When to use my MacBook Air vs. iPad

I have recently gone from my main laptop being a MacBook Pro (which has now become my new desktop) to a MacBook Air. Once I started with the Air being my main everyday-everywhere computer it changed my iPad use. I struggled for a while trying to figure out how I was going to use my iPad and my Air in the same world. I think I am coming to a conclusion that is working for me.

For me the iPad has completely replaced the need for a pen and a pad of paper in meetings (if I get caught without my iPad or Air and have to use paper I scan it all into Evernote at a latter time though to stay paperless). I take all my notes electronically with the iPad and can quickly and easily do several different things with the notes afterward or with some action items take care of them at the moment because I am using the iPad which syncs with all my electronic life:

1. Turn action items into tasks or calendar items added right then
2. Sync the notes to a laptop or my iPhone4 for later review
3. Edit the notes into a recap to send to colleagues
4. And with Evernote on the iPad it records audio which allows me to capture 100% of what is being done in a mtg and allows me to email it to fellow team members when the meeting is done.

The advantage of immediately having all of these these notes in electronic format — instead of having to convert some of them to electronic formats later — is easy to see how much time it saves me. But, there are also a couple other factors that make it better to use an iPad than my Air.

While I could easily do the same type of note taking with my Air, there’s something a lot friendlier about doing it with my iPad. If you’re in a conference room or a 1-on-1 meeting and you flip open a laptop to take notes then you close yourself off from the other person(s) in the room. With my iPad, I can just flip it open, lay it flat on the table or my lap, take my notes, and then flip it closed again. It feels about the same as taking paper notes while talking to someone in a meeting and they receive it more openly than if I had used my MacBook Air.

I could also accomplish this kind of note taking with my iPhone4 — and I occasionally do when I don’t have my iPad with me (but it still feels to those around me that I am not being as friendly). Because of the larger display and larger on-screen keyboard, typing notes on my iPad is faster and usually has fewer typos.

The other factor that can make this scenario better than either old style paper note taking or word processing is the cloud. Using apps and services like Evernote and Dropbox (with the help of iA Writer), you can take notes on your iPad and have them immediately sync back to your Mac so that they’re ready for you to work on when you get back to your desk or anyone’s desk for that matter.

Note taking is now one of the reasons why the iPad has become and stayed my preferred tool since I spend a large chunk of my time in meetings. Plus, I use it for my number one way of reading books and RSS feeds, but more on this in later blog posts.

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