After weeks of waiting for an iPad 2 on back order, CIO Rob Rennie of Florida State College at Jacksonville finally got his hands on the slick, new device. "My assessment so far is, I love it because it is faster, lighter and the FaceTime capability makes a lot of difference for me," Rennie says.
More than just a cool consumer device, the iPad has become a critical piece of technology at the college. Rennie has helped usher hundreds of iPads into the hands of executives, IT staff, administrators, faculty and students. Executives use them for reporting purposes, project tracking, staffing issues. Last summer, Rennie told CIO.com about five surprises during his iPad enterprise rollout.
"We are having great success with them in science labs and other academic environments where a laptop is impractical," Rennie says. "Leader management types are making good use of them as part of a larger paperless initiative."
As an early iPad champion, Rennie waited anxiously for his iPad 2 to arrive—which it did this week. The top-of-the-line iPad 2 64GB with 3G has enough storage space to handle Rennie's huge media content needs. He also chose to go with 3G, rather than use his iPhone as a hotspot, because he feared hot-spotting would run down the iPhone battery.
"The 3G data plan works well for me, making the iPad a fully independent device," he says.
So what does a CIO who has staked much of his reputation on the iPad do in the first couple of days with the iPad 2 (other than cartwheels and including a business trip)?
In this interview, Rennie gives the lowdown on what apps took priority (for both work and personal use), what he thinks of the magnetic Apple (AAPL) case, and what he hopes will show up in iOS 5, expected to be announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6.
What apps took priority on your iPad 2?
Rennie: In addition to the standard apps, including email and calendar, I went first for iAnnotate PDF ($10—a PDF reader and annotation tool), Fluent News Reader (free—newspaper aggregator app), Keynote ($10—Apple's presentation app), Office2 HD ($8—Word and Excel app), Dropbox (free—cloud storage app), Evernote (free—cloud-storage, note-taking app), Numbers ($10—Apple's spreadsheet app), OmniGraffle ($50—diagram-creating app) and various music apps such as Amplitude HD ($2—app for amplifying sound).
I use all but the music apps for work. With Keynote, Numbers, iAnnotate, Office2 HD, and Dropbox, I have a fully mobile work environment on the iPad. I don't need a laptop except in extreme cases. Evernote is great for keeping all my notes synced.
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