Ever since the iPad Pro was released, I was wondering can it really replace my computer as Apple folks suggested during the keynote and in their ads. Well, I think I’ve been waiting long enough to give it a try. The main question is: will I be able to work on it without ever starting up my laptop again?
Now, I don’t have the iPad in my hands yet but I thought I’d just share a few thoughts before actually getting my hands on it and putting it to a test.
What I do
Before going any further, I feel I need to clarify what sort of work I do.
In a nutshell, I work with WordPress based websites – design, development, troubleshooting. Web hosting is another part of my biz so I do a lot of SSH/Terminal work, Plesk updates, hosting troubleshooting, etc. I also do computer and computer network technical support.
I suspect the web hosting part will be okay as I’ve provided support on my iPhone (and back then on my iPad mini) before and never had any problems doing so. To SSH to my servers, I used an app called Cathode by Secret Geometry. Love the retro looks of it, reminds me of my first years with computers…
Most of the websites I manage are running on WordPress. On a small screen, the admin area is a bit difficult to work with but on an (almost) 13 inch screen, that should not be a problem, I’d say. Well, except for media handling, perhaps. Though with the iOS 11’s Files app, it could be easier than a year or two back.
Web development and web design
First of all, I’m not a traditional web developer/designer. I don’t do fancy wireframes or design stuff in Photoshop. I see the design in my head or I’ll do a sketch or two on a piece of paper. And then I go one of these two ways:
- either using a ready-made theme from themeforest.net, installing a page builder and creating all the blocks like so, or
- doing some actual coding for when I think a theme built up from scratch would be of greater benefit. Let’s not pretend, for most websites, all the overcomplicated themes out there on different theme markets are so bloated that speed and code optimisation itself takes a full day if not longer!
When it comes to coding a theme from scratch or adjusting an existing one, I’ve used Sublime Text on my Mac for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, there’s no version for iOS so I’ll have to switch. I read great reviews on Coda for iOS but at about 28 quid, it seems a little on the pricy side. That said, it does have features that easily outweigh the hefty fee. Direct FTP file editing is just one of the many great things it can do.
This one’s fairly easy. My biggest IT support client uses LogMeIn remote access software, which has a great iOS app as well. Others use TeamViewer, which also comes with a competent iOS counterpart.
And then there’s the need to actually manage my business. Doing accounts, responding to emails and Facebook messages. These are easy to do so I don’t expect any problems here. My accounts system is web based and has a decent iPhone app, too.
Things I’m worried about the most
Replacing my multitouch mouse with a touchscreen is probably my biggest worry. In a way a direct tap is faster than having to position the mouse cursor and then clicking but it’s not as precise. ‘Fine grained’ selection or selecting multiple items at the same time also works better with a mouse (and a keyboard). Obviously, adjustments in how I work with different tools on different things will have to be made.
Document compatibility is another thing that makes me a wee bit nervous. I do a lot of Word document editing like technology manuals for my clients. And while there’s an iOS version of Word available as part of my Office 365 subscription, the options are limited, and there will most likely be situations when it won’t work quite as I need it to work. Especially since most of my customers use MS Word on Windows.
The journey begins in just one day…
How will I do? Will I be able to make a full switch from my 13” MacBook Pro to the beautiful 12.9” iPad Pro? How will my workflows change? What apps will I end up using?
I will share my experience with you here on my blog.