iPad: Initial Thoughts

After a 2 month saga (during which it really looked like the darned thing wasn’t going to arrive in time for my research trip to NYC), I lucked out and managed to get an iPad locally. I’m deeply indebted to the nice people (especially David) at the Southlake, TX Apple Store for hooking me up with a white 64GB AT&T iPad 2 (not the black one I’d ordered from Apple Education, but I secretly wanted the white one anyway). Why was I so eager to get an iPad? To play Angry Birds or Doodle Jump? Nope … I’m “that guy” who actually wants the thing for work. 

The primary reason I got an iPad is for my upcoming research trip to NYC, where I’m planning to finish up research on my book about the Young Lords — one with more of my writing than my last book on the group. Having worked in archives and walked around NYC plenty of times before, I’ve been frustrated by the weight of all my equipment (at one time, a computer, scanner, and camera all packed into my bag), the amount of space it takes up (even my petit 13″ MacBook Pro), and the lack of power outlets and internet access.

Given those frustrations, I think the iPad 2 may be the (nearly) prefect accompaniment in the archive. In addition to addressing the space, weight, and connectivity issues, the iPad 2 could cut down on clutter (since there are no cables and no need for a separate camera) and generally simplify things by keeping everything I need in one place. Heck, thanks to apps like Penultimate and Notability, I don’t even need a pad of paper to write thing by hand.

So now that I finally have my iPad 2, what do I think of it?

Drooooool.

This thing is damn slick. I can’t believe how thin, light, and sleek it is. Without question, it is beautifully designed; and with the same general interface of my iPhone (iOS), it felt familiar as soon as I turned it on. I snapped a couple of photos of paperwork in my fluorescent-lit office and they turned out great — not high-quality scan great, but as good as a library photocopier. I imagine that using my iPhone or DSLR to take pictures and then transferring them to my iPad with the camera connection adaptors would allow me to have even better quality pictures if needed.

All of that said, I’m still figuring out how some of these new apps work and how best to get everything streamlined for doing research. Before I go to NYC, I’ll be sure to post again about how I’ve setup the iPad; then I’ll revisit the issue once I’ve used it in the archives.

Stay tuned….

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