From Ben Brooks:
That means the decision is really between bringing my iPad 2 and Origami, or my iPad 2 and MacBook Air. [...]
There’s three critical things I need to be able to do when away:
- Remote login to my property management server.
- SSH into the TBR server.
- Post new content here.
One and two are no problem for the iPad 2 — but surprisingly it was number three that I have trouble accomplishing.
As devices like the iPad become more powerful and as case makers come up with better ways to carry an external keyboard, the inevitable questions of “why carry a laptop” arise. I get the desire, but my MacBook Air isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Actually scratch that, it’s going with me, often.
Every day I’m astounded by what I can accomplish on portable devices1, but I am inevitably frustrated by something it can’t. It isn’t a typing issue; external keyboards have seen to that. It isn’t a power issue; most users would be fine for a few days. It’s a flexibility and interoperability challenge that keeps me from leaving the laptop for any trip longer than an afternoon.
Inevitably there is something important that you need that the device cannot accommodate. For Ben, that’s access to Amazon S3. For me it’s the need for full access to TextExpander for customer service emails. But the real problem goes beyond what we need and into what we want. The extra weight is far less cumbersome than the incremental frustrations of not having fully integrated access to things like 1Password, Keyboard Maestro and Fantastical.
There is a good chance that a day will soon come when an iPad and an external keyboard can do everything you need, but even then, is it worth giving up everything you want? Maybe I’ve just become a workflow wacko, but saving a few pounds of weight for a ton of tiny inconveniences just doesn’t seem like all that good of a deal to me…