To lighten the air around here a bit, I'd like to relate my experience with my iPad Pro 9.7” I’ve been using for about two weeks now. After about a week I began to toy with the idea of using it as my main system, one that would do everything I'd need a from a computer - work, entertainment, hobby, I mean everything.
Thing is, I'm a closet neat freak with an OCD-like aversion to clutter, and am a minimalist by nature. Because of this I tend to try to downsize all my possessions. It’s a bit of a challenge as far as computers are concerned, mainly due to work work requirements, and because I’m also a gear-head with affinity for all things computers. I have four desktops that are on all the time, two laptops, three tablets, plus dedicated machines like NAS, virtualization server, HTPC, three Raspberry Pi’s, Odroid, and a Beagle Bone - all of which irks the hell out of the anal side of me.
To put some reign on this, I long envisioned having one computer for all my needs. And after using the iPad, I think that vision is near reality. I had thought my work needs were more complex but mostly I just need to ssh into remote servers which provide me with bash, the programming languages, editors and IDEs. The app called Prompt works very well, as well as Server Auditor which is free. For Python testing, Pythonista works amazingly well. Though I have an elaborate local development environment set up on my MBP, I’ve long abandoned reliance on it, opting rather to do pretty much everything on remote servers. Document management seems to work far better on the iPad than the MBP, especially annotating PDFs, with the Pencil. And same with Skype, with the better front-facing camera. I truly think the iPad, well the Pro line at least, has all the potential to be a productivity machine, as opposed to being a passive content consumption device that, until now, was only good for watching Netflix on the toilet. At least for me.
Speaking of which, entertainment has worked very well for the iPad from the get go. Netflix, Amazon videos have always worked flawlessly, and with the huge storage capacities they have now, I can carry enough movies and music to tide me over if I were to be stuck on a deserted island somewhere. And whereas I only played simple games like Angry Birds on my previous iPad, I’m amazed by how the more graphics intensive games, like battle and racing simulators, play on this thing. Apple said that it’s got an equivalent to an Xbox 360 on this thing, and after playing some crazy complex games, I believe it.
And I never realized how much I loved taking manual, handwritten notes, how that was a crucial part of my work and creative process, but one that was long neglected after I’ve come to rely on traditional computers and typing. So this iPad lets me run the full gamut of coming up with an idea, wherever that may happen, to fully crafting it into reality.
But despite all the virtues, the iPad is only a part of that ideal system. And as great as the Pencil is, it really needs to be paired with a keyboard for any practical work purposes. Tacking on a keyboard seemed ridiculous to me since, no matter what you get, it just adds another slab, negating its ultra portability. It can also limit you by locking you into certain orientation use and cause discomfort, on top of always having to have to carry additional bulk.
What it needs desperately is the Textblade, and with a nice, slim bag to glue all the parts together - the iPad, TB and the Pencil, perhaps the Bragi Dash (did they solve the BT connection problem yet?), along with the cables, adapters, etc. - this is finally the ideal system I’ve been looking for. Ultraportable, complete workstation, entertainment system, artistic canvas all rolled into one. I don’t think I can get rid of all my computers at home (would be my ultimate dream), but I’m confident I can toss out a few.
Anyone looking to do the same, especially TREGers using their TB with their iPad Pro? Can you see yourself discarding most (not all) your computers in favor of the iPad. What are your use cases (whether for work or play) that could/could not be fulfilled? What would be in your bag along with your iPad?