iPad Pro as Computer - one year on

08 Feb 2020
Apple Pencil with the words One Year On engraved

It’s been a year since I wrote that big-assed blogpost about trying to use my iPad Pro as my main computer, so I thought it was time for a follow-up. Because I haven’t been using the iPad Pro as my main computer, despite trying. Here’s two reasons why…

Ergonomics

I’ve tried various adjustable stands, cases and setups, but the monitor+keyboard+mouse is still my preferred setup for working more than an hour or so. Using a sturdy laptop stand like this one below helps your back and neck a lot, and gives you a Microsoft Surface Studio-esque adjustable position. However, there is too much distance between keyboard and screen for those times when you need to interact with the screen.

As well as desk use, there is also the use case of ‘lap-ability’ though. A MacBook is easy to use in your lap, but an iPad in its case varies in the levels of sturdiness from terrible to sort of bearable.

I’ve also tried a lot of keyboard/cases and the perfect one still doesn’t exist. I want one that:

I’ve been switching between a Fintie case (much cheaper than the Apple Smart Cover, and has more angles) and an Apple Keyboard Cover. The latter doesn’t have a low angle, but you can either use it upside down (it’s very sturdy, but if you ever need to use the keyboard you have to rotate it again) or the taping a toothpick to the back hack, which at least disconnects the keyboard. One day I might get around to documenting all the solutions I’ve tried!

You can’t get all this in one solution, which is maddening when something like the Surface Pro X has all of this built in:

Surface Pro X from Microsoft with built-in kickstand and safe storage for pen
Surface Pro X from Microsoft with built-in kickstand and safe storage for the pen

Look at that thing, it’s gorgeous! No third-party solutions or hacks needed. Just a shame that apps need to do some catching up to be able work properly with the new ARM processors. It still puts Apple to shame how much Microsoft has thought about these things. I’m not sure I’m ready to lose MacOS as an operating system though, even though most of apps are cross platform.

Work

The nature of my work has changed a lot in the last year. I’ve needed a change from the logo, identity and icon projects that I’ve been typecast for, to do a wider variety of web and print projects. The app support for those isn’t yet on a par with desktop:

*Affinity files are all the same format. The only reason they’re labelled differently, is so that they open in their default app. You can see this best in Affinity Publisher, where you can seamlessly move between it, Designer and Photo within the same app.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been using my iPad Pro though, because I’ve been using it a lot. Much more than the first generation model I used to have.

I love that gorgeous slab of glass, but I have to admit that it can’t be everything I want it be. Yet.

Pencil support is restricted solely to iPads, and it’s high time that Apple thought beyond them. It’s been three years since Microsoft Surface Studio was launched, and Apple still don’t have anything near it.

Contact

Call Jon on +44 (0)7917 391536
Email
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Alternatively, pop in for tea and cake at the studio…

Hicks
Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom