Bozhidar Batsov

October 4, 2021

Writing on an iPad

One of the allures of HEY World for me is the promise of easy blogging on the road - e.g. on a iPad or an iPhone. This wasn’t a big concern in the past year due to the pandemic, but now that I’m traveling a bit again it’s certainly a relevant topic for me. 

Of course, using a laptop is the obvious solution for any work one has to do while traveling, but given how powerful modern phones and tablets are, I’m starting to wonder if we’ve really reached the point where one can be productive on a mobile device. After all we’ve got the same M1 chip in both the latest Macs and the iPad Pro. 

I’m far from the thought that I can do any serious programming on a mobile device, but my day job hasn’t involved any programming for quite a while now and I’m certain I can edit documents, chat, write emails and join meetings from an iPad. It’s not without problems, though - multi-tasking on an iPad still sucks, even on iOS 15, and there’s the writing experience itself...

I can’t imagine one can do much writing with the on-screen keyboard, but younger people will probably shock me. Those who know me are familiar with my passion for mechanical keyboards and my profound dislike for most laptop keyboards. And now those seem really great compared to the hardware that I’m currently using… 

I’m writing this article on an old iPad Pro (9.7 inch, first gen, 2016) and I’m using Apple’s official keyboard cover with it. It’s better than no physical keyboard, but it’s pretty bad overall - mostly because the keyboard is tiny and the keys are tiny as well. Still, it gets the job done. Perhaps the situation will be somewhat better with the newer 11 inch iPads, as they are bound to have bigger keyboards. I’m sure the 13 inch models will have a decent keyboard, but they are so big that I can’t imagine using them comfortably in tablet mode, and so heavy that a MacBook Air will probably be lighter than the combination of an iPad and an external keyboard. Not to mention it will have much less battery life.

At any rate - I’ll keep trying to do more work on my iPad for the next couple of weeks before deciding if I wish to push this idea any further. It’s good to have options and we sure live in a time of countless options.