At several points I had to log into a web page and start processes, look at PDF reports, and fill out forms to give approval on new programming that was needing to be tested. This all worked fine. I needed to grab a file back at the office on the server. Used iPhone Remote to connect back to my desktop computer (MacBook Pro) and navigate to a shared folder on a Windows Domain server where I was able to open Word and Excel documents waiting for me.
The real test came the next day at the airport. My flight was delayed and then I got bumped to a later flight. My 2-hour stay at the airport became a 6 hour stay. I was able to keep working. I watched a movie. I listened to podcasts. I worked my email. This is pretty cool.
So how could it have been better? I was not really able to create any new Word documents. Yes I know I can use Google Docs or some other tool but the keyboard would really start to be a factor if I needed to do any serious editing. The screen was fine for viewing emails and other documents. If the trip had been much longer I would have needed a real laptop to do database work for example. I use SQL Developer about every day. If I had a VNC client and a Bluetooth keyboard, I think I could have done everything.
I used to carry a Newton Message Pad 130 (later a 2100). I had a newton case that had room for the newton keyboard which was thicker than the current Apple Keyboards of today. I was able to unzip the case, turn the Newton sideways and type away. I had a modem and a nic that allowed the Newton to send and receive emails.
When the 17″ PowerBooks first hit the market I really wanted one. They are beautiful until you need to try to use them on a plane in coach. You cannot get the lid open. The 15″ MacBook Pro is as big as you can consider using on a plane — get an exit row to be sure. The PowerBook Duo or the PowerBook 12″ are perfect for the road warrior. I tried a PowerBook 12″ for a while but the deal-breaker for me was the lack of ports compared to the 15″. Apple chose not to continue these products leaving a gap in the product line between the MacBook Pro 15″ and the iPhone.
The perfect product for me would be about half the size of a letter-sized piece of paper. That would be about 4×6 to 5×7 or so. It needs a kickstand so it can stand up on its own to watch movies or slideshow. It needs an A/V out port so I can plug into a TV in the hotel. I needs to have WiFi. If it can use my iPhone as a Bluetooth modem, then it does not need its own cellular connectivity. I should have a multi-touch screen but also allow the use of a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It should have a USB port that allows it to download pictures from my camera like the iPod can do but the iPhone cannot. I should also be able to use the USB port for a keyboard and mouse in a pinch. It can run the iPhone version of Mac OS X. A 400MHz processor and a 1024×768 screen should be fine. I’m imaging a device that would look like the iPod Touch but be bigger but not thicker. I do not need an optical drive but the USB port should support one in a pinch. I do not need Ethernet but once again USB should work. Naturally I want a color screen with a high resolution like the iPhone. I do not need a hard drive. I think I could live with 16 or 32 gigabytes of solid state drive so long as I always have access to my .Mac folder and my VNC computer at home and work.