Hi Barbara –

I am glad you took the time to do some additional research.

While the XOOM may have a USB port, and while the IPad does, too (it’s used for transferring digital camera pictures to the iPad), it’s a very restricted port. You cannot use it to sync music to your MP3 player, nor can you use it to transfer files from your computer. The XOOM also has the same ‘virtual’ keyboard the iPad has, with optional wireless and dock-based keyboards available.

If you think that editing documents, typing and printing are tasks you’ll perform regularly, then neither the XOOM nor iPad are right for you. They are not optimally designed for those tasks. They are designed for portability and accessing internet resources like email and the internet.

You might want to consider the Macbook Air:


It’s a touch bigger than the iPad and Xoom and is a full-blown Mac laptop – not a tablet. It has great battery life, is very portable and already has a keyboard. You will have no problems transferring documents to and from your PC (if you even continue to use the PC), and with a $50 iPod shuffle, your portable music issues will be solved (though you can still use your existing MP3 player). The Air already has WiFi, and you can optionally get either a Verizon or AT&T broadband access card & service.

The iPad is nicely suited for maps, travel information & reading books. The touch-only interface makes the apps more natural than using a mouse and keyboard.

The Air is less portable – and probably not something you would want to carry around with you on little excursions.

So everything is a trade-off. It doesn’t make sense to get an iPad or XOOM if you have to schlep a keyboard with you everywhere. The keyboard is practically as big as the tablet itself. It doesn’t make sense to get an Air if you want serious portability and built-in AT&T wireless internet.

Regarding international use: They all have WiFi, and WiFi is a global standard. Most hotels include the service gratis, and WiFi is generally available in most public locations (like libraries, coffee shops, etc). AT&T does have a 3G international data plan which isn’t horrendously expensive:


But you have to be careful not to over-use the data you have purchased (otherwise you get hit with some major roaming charges). The Verizon iPad will not work internationally, nor will any Verizon phones (though most AT&T phones will).

The last several times I went outside the US, I only travelled with my iPhone. It can do everything the iPad can do but is much smaller. It’s also a phone, a feature the iPad will probably never have.

I think that’s all I can think of. I’m not sure how helpful this information is going to be toward your final decision-making.

Personally, I’d get the iPad. There is a great Application for it that allows you to sync documents over WiFi between your PC and iPad and allow you to minimally edit them (http://www.dataviz.com/products/documentstogo/iphone/). You can get an iPad-compatible printer should you really need to print something (http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/airprint.html). You can download Podcasts and listen to them right from the iPad (not as portable for walking, but perfect for car, train, plane).

Let me know what you think. Perhaps we are slowly narrowing things down.


On Mar 4, 2011, at 1:58 PM, Barbara wrote:

> Hunter, > > When last we communicated about my desire for a tablet to take with me for our month is Israel, you asked me to list what I would want to use it for. I’ve finally figured that out, and besides the tasks you described it as good for, I have 3 other needs. Armed with that list, I looked at the first generation iPad at Best Buy, and liked it. > > With regard to my “3 other needs”: > 1. I found that Best Buy has a keyboard with a port for the iPad, so I could compose documents and, if I need to print something, email it to my husband’s computer for printing. > But the iPad apparently doesn’t a USB port, which I would need for the other two things I want to be able to do during our time away: > 2. read a stick drive, which I would use to bring files from my laptop. > 3. download podcasts to my tiny MP3 player, which I listen to while out for my daily exercise walk > > When I told the Best Buy guy about that issue, he showed me the brand new Motorola XOOM, which does have a USB port, and a small keyboard that could be used with it. I looked up the XOOM on line and found really positive reviews. And now I learned about the new iPad 2 which comes out next week. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and guidance as among the three of them for my purposes. > > Also, Jackie told me that you used your iPad while traveling in Europe and could advise me on the usefulness of 3G capability outside the US, as well as within. I would really like to be able to use the tablet while we’re out and about in the car, e.g. for checking maps and finding gas stations, restaurants, etc. > > If it would be easier to discuss these things by phone, please call me at 458-9486, but e-mail is OK too if that’s better for you. > > Thanks, > Barbara > > >