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Is the iPad a laptop?

ipad with leaf

Why did I switched as a main machine to my iPad

I switched since almost a year to the iPad as a main machine, this was due to the fact that I already had it, and I found myself using it way much more than my laptop, and I decided to invest some money in a keyboard and call it my main machine from that moment on.

What I discovered is that, for certain workload, it was actually helping me to focus, thanks to the different way of thinking about computing that the iPad has.

The first one, more obvious is the different way of multi tasking. This comes in handy when you need to have long moments of concentration doing just one thing.

The second one, is that usually apps, or websites, on the iPad are way less complicated and more immersive. An example of the app that I’m using to write this blogpost, Bear, on the iPad the whole screen is immerse in the editor mode, in the MacBook you need to configure it like that.

Also battery life is way better then normal laptops for a price that for the base model (which is ok for most use) is just unbeatable, although at the time of the writing of this blogpost, my personal preference is on the Air.

Other things that I learned maybe too late on using the iPad are:

  • never use the app from youtube, always use the website, on how I’m using it it’s just a way better experience
  • use shortcuts [as in buttons from the app Shortcuts] as much as possible, they actually makes you save a lot of time and lets you get concentrated again
  • mostly keep your iPad in do not disturb [you should do the same during your focus hours with your laptop too]

Why I found out that I still need a laptop, and which laptop I choose

tl;dr mostly because I’m a developer

The main problems that I found with the iPad, that pushed me to actually buy a laptop are mainly those

Weird support of external monitors

Sometimes you want to be focused on one things, sometimes you really need to have multiple things going on at the same time, you can mostly do it with the split screen but for example: reading something while writing with the pencil on notes. This interaction is awful, you can solve it with 2 iPads or with some other ways to read stuff (maybe reading from your phone). If you have a laptop you can actually do both (you can’t write with a pen on most laptop tho)

Safari

It’s not that much of a problem now, but Safari is slowly deciding to implement less and less APIs, this hinder a lot the possibility of websites to express themselves in the most complete ways that they are envisioned. Also support for newer video technology is coming later than on chrome and Firefox.

The camera positioning

Seriously, the iPad would be amazing for video calling if the camera would be on the long side and not on the short side, that is so bad that makes it almost unusable

Development environment

The most important part for me is the development environment, most of the ways of developing with an iPad requires cloud editors with machines attached to it and basically you’re at the mercy of your internet connection. A laptop doesn’t have those problems

Which laptop I chose

I was uncertain between the new m1 MacBook air and the Dell XPS 13, long time my favourite laptop. But because of 2 main reasons I choose the MacBook air:

  • Battery life
  • Amazing integrated apps for productivity and seamless connection with the iPad and iPhone

Conclusions

In the end computers are tools that are making our life easier, we should think about it as such and not taking factions. I think I will mostly still use the iPad in my day to day, but having a laptop for