In my previous and also first post, I briefly mentioned that one of the main assumptions I made when launching this blog is that I will create and maintain it using my iPad from the very beginning. What specific device am I using? That’s what this post is dedicated to.
What iPad am I using?
In mid-2022, I bought an iPad Air 5th generation with 64GB of memory, WiFi only variant (without Cellular, i.e. GSM communication). It is actually a very basic version, but it is completely sufficient for me because I keep all my files on a NAS server, and wherever I am, I have access to WiFi or in rare cases I can always use a portable router or hotspot on my phone. Before the purchase, I used an iPad 9th generation from 2021 quite actively, so I was upgrading from fairly recent equipment. So why did I decide on such an upgrade? Several factors convinced me to make the purchase:
- price, because I was able to purchase a still-wrapped product from a private seller, which allowed me to pay only 2500 PLN (less than $600) for it,
- Apple Silicon M1 processor, which I have in my 2020 MacBook Air, and from the very beginning I have been amazed by the performance leap that Apple has achieved compared to units with processors from Intel or other competitors,
- 8GB of RAM vs 3GB, which makes a huge difference especially if we talk about any kind of multitasking, which is completely possible on an iPad with 8GB of RAM, but not necessarily with 3GB, because even a few tabs in Safari can cause constant reloading of the one where a video is playing on Youtube, which is very inconvenient,
- iPad Air 5 compatibility with Magic Keyboard,
- slightly larger screen,
- new, refreshed look,
- USB-C port instead of the outdated Lightning.
An device with such parameters will be definitely sufficient for most people to use as their main „computer”. The key role here is played by the M1 processor, which is a desktop solution and is truly powerful.
Can iPadOS be considered equivalent to macOS?
Unfortunately, the answer (at least for now) is – no. In recent years, there has been significant development of this system in the right direction, but it still isn’t quite „it” and I have the impression that Apple is intentionally holding back on this a bit, because if iPadOS had the same capabilities as macOS, what would be the point of having two separate systems? That’s probably why iPadOS is artificially maintained as a solution for work of a slightly different nature. However, it all depends on what we need to use it for, because it definitely offers things that are impossible to do on macOS. To do this, you just need to brainstorm a bit and expand the capabilities of your iPad in the right way, for example through a VPS (Virtual Private Server). I did this by setting up a home server based on a derivative of Raspberry Pi, on which I have tools that I am missing in iPadOS. I will definitely write a separate post about this, maybe even a few posts.
Accessories are important
The iPad alone is not everything we need to make it (almost) a full-fledged computer, we need accessories! The most important one is the keyboard. I went for the Magic Keyboard because I am fascinated by the effect of the iPad hovering over the keyboard. It is a solidly made device. The size and key travel, as well as the spacing between them, are designed for comfortable typing and will certainly be appreciated by people who produce a lot of text. There is also a touchpad, and its dimensions are optimal in relation to the amount of available space for it. There is no need to dwell excessively on the quality of Apple’s touchpads, because anyone who has ever had contact with them certainly knows that it is an experience that cannot be compared to anything else on the market. On the other hand, there are also drawbacks, such as the lack of function keys (e.g. for adjusting volume and screen brightness) and the inability to use such a set on a surface other than flat one, because the center of gravity is located in such a way that, for example, when the iPad is plugged into the Magic Keyboard on the knees, it falls backwards or simply is not stable enough to allow pressing the screen without holding the base with the other hand. Of course, Apple’s keyboards are not the only right choice. I used the Logitech Combo Touch keyboard for the 9th gen. iPad and also praised this product.
For the more creative and manually gifted (which does not include me…), there is also a great development of possibilities in the form of the Apple Pencil stylus. My iPad model supports the second generation Pencil, so it can be charged wirelessly from the tablet itself and transported through magnetic attachment on its longer side, which is both stylish and convenient, but also carries the disadvantage of easy detachment, for example in a bag, or loss through disconnection while inserting it into a bag. Nevertheless, for artists or at least graphic designers, this is certainly an amazing tool for work.
When it comes to a mouse, in my case it wouldn’t have any use, because I navigate best using the touchscreen of the iPad itself. I have the Logitech MX Master 3, but despite it being a great mouse with a brilliant, magnetic scrolling wheel, I don’t use it with the iPad. It seems to me that if I were to use this type of accessory, it would have to be the Magic Mouse, and the reasons for this choice would be gesture support and scrolling, which is similar to that on the touchpad. Unfortunately, its shape has never been ergonomic for me, so I maintain my statement from the first sentence of this paragraph.
This post is just an introduction to a series that I will be publishing in the category called #iPadOnly, in which I will describe how I use the iPad as my daily driver. At the end, please take note of the logo of this blog and appreciate my graphic skills (ha-ha). The image is not accidental and shows a side view of the iPad plugged into the Magic Keyboard, and the text was supposed to look freshly written using the Apple Pencil. You know, such static dynamics, creativity at level 9000! I reached the heights of my creativity. WOW! 😆 In addition, the graphic was created using the iPad and a tool called Photopea, which is a browser-based, stripped-down version, but very useful and reasonably functioning for not too demanding activities, similar to Photoshop or perhaps more like Gimp.