Press F for key shortcuts
A Shower Of Thoughts

More iPad, less MacBook

Published on .

I’ve realised that most of the things I used to do and enjoyed doing on my laptop, I do them now on my tablet.

I think it started with the pandemic lockdown. Working from home all the time - which was something I was very happy with - came with an unexpected disadvantage: after spending my day working - sitting on my desk using the company laptop - I didn’t feel like using my own laptop at all, afterwards. The laptop had become a tool for work and I didn’t want to use it for anything else because it just reminded me of work.

Now, this is not to say I don’t enjoy my job or anything like that. I very much love it, specially now that I get to do it from home. But the fact that I do it at home means that it’s a bit harder to separate work from my personal life, and in my mind, having a separate device and form factor (the tablet) for my personal projects and tasks makes it easier to provide that healthy separation.

But even more than that, I enjoy the extra portability of the tablet over the laptop. The iPad Pro is lighter and a bit smaller than the laptop - 11” vs. 14” respectively in my case. Which allows me to do my things pretty much anywhere in the house.

Most importantly, the touch screen. I know none of this is new and it’s in fact taken for granted by everyone since these technologies have been ubiquitous for a long time now, but being able to do my computing on a touch screen feels fresh, fun and engaging in a way that a keyboard and mouse is not.

Coding is the only thing that I still prefer to do on a laptop, because it’s still more comfortable and effective than on a tablet, or possible at all. Trying to do it on the iPad is extra difficult since you cannot have normal access to any programming language or development environment on it. There are ways: either using a Terminal-like app to connect and write to an external device which is doing the actual processing of the code is one. A more straightforward approach is using Web IDEs like glitch.com, codesandbox.io, github.dev, and vscode.dev from the browser. You still need to connect a keyboard to make this comfortable enough, but it gets you closer to “the real thing”.

Perhaps a good native code editor already exists for iPadOS and I’m just not aware of it - one that still would need to connect to an external machine that does the code processing, but that at least makes the code-editing experience feel truly native on the iPad. My ideal scenario, however, would be a completely touch screen-centered interface for “writing” code without actually needing your keyboard as much or at all - perhaps only for naming your variables - and where everything else is done by using the touch-screen and its interactions to the fullest, for a more “interactive” and engaging experience.

All in all, using the iPad feels more instant, more engaging, and even though its operating system is very strict and constrained when compared with a desktop-class OS, I’ve actually enjoyed the simplicity that comes with that.

Maybe at some point I’ll get to completely move everything to the tablet - all iPad, no MacBook.



More about: home ipad macbook


← Home