mac Patrick was kind enough to take the time to talk iPads with me.

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

I’m likely best known these days as a Writer and Curator at Minimal Mac, where you will find original writing, links, quotes, photos and submissions around the theme of minimalist practices in the area of technology. An idea I often refer to as ÒenoughÓ.

I also am the proprietor of Machine Methods a firm that assists individuals and micro-businesses get the best out of technology.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

I knew I wanted one immediately. I was an Apple Newton user for many years. In fact, I used one as my main mobile machine for most of those. I knew the iPad was the next logical (and long awaited) progression of that idea. As someone who’s job is often highly mobile, anything I can do to reduce that load is a welcome one.

Which model did you order and why?

I bought the WiFi only 64GB model. I knew this would become my main mobile machine for the next couple of years so I did not want to have to worry about running out of space. As for 3G, well, in every case I might need it I have my iPhone with me and it is better suited for that kind of task, so I saw no need. In hindsight, I don’t use it for much onboard media (music so I likely could have sufficed with the 32GB model.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

As said, I use it for my main mobile machine. When I’m out and about, or even away from my desk at home, I’m on my iPad. Lots of email, browsing, writing, reading, etc. I do take the Apple Wireless Keyboard with me if I know I’m going to be doing a ton of typing (like now, for instance).

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

I do 95% of all of my writing on the iPad in Simplenote, which syncs with Notational Velocity on the desktop. It is a fantastic app. Instapaper for reading is equally fantastic. In fact, if those were the only two third party apps on my iPad I would probably be just fine. Reeder is used for my RSS feeds. I use Ego, less to see my stats but more to keep track of my multiple Tumblr based sites. Also, Mail.app and Safari get a ton of play. Twitterrific gets more than it should. Don’t even get me started on Angry Birds.

Which app is your favorite?

That would be a hard choice between Instapaper and Simplenote. If forced, under penalty of death, Simplenote would likely win. I am a writer after all.

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

I’m a big fan of Waterfield Design stuff. I have the iPad Ultimate SleeveCase slid into my in my larger briefbag. I also have the Keyboard Sleeve for the wireless keyboard.

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

The retina display will be very nice once it happens. Otherwise, it really is a near perfect device for me. I can’t think of anything else right now.

Thanks again to Patrick for taking the time to give us a little insight into his iPad life. Be sure to follow him on Twitter he is @patrickrhone.

More iPad Life

To see more people’s iPad Lives take a look here.

Dave Caolo’s iPad Life

Please welcome Dave Caolo, he was one of the first people to accept my invitation to be interviewed for the iPad Life series, also you can follow him on Twitter here. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? I live in a small town of about 6,000 people […]

Please welcome Dave Caolo, he was one of the first people to accept my invitation to be interviewed for the iPad Life series, also you can follow him on Twitter here.

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

I live in a small town of about 6,000 people on Cape Cod, MA. By day I’m an editor and writer at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. I also write and curate 52 Tiger. Otherwise, I can be found kayaking, playing with my kids or enduring the heartache that’s unique to all members of Red Sox Nation.

What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?

When it was first demonstrated in public, I was thrilled. For years, tablets failed to thrive in a significant way because the best method of user interaction had not been sorted out. At last, Apple solved the puzzle. Multi-touch, the iOS and the App Store convened in one spectacular piece of hardware. While many complained, “Eh, it’s just a big iPod touch,” I was blown away. “My goodness! It’s a big iPod touch!”

Which model did you order and why?

I bought a 16GB Wi-Fi model for a few reasons. First, I knew I wouldn’t put any music on it, as my iPhone fills that roll perfectly. Plus, I intended to use it as I do my laptop. I’ve rarely had trouble finding Wi-Fi for my MacBook Pro, and the same has been true of the iPad. I know where to go to find free Wi-Fi. So far, I’ve been happy with my decision. I’ve got a couple of movies, a couple of TV shows and a slew of apps loaded with room to spare.

How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?

It depends on the time of day, really. While I’m at my desk, it makes a killer dedicated Twitter station when docked and paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. I also enjoy checking and responding to email with my iPad.

In the evening, I love reading with it. In fact, I’ve been doing more reading since getting it. It’s undeniably comfortable, and I enjoy sitting in a quiet chair to browse my Instapaper queue, read newspapers (something I haven’t done consistently in years) and books and so on. Even the web is more pleasant with the iPad when reading is your goal.

Finally, I’ve been making great use of Netflix streaming and many of the cooking apps. Epicurious is a favorite.

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

Sure. In no particular order, I use: – InstapaperFlipboard (now my preferred way to interact with Facebook) – Twitterrific (the only Twitter app I use on the iOS) – USA TodayOmniFocusSimplenoteiBooksNPRAt Bat – Mail

Which app is your favorite?

It’s impossible to choose! I spend the most time in Twitterrific, Instapaper and Mail. So, I guess those three.

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

Yes, I use a DODOcase that I bought soon after the iPad was released, and I love it. It’s extremely well-built and functional. When I’m cooking, watching videos or typing, the DODOcase is in place. In fact, my iPad is in the DODOcase more often than not.

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

First and foremost I’m eager for folders. I’ve got several reading apps, like iBooks, Instapaper, Kindle, Nook and GoodReader that are dying to be grouped. Likewise, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Apple’s Videos app could be grouped. I’m also eager for multi-tasking, as the iPhone has spoiled me.

It would be great to dock a future model in the landscape orientation, so I can be charging while watching a long movie, and of course a front-facing camera and FaceTime would turn it into a honest-to-goodness Jetsons phone. Who doesn’t want that?

Thanks again to Dave for taking the time to share his iPad Life with us, also be sure to check out 52tiger.net where Dave has been doing a great job talking about reading experiences on the iPad.

More iPad Life

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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 forkbombr.net.

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.

Homescreen

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 Forkbombr.net and check his site out.

More iPad Life

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