Here is how my life is measurably improved because of iPad, Audible, Streaming Video, Google Services and Prezi.
iPad – 2nd Generation, WiFi + 3G model
The second generation iPad with 3G is a great tablet. Light, good battery life, and pretty good screen. The 4th generation models haven’t lured me to upgrade… yet. The iPad is now my “go to” device for reading web content, blogs, Twitter, and watching video. And that’s how I realize many positive benefits. For example I use my iPad while exercising on the elliptical. With the abundance of streaming video for entertainment I have doubled my hours per week working out. The iPad is a great platform for giving a presentation. The pinch to zoom visual enhancement provides an interactive quality you don’t get slinging PowerPoint slides. Below are the five services that enhance my daily life routines.
Audible – Listen to the Written Word
I drive a 2+ hour commute several times a week. With Audible I listen to books for education and entertainment. Currently “reading” Walt Disney’s Biography. Without Audible, I wouldn’t be able to do much reading. With Audible, I am guaranteed at least 3-4 hours a week of reading time. And a recent cool factor enhancement is the ability to sync audiobooks to the Amazon Kindle. With sync, I can listen to a few chapters, switch to the Kindle and read a few chapters, and then resume in the audiobook.
Streaming Video Apps – PBS, HBO GO, ABC, Amazon Instant Video
The iPad plus many streaming video apps has improved my physical health. Because I am exercising many more hours a week. Previously my barrier to exercise was the boredom factor. With video, I am able to catchup on favorite television shows, discover new video content, and watch documentaries that I might otherwise miss. It’s amazing the amount of video content available just within a few apps. My favorites are PBS, HBO GO (you need to be a HBO cable subscriber), ABC, and Amazon’s new Instant Video app (you need to be an Amazon Prime member). I am never lacking “entertainment” while exercising.
Google Services – Frictionless Collaboration
I wrote a whole post about Google Apps for collaboration, and using the iPad with the various Google apps just adds more flexibility. With over 100 million units sold, Google is assured to continue to offer great application software even as they try to enhance their own preferred Android tablet platforms.
With Google Chrome, Google Drive, Gmail, Google+ and the dedicated iOS Google App, all the various web services have an app too. But it is confusing to know which apps to use or whether to use the HTML equivalent with Chrome or Safari. Google needs to do a better job packaging the iOS apps.
Google Drive and Chrome iOS apps are the “glue” that bridge the iPad to my Macbook Air. I can use the iPad as a “third screen” truly disconnected from the Macbook, but sill accessing bookmarks, open tabs and documents. I find myself carrying the iPad to meetings and leaving the Macbook at my desk. I like the “fluid flexibility.”
PDF and Prezi – New Presentation System
Recently I have been using the iPad to deliver presentations. I started by using simple PDF export of slides created with PowerPoint or Google Presentations. PDF files sync’d over Google Drive, with an iPad VGA or HDMI cable connected to a projector, brings a fresh, kinetic feel to a live presentation. With PDF, the pinch to zoom allows emphasis without fancy distracting fade in transitions. The audience focuses on me as the speaker, and when I want their attention to the screen, a simple on-demand zoom in does that. Still working out some of the logistics for physically holding the iPad and managing the cables to the projector. Airplay Wireless Video Mirroring will be really helpful when more projectors support the protocol.
In addition to PDF presentation delivery I have started to use Prezi. It’s a whole new paradigm to presentation creation and delivery. Prezi is a few things: an iOS app, a web-based SaaS service for creating and sharing presentations, and an off-line presentation creation tool. Prezi uses the concept of “zoom in” for emphasis, and the key is to use the visual techniques as an enhancement, not a “crutch” to shore up lousy content. I plan to use Prezi more as I master the toolkit.
The iPad, with a few key services, helps me live a more comfortable life.