iPad Specs from a Lawyer’s Perspective

iPad Specs from a Lawyer’s Perspective

The specifications for Apple’s iPad are getting worked over in the blogosphere: what it has, what it doesn’t have, what it should have, etc….I thought I’d take a look at what has been announced and give a quick perspective on what the possible implications are for a lawyer for some of the specs.

  • Dimensions. About 9.5 inches by 7.5 inches. About the same height as a standard legal pad (including the binding at the top) and a touch narrower. Should fit into most folios, briefcases and the like with ease.
  • Weight. About 1.5 pounds. Again, the same as a couple legal pads which I seem to have with me all the time. If this can substitute for legal pads most of the time, great. If it is one more thing that needs to be carried about in addition to legal pads…another story.
  • Capacity. My initial reaction is that, given the availability of cloud storage options like DropBox, I wouldn’t need the model with the larger storage options as a work unit. Now, if I have an iPad at the house with music, movies, recreational reading and the like, storage becomes a bigger issue.
  • Bluetooth. Depending what types of things Apple makes “attachable” via Bluetooth, this could be a portal into greater functionality. The Bluetooth keyboard compatibility is of interest, though I’m hopeful that the virtual keyboard will be sufficiently functional to obviate the need to pack a keyboard to get meaningful work done.
  • Battery. 10 Apple hours…which is probably 5 hours on this planet. Long work sessions away from the office mandate an additional plug in the bag.
  • Microphone. Helpful for capturing audio notes – I find Jott to be a very useful tool for capturing those “don’t forget about…” things. Unless the dictation programs increase recording times (only 20-30 seconds at a go), it may not be useful for dictating a longer piece of work (though some seem to love it)
  • Audio & Video Out. I envision some pretty slick trial applications allowing an attorney to easily push exhibits, video, 911 recordings, document excerpts, jury instructions and other display items to a big screen for easy viewing by judge or jury.
  • Mail Attachment Support. All the Office products, the iWork products and pdf. I imagine that covers pretty much everything a lawyer will need. Other attachments likely require a more specialized application running on a PC or Mac.
  • WiFi & 3G. The ubiquity of WiFi where I live makes me lean toward a WiFi only unit. I’ll still have my iPhone and will be able to grab what I need using a 3G signal using that device if the situation requires. If the device allows a person to fully leave a laptop behind (for me, that means the virtual keyboard is really good and applications can access onboard storage for shuttling and manipulating files), then the case for a 3G enabled unit rises for me.

So, that’s a quick take on how the iPad specs might fit a lawyer’s needs. All in all, it looks pretty good. I’ll be considering important omissions in a future post. How do you see the initial specifications as fitting a lawyer’s needs?

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