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I Took My iPad On Safari. Or, Look At These Lions!

Yeah, so I took my iPad to Africa. Contrary to what Gizmodo‘s Joel Johnson considers, don’t go selling your laptop just yet. But you know who liked it? The lions.

I realize just how gratuitous that photo is. But the lions were legitimately interested in the iPad’s multi-touch technology. (Probably. I didn’t really get out of the truck. They seemed interested in it.)

Taking my iPad to Tanzania in lieu of my laptop was a break with nearly a decade of tradition, but a sensible one. I would be flying for a total of nearly 16 hours and schlepping throughout the country, so bringing my beleaguered (and heavy) MacBook Pro with its humble three hour battery life was at best unappealing. If there’s one place that the iPad is unquestionably king, it’s on airplanes. The battery life is unbelievable. Watch a couple of movies and have 50% of your battery left? Show me a netbook that can do that. The iPad has games, music, books. If your plane has wi-fi, all the better. So the laptop stayed home. My iPad would be my computer; my iPhone, my camera.

I admit fully that I should have done a little more research. All sailing was not smooth – literally (I’ll share that story soon) and figuratively.

First of all, of course, my phone had no service – or at least, no service that wouldn’t cost five bucks to upload a photo – so I would be reliant on wifi at hotels to post updates. I neglected to install the Flickr app on my iPhone before I left, meaning that uploading pictures from it would be tedious even when connected, and since I wasn’t in the United States, I couldn’t access the app store to download it. I had the app on my iPad, but I couldn’t easily copy the photos from my phone to the iPad (though Apple sells a dongle that can connect the two) to upload them into sets. (No such problem uploading videos to YouTube. When I had the bandwidth, I could upload directly from my phone, even before YouTube this week announced an expansion into Africa.)

Ultimately, the iPad lacked the flexibility that I, as a geek, look for. It’s not designed to be a laptop replacement. It’s designed to do exactly what it did on the airplane – entertain me.
The all-star of the trip turned out to be the iPhone. Small, discreet (a helpful feature in certain areas) and powerful, it was a fantastic camera.

It took this picture from the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater:

It took this video of two lions (one tagged with a radio collar) trying to get comfortable on a very warm Serengeti day:

And with that, all pretense of this being about the iPad is abandoned. Let me tell you about the safari.

>>>NEXT: More photos and videos in this post ostensibly about technology and the iPad but really about adorable and/or deadly animals!

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