Using an iPad Pro Instead of your Macbook

by Stewart McGrenary

On travelling on a flight with only hand luggage recently I realised I had the Apple hattrick taking up much of my space and weight in my small bag. Lucky it was a hot country we were heading too! An iPhone, a Macbook Air for work, and an iPad Air for inflight movies and "Suits." Surely Harvey Spectre would not travel this way!

Microsoft have gone all guns blazing down the dual device route with the surface Surface- a tablet which runs full windows so you really don't need a laptop too. Microsoft have struggled in recent years and so when you're down you can take a risk or 2. Apple would be loathe to combine 2 revenue streams into 1 by giving us an iPad with full Mac OS but they may well be forced in the coming years. Time will tell.

The advantages of combining the devices are obvious, one less device to buy, one less charger to bring and a much lighter laptop. The iPad Pro is also a fantastic device so any excuse right? I'll leave that sales pitch to Apple.

I used the iPad Pro 12.9"- the larger one so I could get max screen real estate. Lets see what the niggles are and how I tackled them...

1) The keyboard feels great but it's not backlit and doesnt change angle- which means its not ideal for using in bed or on the couch. Its also a bit top heavy so falls around if not using on a table.

Solutions, don't work in bed sado! And keep the couch for surfing and research where you don't need the keyboard. If you need to type extensively sit it on the coffee table or start a draft to finish in the morning at your desk. The iPad is much more couch friendly when used without the keyboard.

2) The built in Gmail app doesnt allow the same freedom as the browser version.

Solution bookmark gmail in your browser and put it on the homescreen- its far more useful if you have mountains of email like most online companies.

3) Text Expansion is very important for Phonesmart Ltd- we use different email signatures depending on the situation and have standard paragraphs for common issues. 

Solution: Currently checking out text expander for the ipad and chrome text expander. Both will do the job actually although textexpander is now a subscription model.

4) Viewing multiple windows seems a bit restricted. You can't open 2 chrome windows for example to view side by side.

Solution- use 2 different browsers if you need side by side comparisons. I installed chrome pretty much right away so safari on the right and chrome to the left.

Some Unexpected Positives

1) Switching between apps is very slick indeed, four finger swipe works very well

2) Keyboard shortcuts are extremely useful- just hold "option" key for shortlist on particular app

3) The battery seems to last forever!

Quick Summary. For light users an ipad is definitely sufficient. Power users will still look for a desktop or laptop close to hand for more intensive tasks but as a travel accessory the days of requiring a laptop and ipad are definitely numbered.