Can the iPad Pro replace my laptop? My experiment.

I wrote off the iPad as a serious device for daily use around 18 months ago. My iPad Mini was fine for travel and content consumption and a few emails, but I was done. That was until I listened to Benedict Evans talk about the iPad Pro being a contender for replacing his laptop as his primary computing device.


He generally has a clear view on what’s happening in mobility at a macro level, so I stopped and paid attention. In this a16z podcast, he made the case that the general user is sending emails, creating slides and consuming content as the way we work has shifted over the last few years. Of course this excludes ‘power’ users – engineers, designers, etc.

This made me stop and consider my own habits. Luckily I’ve been tracking these over the last few months using RescueTime. I always suspected my job role should be ‘Types and Talks’, and the stats confirmed this.

Most of my time is email and comms, with the rest being web based and creating presentations. (The blurred bits are internal work sites).

The Pretotype Experiment

I’m going to run an experiment to challenge myself:

  • Do I need a laptop
  • What will I miss using only an iPad
  • Do I really need a file system that isn’t Dropbox
  • Is a keyboard and touch screen good enough to forego the ancient mouse.
  • Will the limited multitasking improve focus or frustrate me

The way I’m going to Pretotype this is to use my first generation iPad Mini at work, connected to my apple keyboard via Bluetooth. I’ll tolerate the slowness of the Mini and small screen to test if I have all the apps and tools I believe I need to get my job done.

One week should do it.

I’ll report back here and let you know how it goes.

Note: This was written in my Pretotype environment after a full day of using the Mini. Not too frustrated yet. Let’s see after the novelty wears off.

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