A lot of people make snarky comments about Apple products. I can certainly see why. The hysteria that accompanies a new Apple release is nothing short of silly. The iPhone 4 was recently released. I read stories of people that slept outside of Apple stores to be fortunate enough to buy one.
I wasn't one of them. It's a damn phone. Really.
But just because some people seem to lose their minds when Apple offers a new toy, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the products themselves. I made the switch to Mac last fall. I also bought my first iPhone last fall. Why? The stuff works and makes my life simpler. End of story.
I don't use Apple products for style points or because they are seen as trendy by some. I use them because, in my opinion, they are better designed and built than PC's and I prefer the iPhone to a Blackberry, of which I owned no less than 3.
I use MobilMe for my calendar, which wirelessly syncs all of my devices. When I am in court and get a continuance, I immediately enter it on my iPhone's calendar. When I get home it's already on my iMac and MacBook Pro. I love this feature.
I don't have a secretary or an assistant. My iPhone helps keep me organized.
When the iPad was released earlier this year, I held out. Why? It was a first generation Apple product, first of all. History has shown that they can have problems. But most importantly, I couldn't see a need for it. It seemed to serve no purpose in my world.
Since then I have paid loose attention to blogs about iPads. And I have watched more and more iPad apps be produced. My practice is not a typical law practice per se. But I did keep an eye on how other lawyers were using them.
Finally I bought a used one. I combed through the local Craigslist until I found one priced reasonably. I saved $100 by buying it used and it was in brand new condition. Before buying it, I already knew which apps I was going to use with it. But I have found others since.
I use the program/application Things as my task manager (my To-Do list). I have it on all of my Apple devices were it wirelessly syncs upon opening. This application, more than any other, keeps me on track. With up to 30 open cases at any one time, I need something to help manage my work output. Things does so brilliantly.
So, what am I going to use the iPad for? Simple, document viewing. On complex cases, I scan all the discovery documents along with grand jury and preliminary hearing transcripts and save them as PDF files. I keep them on my iMac's hard drive and back them up on my Time Capsule. I was already doing this before I had the iPad.
But now, I sync the files with my iPad where I can view them with the app, Goodreader, instantly on a screen that's just the right size. I also have apps that let me view and edit MS Office documents, such as Word. I doubt, however, that I will ever do much document editing on my iPad. It seems it's primary function will be that of a document viewer.
I plan to use it during my next trial. I will keep cross-examination outlines and other trial documents on it. I can keep an entire set of Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions on it as well. I also already have a bunch of case law ready to go.
I am going out of town this weekend for the holiday. But I am taking several hundred pages of discovery with me on 2 murder cases. And instead of hauling around 2 very large files, I will be carrying this little, light-weight iPad with me. And with the app iAnnotate PDF, I can make notes on the pages and drop bookmarks where needed.
You can say or think what you want, but I think it's smart.