It’s happening again: in less than one month, I have already begun to question the iPad Pro experiment. While I’ve been getting by just fine answering emails, writing documents, attending meetings and taking notes, there just seems to be something off with the entire experience.
Remember, I started this journey again with the specific intent on shaking up my workflow; what I have quickly found is the opposite. Instead of reinventing how I work, I have been trying to bend the iPad Pro into my existing workflow.
More apps, little hacks here and there, putting together a Workflow or creating new Pythonista scripts to get things done — where on a full laptop, these things are easy to do. (Side note: Don’t mistake what I’m saying here — Pythonista is FANTASTIC; it’s opened up a whole new level of productivity for me on the mobile devices).
But really, at the end of the day, while it’s an interesting exercise, I’ve found that I am spending a good chunk of time trying to make things work optimally so I don’t need a laptop with me.
But I think this just ultimately highlights a key flaw, which I mentioned in an earlier post:
The iPad Pro is all the hardware you need, but the software hasn’t caught up yet.
I’m not quite sure why application developers haven’t done more with the Pro at this point. Too many devices and differences to build for? Too limited of a market? Perhaps it’s similar to what I saw with landscape mode on the iPhone 6+ and 6S+ .. it’s incredible useful, yet few apps really took advantage of it.
And then there’s the question of “small apps” vs “full apps”. On one hand, I like single focused applications where you can get to information quickly. On the other, it often gets in the way and lends to application overload: I really don’t want 6 photo apps to filter, crop and manipulate an image — I want a single, full-featured workhorse.
Which brings me to the MacBook 12″ Retina, the other machine in my stable that I’ve been neglecting as I try this experiment.
It weighs only 2.03lbs (vs the iPad Pro 9.7 with Smart Keyboard Cover at just under 2lbs), has a solid 8–10 hours on the battery, and runs full macOS. It has a super-small wall-wart plug, and despite controversy, I actually like the keyboard. Alot. While there’s also been alot of back and forth on the single USB-C port or the overall speed of the laptop, I haven’t really had a problem with this. I even use VMWare Fusion on the laptop to run Kali on occasion.
My only fault with it is the crappy 480p iSight camera — it sucks in low light and it’s great for video chat.
In the end, it’s not a big difference when it comes to the hardware, weight or battery.
It’s the software that is the tipping point. Did I mention it runs full macOS?
I’m not at the point of giving up on the iPad Pro for work (yet), but I am starting to question if the real optimal workflow combination is the MacBook 12″ and the iPhone 6S+?