Apple’s iPad is a sleek, (relatively) lightweight, and highly competent tablet computer. Most people think of tablets as consumer devices, often overlooking their hidden virtues such as mobility, speed, applications, and add-ons. Social media professionals should definitely consider one for their arsenal.
Before getting my iPad I really saw the whole genre as an oversized, and unneeded extension of the iPod line of ‘computing’. I mistakenly figured it was something that I could play with and consume media on, but not really a device I could get serious production work done with. Over the course of the last few months, this little gem of glass and silica has completely changed my opinion not only of the device, but of the future of computing.
One of the reasons for portable computing is being able to take your computing anywhere you need to go with limited hassle. Smaller than average laptops and lighter, the iPad (and other tablets) is an extremely lightweight solution. The ability to throw one into a backpack and go at a moment’s notice is downright helpful. They are hardy, rugged devices with no hinges or moving parts to get in the way. Just a single piece of machinery. It is the very meaning of ‘thin’ computing.
My iPad is fast. It is always on (well, if it’s asleep, it is on at the touch of a button). It starts up quickly and is ready to serve my writing needs without a boot time. No wait states, no fuss. Apps launch quickly and with minimal application overhead. It’s just one heck of a speedy little device!
Much talk is made of the hundreds of thousands of applications (apps) available for mobile devices on iOS (Apple’s operating system for mobile computing) and Android devices (those devices that operate on Google’s version of mobile operating system). I won’t rehash the thousands of free and paid apps, but I will say that there are several applications that have made my social media management life easier and more efficient.
HootSuite is one such app that despite the lackluster performance on my home computers (a late model Mac mini and a MacBook laptop) actually runs faster on my iPad. It’s performance, literally blows away that of machines with a comparable price-point (in the case of the Mac mini) that are made for higher performance. The lack of legacy code and with the advent of HTML 5, this new brand of portable and lightweight computing, at times, simply out-performs machines costing more.
Similarly, the WordPress app has made blog updates, and even simple Web site changes possible without having to resort to my main computers.
The last item I will mention are all the add-ons and the goodies that extend the usefulness of your iPad or tablet device. Connect a bluetooth keyboard and now you are not only able to compute, but you can actually get some writing and/or coding done. Similarly, the addition of a cover or small carrying case means that you will have a device you want to take with you at a moment’s notice.
The iPad is not a cure-all for die-hard computing. It is still largely a single-app-at-a-time device—although I am listening to music and chatting with a friend in the background while writing this from the iPad—but it gets the job done elegantly and capably. Tasks are generally limited to what you’re doing at one time, and other tasks get frozen in the background, so if multi-tasking is your thing, the iPad may not be the device for you.
However, the next time you’re in the market for a computer, think about the intended uses and ask yourself what can you live with and live without. Weigh the costs, the weight, and the expense. The iPad, just might surprise you with it’s usefulness and extensibility for content production.
It has for this social media content producer.
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