Typical day in the life of an iPad 2

The iPad 2 has become an integral part of my work day. Follow along on a typical day with an iPad 2.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Those who follow my tech coverage on ZDNet know that I don't just cover new gadgets, I use them in my daily life. When a gadget assumes a big role in my work I share how I use it, occasionally by detailing a day in the life of that device. The iPad 2 has already assumed such a role, and here is a day in the life of my iPad 2.

Even though I work at home my work day starts very early as my wife works across town and our alarm goes off promptly at five o'clock. I stumble out of bed and grab the first cup of joe for the day. Coffee in hand the next thing I pick up is my iPad 2.

While enjoying my caffeine fix I check the email that has come in during the previous night. While the Mail app on the iPad is not as good as the Gmail app on Android, it is good enough for everything I need to do. This app uses Gmail's IMAP capability to handle labels in a way sufficient for my needs. I will be glad when Google gets the Gmail app of iOS fixed and back in the App Store for me to give it a try.

Once my email has been triaged using the iPad 2, I jump into Twitter to check for any direct messages and replies to my tweets from the night before. I use the Twitter app on the iPad as I find it better than other apps I have tried. I like the sliding pane method Twitter uses on the iPad.

With email and Twitter processed, I jump in the browser and check this blog for comments on recent posts, and how traffic is doing. Sometimes the post comments lead me to jump elsewhere on the web to check on things others have mentioned. I like the way the Safari browser has tabs on the iPad since iOS 5, and before long I have 3 or 4 web sites open in tabs, happily jumping back and forth as needed.

With my preliminary day's work out of the way, I get ready for the day's real work. I sit down at my desk around six o'clock and fire up the MacBook. The iPad 2 goes in the Jadu Skadoosh stand to the left of my external monitor connected to the MacBook, which goes on a laptop stand to prop the screen up at a good height. I can easily work with the iPad 2 in the stand as I work at my desk, and I plug the iPad 2 in for charging while in the stand as I do not charge it overnight.

I leave Pocket Informant HD running on the iPad 2 while in the stand, whcih gives me access to my task list, calendar, and the Today view which pulls everything I need for the day onto one screen. This keeps me on task and focused on the things that matter for this day. Pocket Informant syncs automatically with my information in the Google cloud so anything I do on the iPad is instantly reflected on my other systems using Google.

My morning work keeps me busy at the MacBook, referring to the iPad 2 as needed. Before long it's time to have a healthy lunch, and the iPad 2 leaves the stand and spends the lunch break with me. I usually have a salad for lunch at home, and I use the Kindle app on the iPad to read while I eat. This is a wonderful break for me as I am a voracious reader.

When I finish eating I jump from the Kindle app to check any mail that has arrived. I skim the email headers to see which of the messages need immediate attention.

Once the lunch break is over I head back to the office, a commute of 10 seconds or so. I pick up at the desk where I left off, working for a couple of hours. When afternoon breaktime arrives, I decide I need a change of scenery for a while, along with a good coffee from my local beanery.

I put the iPad 2 in the Logitech Keyboard Case, throw them in my gear bag and head for the coffee shop. In ten minutes I am sitting at a table in the shop with the iPad 2 sitting in the keyboard ready for work.

I like to listen to podcasts while I work so I fire up Downcast, my favorite podcatcher. I use my Plantronics 590 Bluetooth headphones so I don't bother others in the shop. I like this full-featured app, especially the ability to set the listening speed slightly faster than normal. This lets me finish podcasts in less time than usual, without sounding bad, so I can get more podcast listening in.


I have an idea for an article so I fire up iThoughtsHD and map out a brief outline. I jump into the browser as needed and flesh out the article very quickly. I bounce back and forth between these two apps for a while, using the four-finger swipe method to slide back and forth.

Once the outline for the article is mapped out, I jump into Evernote to write it. Entering the article using the keyboard is as fast and capable as if I had a full laptop with me, but at a fraction of the size and weight. The long battery life of the iPad 2 makes it a mobile workhorse, and I don't even worry about battery consumption during the day.

Once the article is written in Evernote, I save it which sends it to the cloud. It is then available to me on every computer and gadget I use. I will copy and paste it into my desktop browser for final editing and publishing once back in the office.

I move from article to article, and in this session I do the groundwork for three stories I want to tell. I do all the research online I need to do, and either outline or write all of the articles. This is a very efficient way to work, as the one app on screen at a time method presented by the iPad 2 eliminates all distractions that normally hit me back at my desk. I am totally focused on the task at hand, and that is a very powerful thing.

The research starts with the Reeder app to spin through the hundreds of RSS feeds I follow with Google Reader. Reeder presents each article in a concise way that lets me cover a lot of ground while focusing on individual news items when needed.

After Reeder, I fire up Zite to have topics of interest presented in a magazine layout that is enjoyable to read, and often tips me on the subjects that interest me. I also use Flipboard this way, which is similar but with lots of different news sources I have input into the app. Using these three apps I cover an enormous amount of information, quickly and effortlessly.


Using the iPhone 4S I take a photo of the iPad and keyboard for one of the articles, and since I have Photostream enabled this photo is instantly available on both the iPad and my MacBook back at the office. It is great to have this just happen. I even edit the photo on the iPad using the Photo app, lightening it up a bit and cropping it for eventual publication.

The cloud focus of iOS 5 transcends photo work, as iMessage plays a role too. When I first got to the coffee shop I used iMessage to send a message to my wife's iPhone 4. We then got in a back and forth conversation, she on her iPhone and me on the iPad. It is very cool how iMessage works between devices this way, and even carries on the conversation when I switch between the iPad and the iPhone 4S.

After a very productive session working in the coffee shop, I snap the iPad 2 back in the keyboard case and head back to the home office. Once there, the iPad 2 goes back in the stand, and I finish my work day in the office.

Evening duty for the iPad 2 consists of all of the activities I have done throughout the day, mostly reading with the Kindle app, checking email as it arrives, and tweeting a bit. I do a lot of web surfing while watching TV, too.

I take the iPad 2 to bed, and read the current novel of interest before the end of the day. When it's time to go lights out, I set the iPad 2 on the nightstand and call it a day. This was a typical work day with the iPad 2, and as usual it played a major role, serving many functions. It is not the only tablet capable of doing these things by any means, but it does them well and works for me.

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