iPad Pro for a week

At the beginning of the week, you may have seen my LinkedIn post where I set myself a small challenge to only use my iPad for all my work related tasks. I wanted to see how well I could do the day to day without the performance and form factor of my XPS 15. (If I'm honest, it was because I've started going into my co-working space more than once a week, and it's a bloody heavy machine!).

It also gave me a chance to see how well the policies and configurations we apply as part of the Managed Workplace Offering (something my company, Yobah Limited offer) work for end customers. So, I set my self some high level rules which were:

  1. I cannot drop out of the iPad to use Windows for my day to day. The only exception to that was if there was a customer support issue which required a Windows machines. (Gutted, as I specifically setup a new Azure Virtual Desktop host pool last week to give more flexibility).
  2. I couldn't change any of the policies, or try to bypass the security controls.
  3. I was allowed to download applications to make things easier if needed.

So, how did it go?

The Good:

I'll be honest, I actually enjoyed the flexibility of the form factor. I found myself brainstorming using the pencil, getting quiet time on the sofa reading documentation and not getting distracted with social media or games (which I do on my laptop!).

My favourite part app was using Microsoft Whiteboard to take notes in Teams calls using pencil, and quickly being able to share and send them across the team. It was also refreshing to see how well applications worked together. I love the lastpass integration, which made logging into the various systems a breeze.

Finally, I don't think I took a charger with me anywhere I went! Battery literally lasted all day, and it was sooo light, I hardly knew I was carrying it.

The Bad:

The biggest downside (I'll get onto my worst point in a minute), was the ergonomics when sat at a desk. Using the keyboard added a fair bit of pressure on my wrists while typing anything more than a teams message, and hunched over looking at the screen decimated my back! I'd say it would have been much easier if I simply used it as a tablet, rather than a laptop replacement.

The ugly

Now this is my biggest bug bear, and is probably the reason I am writing this post on my trusty laptop with it's docking station. The iPadOS just DOESNT let me use a secondary screen in a way that actually helps. Yeah sure, you can plug it into one using USB-C, but it is still a mirror and a crap aspect ratio. Especially as I use an Ultra-Wide, it looked 10 times worse that I ever imagined it could! Similar to the days you didn't install graphic drivers.

I admit there are some exceptions to this... the Netflix app for example. You can play a show in 16:9 without too much issue. Why can't this be all apps? Crazy times!

The conclusion?

Am I going to ditch my laptop and become a digital native fashionista? In a word, No!

Don't get me wrong, it is a brilliant device when heading into the office for meetings, collaboration and wanting to keep travel packs light. I loved how flexible it was when trying to change the way I interacted with content. It has made me like apple more, and I can see the potential. They just need to focus on some of the basics.

Did I stick to all my rules above, ok, you got me... not quite! I did end up doing a demo with a customer who had noticed I wasn't sharing my ipad screen (in my defence, it was a visio diagram!). But other than that... I used it all week!

This article was written by:
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Paul Sanders

Hi, I'm Paul Sanders, and I'm from Manchester, UK. After many years working in the IT consultancy industry, I decided to setup on my own. Now an independent strategy consultant.
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