I love my laptop and it goes everywhere with me--to school and back home daily, to cafes and libraries, and occasionally on vacation. My professional life is on the laptop.
But it is HEAVY and BULKY. So on a recent trip to a professional conference, I decided to see if I could get by with the iPad instead. I've been steadily migrating my teaching and research projects to Dropbox and many L&C committee documents are now on Google Drive so I can get most anything from the iPad. The main reason I don't use it more often is because I really cannot stand to do more than a sentence or two of typing on the screen keypad. I thought if I just gave it time, my fingers would acclimate but I still find it awfully annoying and iPad's autocorrect only makes it worse. I'm a pretty fast and accurate typist and when I do make errors, they are usually small enough that you can still tell what word I meant to type. On the iPad, however, autocorrect takes a simple transposition of letters or an unintended space and turns it into something totally nonsensical. It's like reading Dr. Seuss (except it doesn't rhyme)!
For my iPad to replace the beloved laptop, I knew I would need a keyboard so I borrowed a bluetooth keyboard from IT. I'm still a PC gal, too, so on Kelly's recommendation I purchased the Cloud On app, which very nearly replicates Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on the iPad.
The combo worked beautifully. En route to the conference and in between events, I read and annotated PDFs (in Goodreader); wrote a proposal (in Cloud On's Word); accessed student blogs and forum posts, typed comments in Moodle, and recorded grades in Cloud On's Excel; and kept up on email. The only unanticipated glitch occurred on Amtrak--although they have wifi access, it was either intermittent or it didn't support the degree of access I needed for Cloud On, which requires an internet connection. If there is a way to do Cloud On offline, I couldn't figure it out.
When I returned home, work I'd completed in Cloud On was in my Dropbox or on Google drive and ready to access from the laptop again. I'm not sure I will give up the laptop anytime soon--there are apparently still some features of the Office suite that aren't included in Cloud On, for example--but the keyboard and Cloud On combo were portable and effective for working on the road.