It’s fair to say, there’s momentum behind the shift from desktops to mobile devices, and using a tablet as a ‘main computer’. Most people aren’t professionals, they want simplicity and ease of use. Let’s face it, what do most of us need? We don’t need a desktop to check our email, social media and surf the web.
More recently, people have been talking about iOS devices for ‘serious’ productivity. As a person who uses macs, PCs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, who uses computers to write, and is interested in technology, it’s an intriguing debate. I have a natural bias towards great design and simplicity, and, just as importantly, solutions that provide decent value for money. The whole point about modern industrial design, manufacturing and consumer products, as I see it, is the democratisation of good design. This means building excellent user experience and selling it to the mass market at an affordable price. The genius lies not only in the production of great consumer devices but the innovation of selling them at a reasonable price.
There’s a certain joy in using elegant solutions to problems, and for basic tasks iOS on the iPad is just that. But, having owned two 9.7 inch iPads, the second one a ‘Pro’, I came to the conclusion that, (1) I didn’t enjoy typing on glass, and (2) switching between multiple apps was frustrating. So, I bought a Zagg Rugged Keyboard, which was great, at first, although it increased the weight of the setup, making it about the same as a light notebook. But—the Bluetooth keyboard was unreliable. Much of the time it worked fine, but, for some unknown reason, it suffered from regular disconnection, and intermittent lag. Obviously, you want a keyboard to work without fuss, and not worry about glitchy Bluetooth connectivity, or weird keyboard lag.
I want a keyboard that I can use on my knee—the classic clamshell form factor works perfectly for this, providing a compact, stable platform. And then it hit me… All the pain I’ve been experiencing with iOS to do relatively straight forward things, plus the lack of an integrated keyboard… why not use a lightweight notebook and be done with the frustration.
After looking at the notebooks currently available I ended up buying a Windows 10 ‘ultrabook’ instead of a MacBook or MacBook Pro. Microsoft Word runs more smoothly on Windows and the premium Apple charges for extra memory and storage is shocking.
Windows again… Yes, it’s weird working in Windows after so many years being predominately on a Mac, but in no time at all I was enjoying great productivity without having to consciously think about anything—those annoying workarounds, and unreliable keyboards—plus I have a larger screen. Jackpot.
So, while I know that Apple are refining the iPad and it’s a brilliant device for web browsing and consuming media—productivity-wise it’s not for me. Yes, you can—absolutely—be productive on iOS, on an iPhone even (yes, really) but, for me, it’s by no means what I would call a sensible ‘first choice’ for writing.