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First impressions of iPad as a productivity device

Apple's iPad is coming tomorrow and one of the uses of the device will be its capability to get work done on the go or at home.

I picked up my iPad from Apple today to give you some early thoughts on how the device works. I'm going to focus on what the iPad brings to the table for me in my daily work life.

Apple

As a writer, I can basically work anywhere in the world, but carrying around a notebook computer isn't always the most efficient way to get things done. Even the light-weight notebooks are bigger than what I would like for such a task.

Similarly, a Netbook isn't much better. Some people have been comparing the iPad to a Netbook and trying to decide which they would prefer. That's not a good comparison.

Many pundits have tried to fit the iPad into an existing category of devices, and then compare the iPad with the other devices in that category to see which one prevails. The problem is that Apple has created a new category with the iPad that can't be likened easily to other devices.

When I look at the iPad, I see what many others see: music, games, movies--generally, lots of fun. But I also see a lot more.

I travel quite frequently, so I also see myself using the iPad in an airport, doing interviews, on an airplane, and at a local coffee shop. What's more, I see myself being productive and getting work done.

Whether I'm on the road or just around the corner from my house, I want to have access to my e-mail and the Web. It's true that an iPhone can do that, but I can't really write a story on the iPhone as comfortably as I can on the iPad. (Although in a pinch, I have written stories on and posted them from the iPhone before).

With Apple's iWork suite of apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) on the iPad, you have true word processing, spreadsheet and presentation apps. That is a huge deal. Being able to open a word processor and feel comfortable writing a story or presentation can't be underestimated.

It's not just Apple that is making the iPad a productivity winner; other companies are delivering cool products, too.

TLA Systems announced the iPad version of its scientific calculator, PCalc for the iPad, on Friday. FileMaker announced that its personal database app, Bento, is also available for the iPad--and that's just to name a few apps.

Apple will kick off the launch of the iPad with more than 1,000 apps specifically made for the iPad, in all categories.

The killer app for the iPad will depend on your lifestyle. For me, it's going to be a productivity app. The iPad is so much more than a larger version of the iPod Touch, as I've heard some people call it; it's a new class of product that will appeal to different people for different reasons.