Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It's Glorious: The iPad Pro 12.9"

Apple’s nickel and diming costs a quarter now. - Peter van Broekhoven
When the Modbook came out in 2008 I looked on enviously at the tablet I wanted, but this year's iPad Pro 12.9" is so much better. It's big, I mean BIG, but also way lighter than one would expect. I bought my iPad without the Pencil, but after using it for a couple of days, I made an emergency trip to the Apple Store to get a Pencil 2. I had the Pencil on my wishlist, but I couldn't wait until Christmas when there were low odds someone would even buy it for - so I just did it. Now my setup is complete with a cool cheap 3rd party cover (using magnets) and the canopy case with the Apple Keyboard. The setup is so good to work on, but the other thing that is great, is that it's easy to just kick back and read on the iPad without the keyboard around at all. It's usually just leaned up on my kitchen counter without the keyboard all day to take quick looks.
What is it like as a developer trying to use the iPad? Not good, I'm way more efficient using my computer for a bunch of different reasons. The biggest issue is that I'm a massive multi-tasker between - Chrome, Slack, AirMail, Coda, Screens, Prompt, etc. and context switching on the iPad is expensive. Apps frequently get "pushed" out of memory and reset or take way to long to swap to context.
Past that, there are a few things you just can't do. So a decent portion of my mojo is using Screens to connect to my Mac to do Xcode development or other more complicated stuff.
It's when the simple stuff can't be done that's infuriating. I was sent an online tutorial which is a website: a zip file of HTML, CSS, Images. I can get it unzipped, but there is no way to load that on the iPad.
The other challenge I've had is being the technical lead on a team of people. It would be unreasonable that all my problem-solving mojo would go into developing crazy iPad flows rather than tools that can be re-used by the rest of the team. So while I could probably start smacking together Scriptable/Pynthonista/etc workflows to get a lot of stuff done, that won't help anyone else.
I think the reason this is so fun is that there will be very few times in your life you can, as a technologist, experience a technology coming into being and the iPad is one of the those times. So it's fun to work at the edges of the possible.
The next computer iteration I want to happen is where my phone (or maybe even my watch!) is the computer. I get close to my keyboard, trackpad, and screen, and BOOM it all wirelessly connects to my computer core and runs it.