Apple’s iPad Pro is the perfect tool for a freelance journalist. It’s light, powerful, has a battery that lasts all day and a good keyboard.
To my surprise I’ve found my writing is more productive on the Pro than on a Mac. That has a lot to do with the physical hardware. It is also down to iOS 9 which forces distraction-free mode on users.
Nothing pops up to distract me while working. I’m rarely tempted to switch screens unless it is necessary. Trust me, this enforced focus writing is just what I need.
I get paid by the word and can write more words per day on the iPad Pro. It’s that simple.
iPad Pro great for writing
Today’s iOS writing tools are excellent. There is plenty of choice. At one point I had seven different apps installed I can use to manipulate words and sentences.
At first sight Apple’s iPad Pro keyboard doesn’t look promising. In practice I can touch type on it all day. I’ve no idea if my iPad Pro typing speed matches my MacBook typing speed. What I do know is the iPad Pro writing set-up is productive.
My only niggle is that sometimes I must lift my hands from the keyboard and touch the screen or the Touch ID button. This doesn’t interfere with productivity, but it doesn’t feel like a natural action. Not yet.
The iPad Pro has earned its place in my technology armoury. The machine I’m writing this post on is a review model from Apple. When the review period is up I’m going to buy my own iPad Pro and a keyboard and an Apple pencil.
What does it replace?
There is one problem. I’ve not decided what it will displace.
Although I can do all my work on the iPad Pro, it can’t do all the other things I need to do. While iCloud works well (so does OneDrive) the iPad Pro is not ideal for making local file copies. Physical back-up may be an anachronistic security blanket in your eyes, I’ve come to depend on it. I learned the hard way about backing up and don’t plan to stop.
Last month I had to install new firmware on my home wireless router. That meant downloading a zip file, decompressing it then installing it on the router. There’s no way I know of to do this using the iPad Pro.
I’ve invested a small fortune in OS X and Windows apps. In truth, there are few desktop business apps that I find essential. I use Acorn to manipulate graphics files but there are good iPad apps for this task.
The iPad Pro handles most web design work. Downloading and editing HTML, CSS or PHP files is tricky compared with the Mac. I can’t see how I can run local development versions of websites on the iPad. Maybe there are tools, I haven’t found them yet.
Missing in action
Where the iPad Pro misses most is with leisure software. That’s strange given its consumer origins. Here I’m talking about specialist apps. I use sophisticated music composition software on my Mac, it doesn’t run on iOS. Having said that, I have found some great alternative iOS music software.
Games are another matter. I’m not much of a gamer, but on wet weekends and home alone evenings I might want to unwind. Although there are iOS versions of some of the games I play, they are not a patch on the OS X versions.
The iPad Pro is the best thing for watching streaming video content. Premier League Pass is wonderful on the Retina screen. Movies are wonderful and the display is big enough for two to snuggle up and watch together.
Can’t drop the Mac yet
Despite this, I’m still going to need a Mac of some description for some time. The question is which model?
Until I used the iPad Pro, Apple’s 2015 MacBook was at the top of my shopping list. It’s small and light and has a great screen. That sounds just like the iPad Pro, except I now know I work better with a Pro.
My MacBook Air is two years old. The battery doesn’t last quite as long as it did when it was new, the power cable wore away and needed kludging. I was planning to look for a replacement about now.
Thanks to the iPad Pro I can relegate the MacBook to a secondary role and extend its life. Maybe when it gets more tired I can replace it with a Retina iMac. Or maybe another MacBook Air.