This piece is part of a two part series by Allyson Kazmucha and Daniel Aditya, documenting both of their experiences using only an iPad for a week. If you haven’t already, you should read part one first.
I purchased my first iPad about 2 years ago. It was an iPad 3. I still remember how that iPad suffered under iOS 7. Laggy animations, choppy performance, and no true multitasking.
The iPad has functioned solely as a consumption device for me. I read, tweet, and stream. It wasn’t until I read Federico Viticci’s article on how he managed Macstories using an iPad Air 2 that I considered taking the iPad seriously.
When Apple announced that iOS 9 would add features such as split-screen and more sophisticated keyboard shortcuts, I decided to purchase a first generation iPad Air with the intention of making if my main work device. (Note: I jailbroke my iPad Air to enable Split View features. Even with 1 GB RAM, there is no lag.)
Just like Ally, I chose Sunday for setting up my iPad. I made a list of things I usually depend on my Mac for and worked on finding iPad solutions.
I work as a quality assurance officer for a clinical laboratory, so I view and evaluate a lot of data. I also write for an Indonesian tech blog in addition to contributing here at The App Factor. Lastly, I’m a college student. My main goal was to find a way to use only my iPad for writing and completing school tasks.
At my primary job, I knew I’d still have to use a PC since I greatly depend on macros to speed up my workflow.
I started my work week like normal by planning the day, checking Trello and Todoist, and browsing Fantastical for any meetings and deadlines. When I need to make an event or reminder, I use Drafts , which can also parse information about meetings right to Fantastical with one action.
For writing, nothing beats Editorial on iOS. I use Sublime Text 3 on my Mac alongside Marked by Brett Terpstra. Inserting links, footnotes, searching references via in-app-browser, and previewing Markdown are all simple tasks with Editorial. In the future I would really like to see Editorial add tabbed files.
Hardware keyboard shortcuts in some apps help to speed things up. (Tip: You can press the Command key to get a keyboard combination cheatsheet inside of any app.) I’ve been using Apple’s Magic Keyboard for faster text entry and I’m pretty happy with it. Some apps such as Outlook and Tweetbot use Command + 1-9 to allow you to navigate between tabs. Pages also features keyboard shortcuts that speed up word formatting.
Keyboard shortcuts make navigating between apps less annoying than tapping the screen. I hope someday accessing Slide Over, Notification Center, and Control Center could be done using keyboard shortcuts too.
For combining screenshots into one document I use Longscreen and for annotation, Skitch. Action extensions, introduced in iOS 8, play an immense role in helping apps to work together. I can get affiliate links from Blink, collect them using Drafts, and append them into a Dropbox file.
For college tasks, I found Pages to meet most of my needs. I exported assignments to PDF but unfortunately I couldn’t put them directly into Dropbox. While I could use iCloud Drive, I prefer Dropbox since all my other files already live there.
A week with iPad: Where it still lacks
My effort to fully work on iPad for a week failed when I got an email from my lecturer. I was asked to create a program, which required use of my Macbook Air, Sublime Text 3, and CodeRunner.
iOS 9 is a huge step forward in terms of iPad productivity. Now the question is whether or not developers will take advantage. iOS still has limitations and that’s why things like url-schemes exist. Without them, iOS automation couldn’t exist.
Apps play an important role in creating the user experience. A bigger screen doesn’t solve the problem, as Ally already stated. What we need are apps that can do more. Only time will tell whether or not the upcoming iPad Pro really is the workhorse Apple, and many of us, want it to be.