While Apple’s iPad Pro is enough computer for day-to-day journalism, there are times when things might get tricky.
In the end I didn’t use the iPad Pro as my only device last week.
It wasn’t because of anything wrong with the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro stayed at home because I needed to play safe and use OS X.
My caution was unnecessary. In hindsight the iPad Pro may have been a better tool for the job in question.
Last Wednesday I was asked to help with production on a New Zealand Herald report.
For editors and writers, production is mainly about reading last minute page proofs. We’re looking for errors, writing headlines or captions and so on. It can mean dealing with files, usually PDFs, from the NZ Herald’s editorial design system.
There’s also fact-checking; researching people’s correct name spellings and job titles.
Files can fly thick and fast during last minute production. Speed is essential.
Too many unknowns
Although iOS does a decent job managing personal files generated with iOS apps, there were too many possible unknowns to deal with.
I didn’t want to get all the way to the office then find the iPad Pro couldn’t open one of the file types. Nor did I want to find out too late that my iOS apps weren’t the right tools to make late page edits.
Also it could have been embarrassing if I needed to find out how to perform some unexpected or unfamiliar operation while others were waiting for me.
For all these reasons I packed the MacBook certain that it could handle all the work and that I know how to make it fly.
On the day we did the job with full-size paper proofs and pens. Someone else made the changes to the pages.
This may sound archaic to geeks, but proofreading is more effective on printouts than on screen. Eyes and brains read print and screens in different ways. Errors that stand out in print are overlooked on screen.
There was plenty of fact-checking, but no file-juggling. There was some emailing of photos to designers — I’ve worked places where you need to log-in to a server to get the pics to the right place. That could have been a challenge on the iPad Pro.
On the occasions where I needed to read proofs on screen, the large high resolution iPad Pro screen would have been a better option than the MacBook. Granted there’s not much in it, but the iPad is a better reading device than a conventional computer.
I should have had more faith in the iPad Pro.
- Look out for my post about my experience after using the iPad Pro for seven days not quite in a row. It contains useful insight into where the device fits in the bigger picture. ↩