24 Hours Without Using My Laptop

When I got my iPad back in April I questioned whether I could get by sometimes with just using my iPad instead of my MacBook Pro. Since that time a lot more Apps have come out and a lot more functionality is there. I don't see the iPad replacing my laptop any time in the near future, but I could certainly see using it solo on short (non business) trips where running my full range of Creative Suite desktop apps is not needed. Last week I took a pleasure trip to New York for a day. Before I left I thought about what I would be doing on this trip and figured that there was technically nothing that I would "need" my laptop for. I knew I would be checking email, social networking, responding to blog comments, browsing the web, reading my RSS feeds, etc. I couldn't think of a single thing that I would "need" to do that I couldn't do on the iPad. So I decided to force myself to use just the iPad the entire, albeit short trip. Just in case: I did bring my MacBook Pro too. However, my goal was to never take it out of the bag. 

 

I did it

I got through the entire trip without touching the MacBook Pro. I have the WiFi-3G version and I was able to be connected anywhere I went. However, AT&T service in the Times Square hotel I stayed in was horrible. For this reason I pulled out my AirPort Express and connected it to the room's ethernet cable. This gave me much better wireless internet in the room. The only time I was tempted to pull out my MacBook Pro was when I need to type large amounts of text in responding to an email. While I can use the onscreen iPad keyboard just fine, I don't enjoy using it for more than a few words at a time. I was thinking that I should have brought along my keyboard dock.

 

The next thing I bought

Although this little experiment was a complete success, I saw the immediate need for a keyboard. While I already own the Apple Keyboard Dock, it's not really designed for travel. Then I remembered a Bluetooth Keyboard/Case that a buddy (Mike) showed me and I thought, this is the one I would want to use on my next trip.

I bought it in the airport Brookstone (yes I paid too much) on the way home! They even offered to sell me one that was charged up. I declined as I wasn't going to use it right then and there, but that is a great thing that you do for your customers. Kudos!

I didn't test it until I got home and charged it up. It connected/paired as advertised. However, I hit an immediate snag on the very first thing I typed. I went to repsond to a Twitter comment with "Thank You" and I noticed right then and there that there is no Shift Key on the right side of the keyboard. I thought, "you've got to be kidding me?" Sure enough there are arrow keys, a return key and all the other keys you would expect, but no right side Shift Key. I happened to be on the phone with Scott Kelby (a popular writer/author) and I thought for sure he would share in my shock and frustration and he said "I never use the right Shift key." That floored me! I wondered was I the only one using both Shift Keys on a standard keyboard? Anyway, I can certainly train myself to use just the one on the left, but I thought it was an odd sacrifice for space. Otherwise the keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on. It rocks an impressive 90 hour battery life on a single charge! 

While this case/keyboard is GREAT, it does add a little extra weight onto the already slightly heavy iPad. This will not be my day-to-day case. It will definitely become my travel case!

Brookstone charges $99 for their version of this keyboard/case, but you can get it here for only $69.



  • Ryan

    That is crazy. I also use the right Shift key… but then I learned to type back in the 80s.

  • Ivan Berka

    I’m another one never using right Shift key (yeah, I’m right-hander). I even think I’ve never tried it out whether it works at all :-)

  • Len Zigante

    Lack of a keyboard is exactly what I see as a big problem with ipads too so that keyboard/case is an ideal solution. As for the missing shift key, that floors me. How can anyone type quickly without the need to capitalize those keys the left pinky normally covers (AQZ?). Seems like a bad call to me :-(

  • Reggie S.

    Terry — actually there’s no right-side shift key on the iPad either.

    • http://terrywhite.com terrywhite

      Good point, but I don’t rest both hands and type normally on the onscreen keyboard (my hands are too big). I do more of a fast 2 finger typing or even one hand typing. I never missed it with the onscreen one .

    • Leland

      You made me look — yup, there’s a shift key on the right side of my iPad’s keyboard (the onscreen one, that is; I don’t use a hardware keyboard for it). There’s no reason to abandon it anyway. Want to capitalize “W” at the beginning of a sentence? Even an “E”? It’s a lot easier with a right-side shift key. ;)

  • Dave

    Dude, I have been without my MacBook for 5 days so far.. it is killing me.. (beer on the keyboard is not good thing)
    24 hour without it when you have a iPad.. Piece of cake :)

  • http://Michelle.ogre.com Michelle H

    I always use the right shift key. Same as Ryan – learned to type in the 80’s (7th grade typing with the shop teacher).

  • Adam Wilon

    Does no-one else see the madness is having an iPad and using a keyboard so it just works like a laptop without the mouse? In fact, its just a laptop without a hinge. This has got to be uncomfortable having to type and hold your hand out to navigate, just seems very unergonomic.

    • http://terrywhite.com terrywhite

      The difference I guess is that I can use an iPad without an external keyboard the vast majority of the time (which I do) and when I do use a keyboard it’s still smaller and lighter than my laptop. Also keep in mind had it not been for that ONE email that I had a lengthy response to I wouldn’t have missed the physical keyboard at all.

      • Adam Wilon

        Fair enough. I suppose it is still smaller so wins that battle. Is it thicker than a Macbook Air I wonder at that point? Good post though, food for thought.

        • http://terrywhite.com terrywhite

          Probably thicker than an MBA with this case. BTW I address the MBA vs. iPad debate here: http://terrywhite.com/archives/6312 Hands down if the MBA were more powerful it would be my top (laptop) choice and I still think it’s the right choice over an iPad for many people. For me though since it can’t replace my MBP, I’ll stick with a MBP/iPad combo as opposed to a MBP/MBA combo.

  • Jan W

    Well, my HpBook :-D (hmm.. doesnt sound as good as MacBook) died this weekend, so I have been without mine for 3 days. I do have 3 other computer in my house, so I think I’ll manage for now, as I have no travel plans until May. But man, its handy to have, so ill definently be shopping for a new one.

    I use both Shift keys, so i could imagine the PITA it would be to not have the right shift key. I would be freaking if they had left out the backspace key…

  • http://www.tuttleimages.com frank t

    Funny, I was just thinking of the same thing for my travels, but I bought the Apple Wireless Keyboard (the “short one” not the full size 101 key one). While not as elegant as the all-in-one-case you bought, I find the keyboard nice to use at home as well as on the road.

  • Ken M

    Terry – Can you talk about the apps you used on your travel :)

  • Susettefisher Fisher

    I need your advice. My grown son was recently robbed of his iPhone and his IPad. He wouldn’t talk much about it so I do not know if he was traumatized at gun point or what. I know he did not use Mobile me. Is there anything else you can think of he can use when he replaces them to protect them? Sorry this is off topic…If it weren’t for the detective calling I might never have known.

    • http://terrywhite.com terrywhite

      First off I’m terribly sorry about your son’s loss. Apple has made the Find My iPhone App FREE (no MobileMe account required) to all iPhone 4, 4 generation iPod touch and iPad users. I would definitely go that route for remote tracking and worse case remote WIPING! http://bit.ly/g1JE9d

  • Susan

    I’m with Terry and the other right Shift-ers, probably because I learned to type ‘way back. Can’t imagine the rationale behind leaving out such essential keys, or putting them in totally illogical places just to save a few millimeters’ space (HP once made a laptop with an almost unreachable CTRL key). The designers obviously don’t type much, and the UAT cycle either didn’t happen or was conducted by idiots.

  • Jamie

    I can *almost* live without the right shift key, but I cannot handle the relocation of the apostrophe key to the bottom row on this keyboard… we ordered a few to try out for my work, but most people returned it with a frown. I also learned to type in the 80’s, but unlike most people these days, I actually include all punctuation when I’m typing. Autocorrect works great, but I can’t get over it and I contract too much anyway. ;)

  • http://www.mscgallery.com Marty Cohen

    I just discovered Clamcase for Professionals. It has similar features AND a Right Shift Key. I haven’t used it, but it’s worth a look:
    http://clamcase.com/for-professionals

  • Andrew Urbaczewski

    I tried one at Brookstone and wound up ordering it online. I don’t know who actually makes it but it appears to be marketed under several names. The one I found online at Amazon was $53 with free shipping.

    I do though wonder why I ordered it when I am also carrying a MBA on a daily basis.

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