Multitasking can be quite a time and energy saver. That's one of the reasons for the initial clamor from users when the iPad first came out, without the ability to multitask. It was something available on full-sized computers, and its lack consigned the iPad in the minds of many to being just a piece of visual and tactile candy. Now that it's available on Apple's tablet, the key is to adapt multitasking to the way you work (and play).
Multitasking lets you, for instance, copy and paste information from one program to another -- handy if you're composing an email and need to quote from material on the Web or in an iWork Pages document.
It lets you switch from one program to another without shutting the first one down and losing precious seconds to app shutdown/start-up operations. And as a result, it lets you pick up your work right where you left off before you switched to another task.
It's not uncommon -- especially if you work in a creative field -- to need three or four different programs (Web browser, word processor, image editor and more) to complete one project.
If you're the type that works better to music, on the iPad 2 you can run the music player in the background while you switch between productivity apps. Most applications are "suspended" when you switch to another program -- they are frozen right in the middle of whatever they were doing. Certain programs, however, like the music player, continue to truly "run" while in multitask mode because they're otherwise useless without providing you real-time data (for instance, musical output).
Is there anything a regular PC can do that the iPad 2 can't do? The device is undoubtedly sexy, but it isn't perfect. To find out some of the limits of multitasking with the iPad 2, click to the next page.