In Praise of the iPad

IPad, brownie and coffee

When I started Davatex, I expected to be able to post more of my work than I have. I’ve been doing a lot of strategy consulting, and strategy is by definition confidential (at least to most clients), so I have refrained from posting a lot on the blog. I always knew that would be the case to some degree, but the prevalence of confidential work has been higher than I expected. I aim to post more going forward, by posting some non-confidential insights, observations, and general thoughts. This is the first such post.

My tech setup since I started Davatex consisted of an iMac, a MacBook Pro (all Intel-based), and a Windows laptop.  I prefer the Mac, so only use the Windows laptop for Windows-specific stuff (of which there’s very little these days, at least in my business). I’ve also had an iPad ever since they came out. My original perception of the iPad, which persisted until a couple of months ago, was that it was great for content consumption and maybe some light email, but that it wasn’t an actual productivity tool.

Then, in May, my other half required knee surgery. At the same time, my MBP developed an issue that required a lengthy stay at Apple Tech Support (that’s a whole separate story). So, I found myself at the hospital trying to do productivity work on my Windows laptop.  No problem, I thought. I’ve been a Windows user basically forever, and have equal skill with Windows as with MacOS.

Only, the Windows laptop wouldn’t connect to the hospital Wi-Fi. No matter what I tried, it Just Would Not Connect. I had a bit of client work to do – some data work in Google Sheets, and a presentation in Google Slides. So, I turned to my iPad (an 11” 2019 iPad Pro, with an external keyboard).

Admittedly, some “muscle memory” needed retraining. I had to think about how to do things on the iPad vs. on Windows or MacOS. But after a surprisingly short time, I grew to like it. The hospital stay was only two days, but I left with a whole different opinion of the iPad.

How different?  Well, when my MBP got back from Apple, I set it up with a USB hub and a nice ultra wide monitor. I sold the iMac on eBay, and now use the iPad almost exclusively for mobile work.  Yes, I have the option of taking the MBP if I need, but so far I haven’t needed.

Mobile applications most frequently used: Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail), Plottr Pro (software for plotting storylines), Figma (a design tool), and Scrivener (a word processor targeted to writers). The more I use the iPad, the more I’m finding there’s very little I need that requires a full-fledged laptop.

Have you had a similar experience? Or have you found working on an iPad frustrating? Comment and let me know!

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