How Apple's iPad shaped a world of tablet-toting travellers

By David Flynn, April 7 2014
How Apple's iPad shaped a world of tablet-toting travellers

TALKING POINT | A certain date slipped by last week without any recognition, let alone fanfare.

April 3 marked four years since the Apple iPad made its debut, and it’s difficult to imagine any piece of technology in recent years that’s had a greater impact on the business travel brigade.

Tablets were far from a new concept in 2010, of course.

Microsoft had tried at least twice to seriously crack what it called the ‘Tablet PC’ market in the decade prior to the iPad. As a technology journalist in those days I was witness to every failed attempt. And that’s not counting abandoned ideas like the promising but ill-fated Courier project.

While Microsoft circled its wagons and came up with its own Surface tablet line, Google swooped in to fill the gap with tablets running its made-for-mobile Android operating system.

But none of that would have happened until Apple reignited the tablet revolution with the iPad.

Today we’re used to seeing tablets – especially iPads – in every airport lounge, in every airplane cabin, in hotel lobbies and cafes.

In reflecting on the fourth anniversary of the iPad, we’re asking AusBT readers how tablets have changed their travel habits. What tablet do you use – and has it replaced the laptop as your travel tech of choice, or do you jet about with both?

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 15

I'm now using a Note 8.0 after finding an iPad was just a little too large to be convenient.  The Note is small enough that I take it most everywhere, and it is easy to pull out to quickly check email, do a Skype call from a  terminal, watch movies or read ebooks.

Still, I carry my MacBookPro with me on trips.  It has a larger screen, real storage, and a full sized keyboard.  Nothing beats a full sized keyboard for doing work and generating content.  Tablets are for consuming; laptops for producing. 

If Apple were to produce an iPad Mini with a stylus and handwriting recognition, I would be tempted to go back, but the stylus is a major part of why I bought the Note 8.0.  Nothing beats a pen for writing a quick note.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 186

Guide books and maps are a thing of the past, as well as the 3kg laptop I used to lug everywhere.  Now I'm down to an iPad mini (its the perfect size for me on the plane), and iPhone and an unlocked Andriod (which I add a local sim card too).

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Unfortunately I jet about with both. Much as I would love to only carry an iPad, my company is still a bit archaic in moving to being able to do this.

I use the iPad Mini... It is the perfect size to carry around and easy to just slip in the side of my bag and pull it out whenever I need it. I can happily use the iPad Mini for all my personal emails and any thing that is  not work related.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

Why Apple really triumphed, where others failed, is that they got the technology - both hardware and software - right. Smartest thing Apple ever did was create the App marketplace - taking basic functionality and expanding it through others ideas and efforts (all while taking a slice of the action).

Even though I was a hard-core PC man, when I got an iPad I let it replace my laptop as my number one piece of travel tech. It's the modern day equivalent of the the Swiss Army knife.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 243

The iPad has changed the way I travel with one device that works well for internet access, speed of loading/closing apps, guide books and ready access information when need to access. Also releases more room in my luggage to be able to travel light. LOVE IT!


22 Oct 2012

Total posts 316

As most of my travel is long-haul, the iPad is wonderful to view movies & docos of my own choosing.  Yes, they're on most IFEs, but the resolution of the iPad is far superior to any IFE.

However, a common problem is the number of iPads that are left on planes, mostly in the seat pockets.  Most airlines will admit that they have huge numbers in their lost & found offices, and of course very few people put their contact details on such things.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

I use my iPad at home when not working on my laptop but when it comes to travelling I rely solely on the airline's IFE.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

Depends on the travel duration, both length of stay and length of flight(s).  

During mid '10 - mid '12 I was flying into the PER-Pilbara (QLink) almost weekly (daytrips or O/nights) and I would just take an iPod Touch for personal entertainment and work off my smartphone for emails etc.  A couple of strips of self adhesive velcro (male side) would mean the iPod touch would attach to the back of the seat in front and form my own IFE.

Longer trips i take my Nexus 7 for movie watching, iPod touch for my podcasts/audio and a small laptop for work.  A little cumbersome but it works.

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