So the utterly unexpected happened and I have the uber gadget of extreme lustworthyness – as provided by work! (Although voluntary it is, of course, still work.)
I shall not bore with attempting to reproduce the extraordinary levels of excitement this provokes. It’s awesomeness on a stick, not just because it’s a small object of extraordinary beauty but also (and mainly) because of what it can do.
But let us start with the invention of which I am extremely proud. Obviously work provides the bottom of the range model without accessories and, it transpires, as with all Apple goods the accessories come at the usual exorbitant price. Protection was easy to provide – a padded envelope of suitable dimensions from the pile awaiting recycling.
A stand looked like it might be rather more difficult, but inspiration struck. I took an old compact camera tripod (small, very light weight with extendible legs) and removed the head leaving only the three legs joined at the top with their feet encased in rubber “socks”. The addition of a rubber band at the top of each leg for added frictive stability and bob’s your aunty. A cheap, tiny, lightweight, highly adjustable and very stable stand. I’m sitting on an intercity train with the iPad on it’s stand on the flip-down tray and it hasn’t budged so far through any of the jolts and jouncings that it’s been subject to. I first called it the TRiPad, but maybe triPod would be better.
The triPod is so small it (or at least one of its legs) fits in my bag’s pencil sleeve.
The triPod ready for action on the table – note how the two “bottom” legs can be extended or retracted to provide optimum stability whether in landscape or portrait view and the “top” leg can be extended or retracted to provide the ideal viewing angle of choice.
And here’s the iPad snugly on its stand, paired with the bluetooth keyboard (on my lap) and entirely ready for action.
Since the iPad has wifi but no 3G working out how to get “stuff” onto the iPad from elsewhere and off the iPad and onto the iPhone (from where it can be uploaded via 3G if there’s no wifi available) is an ongoing subject of investigation. Obviously the ideal would be to have the pad tethered to the phone’s signal in some way, but I can’t see Apple allowing that any time soon. Certainly not without being able to make shed-loads of money from it.
But a cursory search reveals an awesome app which twins the phone’s camera to the pad’s display via bluetooth, and the picture-taking and storage happen on the pad. Thus it is that one can achieve the mind-blowing (to me) recursive delight of ones reflected self pictured taking a picture of taking a picture using the phone and pad working in tandem.
The bluetooth keyboard, which we already had, pairs beautifully with the pad despite not being the iPad-specific device the store recommends to use with it. However the experience isn’t entirely trouble free at present. I can’t tell whether it is the fact that the keyboard was rather vigorously cleaned with an unfortunately more-than-damp sponge or whether it’s just a dodgy connection. We are, after all, on a fast-moving vehicle surrounded by hundreds of other electronic devices which may or may not be interfering with the process. I tend to think it was water in the works since the very strange and intermittent phenomenon of the iPod (music player bit) randomly turning on and off again and blaring out music has ceased. Now what we have is the unpredictable arrival of the number 7 in varying numbers (usually around 30 or so) in the text. So the jury has still to be out on the keyboard connection due to a possibly self-administered spanner in the works.
(We’ve just gone over an extended and very bumpy series of points outside Peterborough. I note that the screen of the MacBook belonging to the woman seated diagonally in front of me and on which she is watching old episodes of some non-House medical soap has been flapping backwards and forwards with the motion. The iPad has, by contrast, been rock steady on its fabulous triPod.)
The other major discovery worthy of note has been the Opera mini browser. Lightening fast and – oh joy! – flash-enabled. This is particularly useful for work since the new web-based tools which I’m helping test and will be rolling out require flash.
So what do I find myself using? Opera is the browser of choice for the reasons mentioned above, even though it’s half-size/pixelated on the iPad screen. Mail works like a dream, just as efficient as on the phone (once the difference is sorted out between one’s IMAP and ones elbow). This is being typed on Elements which syncs seamlessly with Dropbox. I’ve never been able to get to grips with Evernote, but that’s probably because Dropbox has done everything I’ve ever needed. Photos and videos move effortlessly between Dropbox and the photo library. And pdf files can now be opened (and thereby saved directly into) iBook. I’ve not listened to the iPod bit – that’s what my phone’s for, and why fill up the pad’s small disc? – but the interface is lovely.
(Now involved in the aforementioned work, further adventures later no doubt.)