First off, I’m not an Apple fan boy. But, in visiting my brother in Illinois I got to interact with his iPad. Not a bad device. I’m thinking it would be good to travel with.
Is the iPad ready to handle the burden previously placed upon guidebooks and paper maps? Well, I’ll say we’re pretty close.
What do you have? A pound and a half of tablet, fairly rugged. A battery that lasts about 10 hours (yeah, it really does), and maps on a screen big enough to see well. Heck, a map you don’t have to fold and unfold is an improvement, believe me!
The iPad will run iPhone apps. There are many iPhone apps for travel. You can buy Lonely Planet Travel Guides for instance. They’re interactive but they’re made for the small screen of an iPhone. Yeah, they’ll work on an iPad. But you didn’t drag along a big tablet to see small stuff on it. Lonely Planet plans to release guidebooks for the iPad soon. Right now there’s only this: 1000 Ultimate Experiences.
What I’m saying is that true iPad apps for travel have lagged in this market. But, I can tell from my experience developing Tuscany for Foodies – Sutro Media, the industry is scrambling to develop apps for the “big screen” of an iPad.
So, for the 2011 travel season I’m optimistic that we’ll be trading in the dog-eared pages of our guidebooks and our tattered maps for a bright, shiny tablet. After all, you ever tried opening a laptop in the steerage (economy) section of an airplane lately? Good luck. Meanwhile, I’ll be leaning back reading an ebook or listening to a free travel podcast. And maybe, if there’s wifi on the plane, I’ll be tapping away, writing blog posts and sending email.
You might want to consider an iPad. It will certainly entertain you on that long and uncomfortable plane ride.