I recently traveled back east for work and was determined to leave my laptop at the office, yet still have the flexibility of staying connected to deal with time sensitive work issues while I was away. The only technology I carried on my trip was my iPhone and my iPad. My iPhone and iPad are set up with work and personal email accounts, calendars, and contacts. I also have the convenience of Documents To Go on both devices.
Currently, I am not able to use my iPad to connect through a work VPN. However, we recently set up a Box.net corporate account and I have the application downloaded on both my iPhone and iPad. Before I left town I uploaded a few of my current project documents and other documents I may have needed for reference while I was on the road. I also had the ability to have my staff email me a document if it was not already in my Box.net account, but I wanted to avoid having to ask people to take their time to send me information.
I am a typical business traveler that is glued to my technology. I am always checking email, both business and personal, and wanting to stay connected to my family (often through texting). I was very happy to have in flight internet on my flight between west coast and east coast. I paid for the internet connection, which was $12.95 for the duration of the flight, and my iPad kept me occupied for hours.
What I discovered on my trip is that the iPad allowed me to be efficient and stay connected to the office through email (while I was in the air). I was also able to connect to Box.net, Netflix, Hulu+, listen to music, read my Kindle, and stay current on Facebook and headline news. The best part…my iPad battery lasted the full flight with power left over when I arrived on the ground. I was content during my flight and felt productive and entertained. My 5 ½ hour flight felt about 3 hours long. Even if I did not have the convenience of the in flight internet, I feel I would still have been equally productive. I simply would have sent my emails as soon as we landed and rather than Netflix and Hulu+ I would have read more on my Kindle and relaxed with a little more music.
If I had relied on my laptop to get me through the flight, which I have done many times before, I would have been frustrated with loss of battery power and maneuvering in a tight space with a piece of equipment that is cumbersome on an airplane. Having the iPad also made getting up and down for other passengers (I was in an aisle seat) much easier.
I can remember when we all started using laptops on planes and thought it was the best way to travel. However, now that I have had a chance to fly with my iPad, I will never use a laptop on the plane again. There really is no need. Any work project I wanted to spend time with was easily accomplished with the iPad, even Excel spreadsheets. My briefcase was much lighter this trip, and my shoulder was much happier when I got home.