The 12.9-inch iPad Pro as Everyday Carry

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I use my iPad Pro a lot when I’m home. It’s a fantastic media player for the house and it makes it a breeze to edit photos in Lightroom on a gigantic screen. But after having given it some thought, the number of times I actually use my iPad Pro and keyboard at work can be counted on one hand. It’s my go-to device for creating diagrams and I like writing on it because it has Ulysses, but these are conveniences afforded by the iPad — not tasks that require the tablet specifically.

In the meantime, the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard add an extra 2.3 pounds of weight to my daily carry. This isn’t an issue when I carry a backpack around, but I can definitely feel the difference when I carry a messenger bag (which I prefer to do).

I’ve tried leaving the iPad Pro at home for a few days this past week, and frankly, I can get along just fine without it. My iPhone 6S Plus is big enough that I can pump out a 700-word article on it without too much discomfort. But I also feel that not bringing the iPad Pro around flies in the face of what I bought it for. It’s supposed to be a larger take-everywhere device that trades weight for a lot more comfort during longer work sessions.

So I’m trying a little experiment for a while. I’m not quite ready to give up my own dream of always having the iPad with me. So instead of going cold turkey and only bringing the iPad Pro when I need it, I’ll leave the Smart Keyboard at home unless I know I want to write for an hour or two. For smaller stints and quick articles, the software keyboard can functions well for me.

I thought about getting a Smart Cover for using the iPad Pro, but I think I’ll just bring my old AviiQ laptop stand, which does a great job of propping the iPad Pro up at a comfortable typing angle. It actually weighs as much as the Smart Cover (around 0.35 lbs.) and I just can’t bring myself to justify a $90 cover to prop the iPad Pro up at different angles. I don’t regret buying it, but the Smart Keyboard was already a tough sell for me at $230 CAD.

Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to sell my own Smart Keyboard soon, but I do want to try and re-think my everyday carry to centre around what I actually do. Right now it includes a lot of accessories, like the Smart Keyboard, that help to support what I might do. I’d like to realign my mobile setup to match what I actually do from week to week.

I still use iOS often, but I’m realizing that I don’t want to use it for that long while sitting at a desk. My MacBook Pro and 24″ monitor are just so much more comfortable for the same tasks over a long period of time. I also still enjoy using the Mac, and get a lot of pleasure out of the full suite of controls for photos and video.

The sweet spot for my iOS usage right now seems to fall a round 15-30 minutes at a time, and for cases like that, I think the software keyboard might do the trick. If that’s the case, I can make some decent weight savings by just bringing the iPad Pro around with me (with or without an extra stand), and leaving the hardware keyboard until I really need it. It definitely isn’t as ergonomically friendly, but if the work sessions are shorter, it might work out better.

I’ll post an update in a few weeks.

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2 thoughts on “The 12.9-inch iPad Pro as Everyday Carry”

  1. The argument for carrying the iPad Pro varies with usage. I don’t do long form writing so I’m less concerned about the keyboard. I’m an application scientist. The large iPad is great for note taking with the Pencil. I use Concepts. In addition to scribbling notes it has lots of tools for drawing shapes. I find it really useful to photograph samples or instrumentation then use airdrop to add that to the iPad.

    1. Agreed with the comments so far: the iPad with Pencil really is kickass if you do a lot of drawing or prefer handwritten notes; for me the large size is a bit too big to really use for convenient note-taking, so I prefer to work with a keyboard. I’m liking the Smart Keyboard less recently because of the shallow key travel and what is seeming like inconsistent keystroke registration by iOS.

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