I’m on a flight back to San Francisco after spending a week in New York on business. But something was different about this trip that I’ve never done for anything outside of vacation: I didn’t bring my laptop. Some of you might think that I’m positively insane for having done that, especially considering that it’s a business trip. But the conclusion of my experiment didn’t surprise me: I didn’t miss my laptop at all.
For this trip, along with my iPhone I brought my iPad mini with the matching Logitech keyboard case. My reasoning was simple: my laptop provides me with so much distraction and with the right apps, I can accomplish most everything I need to on my iPad or iPhone. Plus, there are many advantages to this setup.
Last Tuesday I flew Virgin America to JFK, using the WiFi the whole time and accomplishing a crazy amount of tasks, mostly email. The trip was a little less than five hours and I was using my iPad the entire time. Normally this would have crushed even the most lengthy laptop battery, but I landed with 58% battery still remaining so day one was a wild success.
Wednesday I presented my company Circa, at the paidContent Live conference. I didn’t have to have my laptop present as I just emailed my slides in prior, but even if I did need to present from my own machine, I already had the appropriate connectors for my iPad mini. There was one moment prior to the conference where I needed to make a change to my presentation and send it in. Even though I don’t have a fully fledged version of Keynote on my iPad mini, I was able to use Screens VNC and over LTE dial back to my computer at home. The changes were made remotely, uploaded to Dropbox, downloaded onto my iPad and then emailed in. Easy.
Thursday I was running around NYC a lot to different meetings, so the added portability that the iPad gave me was very welcomed. I have a small sling bag that it fits beautifully in along with all of the necessary accessories. But the big difference here is that it’s small, slim, and doesn’t get in the way while traveling around – and it’s amazingly light to boot. I’d consider this day a success too.
Friday was the Lerer Ventures CEO Summit (Circa is a portfolio company of theirs). During the presentations there were a few moments that I needed to get a bit of work done here and there. In any other scenario, if I pulled out my laptop it would be almost guaranteed that I’d get sucked in and barely pay attention to the presentations. But instead, the iPad granted me the ability to quickly open it up, get the tasks done, and close it all without any additional distraction. That way I could pay attention to some of the fantastic speakers Lerer brought in, like Newark Mayor Corey Booker and Statistician Nate Silver.
Saturday was going to be a bit more of a chill day. Even though I still had a few other meetings to take care of, I found a few times to just sit and hang out. In the morning, I shacked up at a coffee shop for a while and got a ton of work done. Then after those meetings and hanging out with a few friends, I killed sometime at a quiet bar, cranking out on email over a beer. I’m not sure that in that situation, I’d have felt at all comfortable just dragging out my MacBook Pro casually. Let alone lug it around all day.
Now I’m on a 7:30a flight back to San Francisco and I’m typing up this blog post in iA Writer which goes full screen with no menus or anything, allowing me to focus on the task at hand.
All in all, this whole week I never missed my laptop. Ever. Though I should mention it was also relieving to know that at any moment if I might need the capabilities of my MacBook it was only one remote connection away. It’s likely that I’ll conduct future trips in this manner, as the sacrifices I made by leaving my machine at home were greatly outweighed by the convenience the iPad brought me.