2010 – the iPad years for travel.
I was thinking the other day about how when Kate and I went to Italy in 2010, that I bought an iPad pretty much for that trip. We didn’t bring any computer, just the iPad to deal with anything we needed as far as looking up hotels, restaurants, maps, etc… I also used it for viewing/editing pictures and sharing them with friends.
I did make it work, but it was an incredible pain in the end. I had to have the incredibly stupid camera connection kit for the iPad (just so I could get pics imported into the iPad), Working with the pictures was a pain, and at that point many websites didn’t support HTML5, so Flash was a big problem.
It was also frustrating trying to write emails through the entire trip on the screen, and in some of our hotel rooms, we only seemed to have 1 or two outlets (because of the 220/110 conversion), so we had to alternate charging one thing or the other… (Europe… )
One of the biggest pains came into effect after the trip. I filled the memory on the iPad with pictures (all 64GB), and Apple at that point had almost no easy way to purge the imports. You either had to click one pic at a time to delete, or when connected to a PC delete randomly named folders to get rid of the pics. But imports made folders with some cryptic name so you never knew which you were deleting. It’s one of the areas you could tell Apple didn’t really think about.
Fast Forward to 2013 – Surface RT.
While we don’t have plans to go back to Europe (as much as I want to go back to Northern Italy!), I was thinking about where technology has gone to make things easier. And realized that the tablets I have today are large steps more functional than my Gen 1 iPad was in 2010.
Many non Apple tablets have SD cards, and USB ports now to natively connect to cameras, and other media. My Surface RT has a USB 2.0 port, and micro SD reader built in. That on its own would make the tablet many times more useful than the iPad was. I can charge my phone off the RT as well which would have solved the plug limitation in the hotel rooms (or even top off my phone by charging off the RT’s battery while on the go.)
Then there is the keyboard cover. The Touch cover is less than awesome on the surface, but its the same thickness as an iPad cover and its a full keyboard and multi touch pad. So it’s there, and works MUCH better than screen typing when needed. That would have made writing on the trip so much easier.
Easy file/picture management. The native tools in Win 8 RT make working around with pictures a breeze. The library model (which is going away in 8.1) works great, and the 8.1’s new organizational method is even more intuitive. Expandable memory also makes this easier to be the “one” device you bring on a long trip and backup your photos to it. My RT has a 64GB Micro SD, and a 64GB SSD inside. With SDXC standard scaling above 256GB, and 128GB Micro SDXC around the corner, storage isn’t a real issue.
In the end the tech that I have now, in 3 years went from a tablet device that kinda worked well, to something that truly replaces a PC for light weight travel. Long battery life, PC like functionality, a content generation device as well as a content consumption device, etc…
Switch that for the Surface Pro and for another .5lb you are carrying a full on ultrabook tablet has a much shorter battery life, but has virtually no other limitations.