Why I'm writing this on a 27 in iMac
I'm almost lost as I stare at the screen to write this post. 27 inches is a lot of screen real estate to work with, but boy do I love this new iMac! It is fast, fast, fast. I never thought of my Macbook Pro as being a slow machine but this is crazy fast in comparison. Typesetting my textbook project used to take minutes on the MBP, now it takes just a few seconds. Why all this speed? Maybe it is due to the 8 GB of memory and the 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor.
The more interesting question is why am I replacing my MBP with an iMac? The answer, in a word, is iPad. After trying out my iPad for a few days back in April I was convinced that I would no longer need a notebook, and that my money would be better spent on a desktop. After traveling in Europe for 28 days with the iPad as my only computer I am convinced I was right. The iPad is the best computer ever for traveling.
On the Plane
Flying with an iPad is great. We had a seven hour flight and I had loaded several movies and a bunch of TV show episodes onto my iPad, I've never had a more enjoyable long flight. I can't sleep on planes, so it was great to be able to watch two movies and a few episodes of Merlin on the flight over. My Bose noise canceling headphones make the experience even better as they do such a great job of blocking out the jet noise.
When I wasn't watching a video I was reading. I had several books loaded on both iBooks and Kindle apps. I really wish there was more selection in the iBooks store, as I'm finding they rarely have the book I want, so the kindle app gets used more frequently.
Finally, if I wasn't watching or reading I had several games loaded to keep me entertained. I like Scrabble, Strategery, and Fieldrunners the best, although I did play a few games of chess against tChess Lite.
On the Ground
While on the ground I found several apps to be incredibly useful. WeatherBug is awesome for checking the weather forecast while away, its easy to add new cities and the coverage in the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia is excellent.
For keeping up with the daily technology news I really like Early Edition. It is beautiful in that it takes away all the hassle of marking things as read or whatever, every day you just get a nice newspaper like layout of the new articles that have come in since yesterday. I love how this keeps me from getting overwhelmed with stuff when I get a few days behind. If someone comes out with an Early Edition like reader for the mac I'm almost sure that would replace my longtime favorite, NetNewsWire, on my desktop.
Every day I also used the Photo app, it was so easy to transfer pictures from my Canon 7D to the iPad. After the transfer I could delete the really bad pictures right away, and it was great to be able to look at the photos I had taken on the iPad size screen rather than the little screen on the camera. I really wish apple would make it possible to rate and organize pictures on the iPad that would make it even better. Now that I'm home, I still have to go through the process of picking the best of the 1000 pictures I took and organizing them into an album. If you could do that on the iPad then I could pick the best of each day as I go along. I also bought PhotoForge for the iPad because there were a couple of times that I wanted to upload a photo to Facebook, and its impossible to edit the photos on Facebook using Safari on the iPad. PhotoForge is great and very easy to use.
The other app that got a lot of use was Evernote. prior to leaving my wife had prepared notes for each day of the trip, along with pdf maps and other info about each destination. Although she had saved them as notes in our shared Dropbox account I found it to be much easier to drag them all into Evernote rather than the hassle of marking each document as a favorite in Dropbox so I could have offline access. I really wish Dropbox would improve the iPad and iPhone clients to make it easier to keep things available offline.
Finally, I wrote a blog entry almost every day of the trip using BlogPress. I purchased an Apple Bluetooth keyboard for writing purposes and I really love it for writing longer blog entries. For Facebook and email the onscreen keyboard is fine, but for longer writing the keyboard was awesome, and it proved to be very durable and easy to carry along in my daypack. BlogPress itself worked like a champ. It was a breeze to choose pictures from the Photo app to drop into the blog, and it also worked very well offline. A lot of times I would write the blog entry when I wasn't in wi-fi range and then just post it when I found some free wi-fi. I also like how BlogPress makes it easy to make a Facebook posting every time I publish a blog entry. That was a great way for friends and family to know there was something new to read.
Incidentally I did not find myself wishing for a 3G iPad at all. I was always able to find some kind of wi-fi no matter where we were. Every hotel we stayed in had wi-fi available, not always free, but I would say in 90% of the hotels it was free. If it wasn't free in the hotel it was not too hard to find a pub or restaurant nearby that did have it available, for the price of a coffee or drink.