I’ve been pondering the merits of the iPad, and I’ve had a tough time coming up with a compelling use for it. Until now…

I (and several hundred thousand others) work for a large corporation, that has a highly restrictive firewall and “locks down” the software on its laptops and PCs. Fair enough. The LAN and the computers belong to it.

But I want to check my personal email once in a while. (All webmail is blocked by the firewall.) And there are many people who want their Twitter/Facebook/you-name-it. Carrying a second (personally owned) laptop with 3G or 4G would be a pain, and it would really be too big for most cluttered desks anyhow.

Enter the iPad. I could slide it into my existing laptop bag. It is relatively light. It runs for 10 hours, so I can use it all day. The limited data plan would be enough for email and Twitter, supplemented with WiFi at home. It would even be more convenient to carry to meetings than my laptop, and I can listen to eBooks/podcasts or watch movies or Ted Talks on the subway.

In fact, it is even more valuable because my employer does NOT use them. The security guards won’t fuss that I’m carrying equipment out the door without a pass.

It is a 10-inch window to the outside world for the cube-dweller!