11 February 2018

Reflections on working on an iPad

Last December, I decided to get rid of my Macbook Pro 13” Touchbar. I was never really happy with the MacBook Pro (along with many others) and while the LG display is being sold by Apple, and supposedly, is manufactured together with Apple, it’s clear by the build quality that it’s no Apple product.

I’ve been a long fan of the iMac and for portability, I was eager to see if the iPad had come far enough to supplement my iMac. As a designer, I was confident that it wouldn’t fully replace my need for a Mac, but I’ve never really found working on a 13” MacBook Pro convenient while out of the office anyway.

Full disclosure: I had tried this several times before but I had never been able to commit to the iPad. As long as I had the option of a MacBook Pro too, I would almost always go for that (or the iPhone for even more portability). But what if I got rid of my MacBook Pro?

Office

Said and done, I got myself an iMac 27” and an iPad Pro 10.5” that I use when I travel, give presentations or for the work I do while at home (which is mainly finalizing presentations and replying to emails).

I won’t go into details on the iMac because I think most of you are familiar with the product. It’s really a great machine (and I didn’t get the top of the line and certainly not the iMac Pro).

The iPad I must say, is growing on me. I find the limitation of only being able to have two apps open simultaneously refreshing and… calming. While I’m traveling, or basically anywhere that’s not my office or at home, the added benefit of 4G is great. I know you can tether your phone and there are open WiFi networks in most places but not having to go through the hassle of connecting to a public WiFi is well worth the extra cost. Plus, my mobile plan comes with unlimited data and an extra SIM-card.

iPad Pro

While there are certain things I can’t do on the iPad (like designing in Sketch), there’s really a lot that you can do. Like updating my website through Github for instance. This post was written in Paper (where I do all my writing), copied to iA Writer for editing markdown and then pushed to Github with Working Copy.

This past week I’ve been at home sick with the stomach flu and not having a laptop in the house has sure made it easier to not get drawn into doing “just this one small work thing”.

When I talked about freelancing a couple of weeks ago, a guy in the audience asked me how I manage not working all the time, especially as both of us have clients in multiple time zones. After thinking about this for a bit, I’ve realized what a savior the iPad have been in that sense. Sometimes in order to not work, is making sure it’s just not possible to work. While I can reply to emails on my iPad, there’s just no way for me to make minor edits in Sketch - not even exporting assets. (As far as I know).