Tablets in the Laboratory – battery life

There aren’t many Enterprise iPad users blogging publicly, no doubt out of confidentiality concerns. However Fraser Speirs is responsible for IT in a school where they have just deployed iPads throughout the school, and his blog on The iPad Project is well worth a read if you are thinking about large-scale deployment of iPads and the like.

As an example, a recent post on battery life makes some interesting points about the impact of battery life on usability. The short post is well worth a read, and he finishes with the following which I think is equally applicable to the Laboratory:

Simply put: if your device doesn’t last for 10 real-world hours of use, your device is no longer competitive in education. I can’t imagine ever going back to using 4-hour devices like laptops on a regular basis.

I can’t shake the feeling that tablets like the iPad are going to completely change the way we use IT in the labs, because they are just so compelling for the kinds of interaction you need to do in that environment. But I also feel that people haven’t really woken up to the implications… which does make it interesting!

It is small-but-crucial things like this which we are exploring in our loose group of people who are interested in the iPad in the Lab. We’re getting lots of really practical insights as well as the inevitable “How do we do this” discussion.

As an aside, any reading of the iPad developer documentation shows how much effort Apple have put into managing the battery life on their mobile devices, and you can really see the results. But that does have software implications – e.g. people who think they must have Flash to have a viable Tablet probably don’t realise they will get a device which will have a greatly reduced battery life as a result!