We know the iPad can replace a laptop for some users, especially with a few accessories like a keyboard case, but we doubt there are many users like Dave Burns who uses his iPad to keep track of NASCAR races every weekend for ESPN.
MacRumors has a story about the NASCAR Pit Row reporter who replaced his collection of custom-made notebooks with a single iPad. Burns uses an iPad 2 with a collection of accessories and apps to take notes throughout the race weekend for Nationwide and Sprint NASCAR events including practices, qualifiers, and races.
To keep track of the races Burns uses a combination of Note Taker HD and Simply PDF. Note Taker HD he uses for his own system of notes, using both the virtual keyboard and handwriting. Simply PDF he uses for the NASCAR Media Guide for each race which weighs in at 100+ pages. The app also helps him store PDFs of race results for both series dating back to 2004.
The make the iPad usable on the air, Burns uses the FreeOneHand iPad holder and an anti-glare screen protector from ClearTouch. He still needs to avoid direct sunlight to keep the iPad from overheating, but it doesn’t sound like that’s too difficult for him.
For Burns, the iPad has replaced the need for a MacBook Air or similar ultrabook when on the road. It also makes going through airport security easier as the TSA doesn’t require travelers to take the iPad out of their bags.
Thankfully for Burns, ESPN doesn’t have a required method for taking notes, as long as the reporters use a system that works for them. He says iPad use for reporting isn’t widespread across ESPN reporters, as each on-air reporter has their own system.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of tablets being used on the racetrack. We know the iPad is also becoming more popular in other sports. In a few years, we wouldn’t be surprised if tablet use among sports teams and reporters becomes the norm instead of the exception.