Jun 25

The iPad-Only Experience

My recent family vacation was quite a different experience than vacations past because of the addition of an iPad to our family. On past vacations, I have taken along a camera, video camera, and laptop.  This year my thin, lightweight iPad2 was all I took.  You can guess that I was nervous at first as to whether I would miss my other devices and be sorry I hadn’t lugged them along.  But I’m here on the flipside of the trip to tell you I did everything and more than I would have with all of the other equipment, and I am extremely happy with the results.  Plus having a new device to figure out made my vacation challenging (a.k.a. FUN!), and I definitely learned a lot in the process.  So this post is dedicated to sharing what I learned, for that day in the future when you are ready to go it cold turkey with your iPad.


Instagram (Free – iPhone only app) – The gallery of Instagram filters turned my sometimes grainy, low-res iPad photos into hip, retro feeling photos.  And I learned all about Instagram’s social sharing side when I discovered that I had “followers” and that I could follow other WELSTech-ers and get my own personal feed (similar to Facebook) of their photos.

I even tried out Postagram and sent a 99 cent postcard with one of my Instagram photos.  The verdict is still out on that service because the postcard is yet to be delivered (hmmm … and it’s been over 10 days since I paid my dollar).

Photogene for iPad ($2.99) – Photogene is a full featured photo editor.  The preset filters are extensive, but manual editing is powerful.  And two of my favorite features are the ability to add text and to make multi-image collages.  Here’s a sampling of photos from our day at Ft. Mackinac State Park, turned into a Photogene collage with an Instagram filter (do you sense a theme here??).


iMovie ($4.99) – Using the HD iPad video camera is super easy, and turning iPad video and photos into a professional slideshow is simple using the iMovie timeline.  You can add labels to the photos plus there are themes and stock background music and sound effects.  And there is integrated upload of your finished movies directly to YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo for easy sharing.

Vacation Diary

Pages ($9.99) – Apple’s Word Processor recently came to the iPad and iPhone, and I used it to type up a running log of our adventures, complete with lots of photo collages, of course!  It worked great, the interface is wonderful and the documents created can be e-mailed in Pages (Mac), PDF and Word format. Here’s a sampling.

Staying Connected

Thanks to McDonald’s free wi-fi, I was able to keep up with news and weather, update my Flipboard (Free) feeds and surf the web using the cool tabbed browser iChromy (Free).

Blogsy ($4.99) – I found blogging is a bit more challenging from the iPad.  The WYSIWYG editor functionality doesn’t exists (not to big of a problem if you know a bit of HTML), but the biggest obstacle was uploading photos to the blog.  You can’t upload from the iPad Camera Roll (bummer).  That’s where Blogsy came in handy.  It allows you to connect multiple blogs and send images to the desired media galleries.  So I can say that I was able to blog from my iPad!


Now this list could get very long.  Without a doubt the iPad is an entertaining device.  To be honest, I was prepared with lots of possibilities on my iPad, but I mainly relied on non-electronic entertainment for the majority of the trip.  A few things I did “play with” while vacationing included e-book readers iBooks and Kindle, audio book player Audible, videos from the iPad Today Podcast and ABC Player, and the Angry Birds HD Free game (I had to find out what all the Angry Bird buzz was about). 😀

The Verdict

My iPad vacation experience ratings:

  • 8 for Usability – For the most part the effort to do tasks on the iPad is as easy as it is on a computer.  The blogging experience was the biggest challenge.
  • 9 for Killer Apps – The photo apps especially were both powerful and fun to work with.  I’m holding out on a perfect score for this one just because I know some yet-to-be released future app is destined to steal my heart soon.
  • 10 for All-In-Oneness – Loved the fact that my photos and video were already on my computing device ready for editing and movie making and diary writing and blogging!

This post is a part of the Summer 2011 WELS Hacker series on the WELSTech Podcast.

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  1. Stephanie

    Wow, Sallie! Looks like an amazing vacation!!!! 🙂 Well rounded with lots of fun and family! Love it! Looks like a blast – glad you all had fun! 🙂 Well – deserved, to say the least. 🙂

  2. Karen

    Wow! You packed a lot in, in a short time! All the Mackinac photos reminded me of our time there. Glad you had a nice vacation. Someday you’re going to have to let us know when you’re going to be in the greater WI neighborhood so you can stop in!

  3. Perry Lund

    I am wondering if the iPad can take place for a young man going to Luther Prep as the primary computing device? My experience with iPad1 and another teacher’s experience with iPad2 is that it is a phenomenal media consumption device. And Sallie points out how good it is at photos and video (iPad2). I love mine for weather, email, Twitter, news reader activities and as book reader.

    What are some things that coursework at high school would make the iPad useful outside the areas of strength. I have a stylus that works OK. There are some note taking apps, but has anyone used it and been happy with that function? Could it be used to record the audio of a class session – lecture? Could it be used to jot thoughts and outline a paper, move to DropBox and continue typing paper on PC provided at school’s lab?

    My son would love a MacBook Air at Luther Prep, but I am considering him using my iPad (not iPad 2) as a freshman. Perhaps an iPad 2 later or whatever works best. So many schools use 1:1 laptop programs and never think or even try to work out logistics of iPad or other tablets. Vast unexplored area.

    1. David Heup

      Hi Perry,

      I just bought an iPad2 for my daughter to use at high school. I will (hopefully) be blogging about the experience over at my blog Ask DAD but so far, it looks like it will work well. We did get pages, and a blue tooth keyboard, but already my daughter has asked for a full sized keyboard.

      Stay tuned 🙂


  1. WELSTech » Blog Archive » 190 – WELS Hacker: iPads and Mouseless Browsing

    […] The iPad-Only Experience […]

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