The iPad is now well established as the world's ultimate personal entertainment companion. For many people, it is also now an indispensable travel accessory. Thinner and lighter than a lap top at only half an inch thick and 1.5 pounds, the iPad fits comfortably into a carry-on bag and while notebooks have to be removed from the case and placed in their own separate bin at the airport X-Ray, the iPad is not considered large enough to require individual inspection so you can leave it in your hand luggage or briefcase.
Another major plus for travellers is battery life. The iPad boasts about four times the battery life of a standard lap top, so you have plenty of time to surf the web, watch a movie and listen to your favourite tunes before searching for a power outlet to top up the juice. But where the iPad really makes the grade is through its myriad applications. You can search for and book a table for dinner, hire a car and driver to pick yo up at the airport, even find the quickest route to and from your hotel to the beach. Here are some of the latest travel apps that make travelling with an IPad a smooth and enjoyable experience.
An eye on the storm
If you're travelling on vacation or heading to an important meeting, it's always useful to know what weather to expect when you land at the airport. Powered by the world's largest weather network, Weather Bug provides the latest weather information, including current local conditions, an extended forecast, severe weather warnings and live camera images. Ad support means keep this application free but can be a little intrusive.
Arrivals and Departures
A free application for frequent flyers who like to know exactly what to expect before and during a flight. Flight Track is a free and appealing way to follow flights, monitor delays, keep updated with gate changes and check arrival times. A universal application, it works on both the iPhone and iPad.
Stay in Touch
The iPad may not be a communication device, but a VoIP calling applications like TruPhone, you can still contact people easily on the move and avoid the hassle of international pay phones and calling cards. Wi-fi access is required and calls are charged, but at a much cheaper rate than you would pay on a landline or mobile network. With Tru, you can also buy local numbers for the countries where your friends and colleagues are based, which means they can call you on that number, wherever you are, without paying for an international call.
Know what to expect
Although not the cheapest download on the iTunes store, Lonely Planet's 1,000 top destinations and experiences is a joy to browse with plenty of photos and up to date information for travellers. Inside information includes "Top travel boasts, myths, and legends," as well as "Top tourist traps worth the crowds." The slick design is easy to navigate and makes the most of the iPad's touch screen and high definition display.
A Good Read
iBooks is likely to change the way people read in years to come. The iBookstore sticks all the the latest best-selling releases as well as classics, all available for fast and easy download.You can add books to your library then just tap to open it and flick through pages with a swipe or a tap. Whether you want to carry a travel guide, novels or biographies on your holiday with you, iBooks lets you take all your favourite words with you and leaves plenty more space in your luggage for essentials.
The Ultimate Concierge
High end travellers will love the services offered by iVIP, the first premium lifestyle application for the iPhone and iPad that brings a world of luxury to your device. iVIP membership gives you access to privileges across a range of luxury partners including supercars, cinemas, concierge services, restaurants, bars, and other member services. Retailing at USD$999, iVIP Black is the premium version of iVIP. Described as the first Millionaire's App', once downloaded, prospective members will be required to certify they are High Net Worth Individuals with assets in excess of Â£1 million. Once accepted, each approved member is eligible for a personal consultation to explore how iVIP can manage their VIP lifestyle.