Working from an iPad Pro, a quick review and lessons learned

Back in December, I started an experiment. Encouraged by my friend Jeff’s move to an iPad I tried out working from an iPad with a keyboard and it turned out that I liked the experience.

The benefits of working on an iPad instead of a traditional laptop

  • I’m always online through LTE on the iPad. I never have to hunt for a wifi connection or use my phone as a hotspot anymore. Since I do a ton of meetings a week all over town, this is huge for me.
  • The battery life is insane. I charge my iPad at night with my phone and use it during the day without worrying at all about if I will have enough power to get through my day.
  • I like the experience of using apps better than using web apps or even desktop software. I wrote more about that here, but the bottom line is that the user experience in apps tends to be better than in other places.

My thoughts on the iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard

  • It’s big. I mean really big for an iPad. I was concerned I wouldn’t like that at first, and it turns out that I love it. The screen is just the right size to work from and not feel cramped.
  • The screen resolution is fantastic. In fact, I was at my desk, with a desktop 21-inch monitor yesterday and found myself preferring to still use the iPad Pro because the screen was so much better on it.
  • The Smart Keyboard is great. I thought long and hard about getting the Logitech Create keyboard but went with Apple’s keyboard instead, and I’m glad I did. I love how small the keyboard is when it’s folded up, it doesn’t add much bulk to the iPad. I also love the way that it types; it has a nice feel to it.

What using an iPad as a work device has taught me

  • Simplify. When I was using a desktop, I had some complex systems that I had created over time without realizing it. Duplicating those systems on an iPad was impossible, so I had to rethink them and simplify. The best example of this is when I needed to write proposals for website work. I would fire up Adobe InDesign on my iMac, pull up a template I spent many years creating and refining, and then build the proposal. Since I was on the only admin person in my company with InDesign, this meant that I was the only one that could write proposals and often that was a problem. When I moved to the iPad, using InDesign wasn’t an option, so I rebuilt the entire proposal in Google Slides. It looks just as good, but can be used by anyone in the company now, and it’s easy to use on the iPad as well.
  • Focus. Probably my favorite thing about working from an iPad is the fact that you cannot have more than two apps up at the same time, and typically just one. This forces me to focus on the task at hand until it is complete. I love that.
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