I’ve always loved the iPad. I’ve owned an iPad since the first one came out. Up until the last few years, despite Apple’s advertising, and die hard fan’s shoehorning, the iPad was mostly for consumption.
That’s not a dig.
It was an awesome RSS/Blog reader. I love relaxing on Sundays and reading the Washington Post (via app) and Colorado Sun (via browser) while holding my iPad in one hand and my coffee in the other. I love watching TV and movies on flights, reading comics, etc. It was perfect as a media consumption device.
Over the last couple of years things started to shift to more actual creation. The Apple Pencil (despite Steve’s insistence that Stylus = failure) opened a major door for creativity on the iPad. I know there were stylii before that, but meh. Now anyone could doodle, not just the more dedicated. And the more dedicated artists could create wonders.
Then we got got keyboard folio cases, whether Bluetooth or Smart Connector. Again there were solutions before that, like lugging around a full sized BT keyboard (No thanks, tried it, it sucked). Now writing on the iPad was a real thing. An easy, non hacky thing. It immediately made the iPad more useful, overnight.
My recent trips to Egypt and Tanzania were both iPad only trips. It was awesome. My bag wasn’t overloaded with a laptop, chargers, etc. In Egypt I took a much smaller bag, which fit in airplanes easier, was less burdensome to carry. I wrote a large chunk of a Space Rogues novel in Egypt floating down the Nile river with just my iPad and Apple folio keyboard. It was awesome. I also used the pencil to write in my digital journal (using GoodNotes, go get this app, it’s incredible). In Tanzania I took my regular backpack because I had a camera and a bunch of gear, and my iPad was negligible in size and weight.
I can’t imagine I’ll ever bring my laptop on a trip again, short of work specific travel.
Which brings us to now.
Now, I’m sitting in my living room, my MacBook Air (complete with shitty keyboard that works intermittently, thanks Apple) is in my office. I’m writing this on Sunday, and my laptop spent most of Saturday in my office as well.
Adding trackpad support to iPadOS, plus this new keyboard folio, has come pretty damn close to removing my need for a laptop. It’s not perfect, and that’s fine, I don’t want the iPad to be a laptop replacement directly. If it were it’d be clunky and lame without a keyboard attached.
I picked up a Hyperdrive for connecting to monitors, SD cards, etc. I wished I had had it in Tanzania as my goal was to offload the SD card each day, but I quickly realized my iPad didn’t that that much storage, so I was left hoping nothing happened to the SD card/camera.
My goal However is to start doing more work on my iPad. I’ve already proven I can write novels on it, now I want to see if I can do 360|Conferences work on it. Sadly I doubt I can run a virtual conference from the iPad, not that the MacBook Air is much better equipped for that. Thankfully I have an eGPU to plug the laptop in to. It’s entirely possible, when it comes time to replace the MacBook Air (likely sooner than normal thanks to the keyboard) I’ll move to a Mac Mini solution, and when mobile, it’ll be all iPad.
I told a friend it felt weird to be so excited about a keyboard (a not cheap one at that), but we both agreed it really was a bit of a game changer for the iPad. And it is.