How I moved from Macbook Air to iPad Pro for work and home

Two weeks ago I started an experiment to see if I could move to exclusively using an iPad Pro. To overcome my impulsiveness to chase shiny things, I did this experiment.

I writing this on my new 12.9 inch iPad Pro. I’ve been using this for two weeks as my primary device, at work and home.

What works well:

  • The screen is big enough for all day work.
  • Multitasking / split screen work
  • Swiping apps in from the right to quickly access Dashlane for passwords or search Google
  • We’re locked in to Outlook at work so the maturity of the office apps matters. Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word are excellent and work well together.
  • The Apple keyboard is excellent. real keyboard size and great feel.
  • Very fast

I’ve had two occasions to go back to the Mac. One to edit a PowerPoint file created on the Mac where the image showed as a block with a small red x, and the second to print something before I discovered an app for that.

An unexpected side benefit is improved focus on tasks. Knowing I can only have a maximum of two ‘Windows’ side by side creates an additional switching cost so I complete what I’m working on and then consciously switch.

I didn’t realise the mental overhead of multiple windows available to switch between or ‘quickly check’ on the Mac.

  • Sinofskys article talks about reduced file management and he’s right. I no longer care about files to the same extent. If it’s on Dropbox, I’m done.

What takes getting used to

  • No mouse. The touch interface is good, but I’m quickly learning the keyboard shortcuts. The reason is that constantly reaching up and forward is tiring and takes getting used to. There’s even a term for it – Gorilla Arms! Long press the Command Key to get the shortcuts for each app.
  • Ergonomic setup. I’ve raised the iPad on a laptop stand and keep it close to me to make touch easier. I use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I found I was hunched over and stared down at the iPad if used the iPad keyboard.
  • Network Printing. Not everyone is blessed with AirPrint but luckily there’s and app for this. (See Apps Below)
  • Export to PDFs from office apps. Use the printing app above.


Why do this at all?

I’m an early adopter so I like to try new tech and ways to work.

I’m also challenging my current ‘normal’. Why is a 40 year old mouse the best interface? Is shuffling Windows around the screen an effective way to work? Why do I care so much about where files are stored? Do I need a huge screen? Is working on two screens more productive? (No) Is a tablet usable over the longer term?

This gives me a lot of freedom and the portability of having a single simple device is working for me. I’ll let you know how it goes after a few weeks.

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