- iPad 1, 16Gb, WiFi and 3G.
- Apple Bluetooth Keyboard
- Origami Stand
- iA Writer - general writing application
- Koder - web code editor
- Dropbox - file synchronisation between devices
- Google Analytics HD - web site usage and analysis reports
- Screens VNC - Access your computer from your iPad
- Pages - create reports, letters and flyers
- Flipboard - reading the news
- Instapaper - save web pages to read later
- iSSH - an terminal application I’m using to get into the mainframe
- Yojimbo - a big catch-all for anything I want to keep safe
- 13” MacBook Pro
Day 1, Tuesday of Hope
My first day using only the iPad as my primary work machine. The very first thing I noticed is how light my rucksack is compared to normal. I’m working in a shared business complex with terrible WiFi and super slow wired broadband. My usual solution is to switch my iPhone to WiFi sharing and leave it charging all day. Having unlimited data plan means I don’t have to worry about the cost.
The iPad is fine to start with, checked the website analytics, Google webmaster tools and scrolled through some news in Safari. All not a problem, not once did I encounter any flash or java plugins.
I start off the day by writing and researching some articles for another website. Safari and iA Writer are the tools for the job and the 4 finger swipe for quick app switching seems to work quite well after a while, although not as natural as cmd-tab which is almost instinctive.
The first hurdle is uploading images to the website. VNC to the rescue. Launching screens I log into my MacBook at home download the images, resize them and upload them. Not the simplest of tasks and took about twice as long as normal. Although quite impressive considering I’m working off of a 3G signal running through my iPhone.
The second hurdle is viewing source for webpages. It turns out I view source a lot more then I had ever imagined. Safari mobile doesn’t have a view source option that I’m aware of. My work around was to
wget the page I was looking for on my remote server. I keep a cheap cloud instance at Rackspace running for this very type of work. Opening up the file in VIM allows me to spend as much time as I like looking at peoples source. However, this is a very clunky work around. I could have used Screens to view the source on my MacBook but this isn’t ideal either.
By the end of the day the iPad’s battery still has 40% charge, which I’m very impressed with, considering WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G were all running.
- Writing is a pleasure
- Surfing is fine
- email is fine
- a much lighter rucksack for the commute
- VNC back to my Mac for image editing
- VNC for image uploads
- View source for SEO / debugging
- App switching not so great
Day 2 - Regrets
Full of gusto and hope I set off again to work away from home. The morning’s work doesn’t start well with my iPad refusing to maintain a WiFi connection and 3G signal being non existent in the basement where I’m working. Eventually I get to a working state with the WiFi and hit another set of issues. Graphic problems, again Screens really isn’t a viable solution to getting any work done with images. Without being able to upload images from the iPad to websites any iPad image editors are redundant for web development work.
I fill the morning with writing HTML and updating content, while trying to avoid doing anything with images. The novelty of only using the iPad has now turned a bit sour.
Day 3 - The Laptop
onclick into a tap interface. Mailchimp is a MacBook job really, to try otherwise is a waste of time. I could have spent the time running it through screens but what’s the point? I’ll just take the laptop and be a bit quicker.
Day 4 - Traveling
This is where the iPad really comes into its own. Client meetings and writing proposals mean it was a great day to use the iPad. Clients love to use the iPad, especially when presenting a website and discussing changes. The ability to pass the device around make it a much more tactile and real experience.
I also appreciate using the iPad when writing proposals, it’s one of my least favourite jobs. Not having anything but the Pages document that I’m working on makes it easier to focus, concentrate and get the job done.
Lastly I spent some time integrating sitemap generation and tweaking the CSS on this site. All of that was through iSSH on the remote server and using VIM, again a great experience.
Both Mark O’Connor and Andy Ihnatko use the iPad as a laptop replacement. They are doing different jobs to me, Mark O’Connor is coding all day, Andy Ihnatko is a journalist, and I’m guessing he spends most of the time writing. Both writing and coding are a pleasure to do on the iPad. For me however, my days aren’t simply reading, writing or coding. Image editing and using webapps with iPad unfriendly interfaces and mobile development are 3 things that I do more of then I’d previously thought. Andy Ihnatko however insists that the third generation iPad’s retina screen makes the iPad a laptop killer.
Shawn Blanc says “My MacBook Air is now my 'desktop' and my iPad is now my 'laptop'.” That’s probably closer to reality for me at the moment.