Using an iPad Pro 2020

By this point you all will have seen a lot of content about the iPad Pro 2020. So if you‘re not bored yet let me give you my take on the whole thing.

#1 Device and Accessoires

I bought the 11“ Version with 256GB of storage with no LTE. Before this iPad I owned many others, see more in the next paragraph for this.

In addition to the iPad I bought the Smart Folio as I wanted to be able to have the iPad stand on its own and not hold it in my hand all the time. This is particularly useful when watching a movies, videos or just reading slides or other content while taking notes or using the iPad with the Sidecar feature as a second screen for my MacBook from work.

As my wife is awesome she also gifted my the Keyboard Folio with the German keyboard layout. This has become my main keyboard for the iPad since then as I am not a huge fan of the virtual keyboard and typing on the screen for E-Mails or texts.

In terms of accessories I also got a USB-C SD Card Reader from Anker, a Gigabit Ethernet adapter and the Apple USB-C to HDMI Adapter with USB-A Port. To be fair some of those adapters are shared with other devices such as our family phones and others.

#2 History

There were a lot of iPads in my life and other tries of mobile computing solutions before them.

It started with an Asus EEE-PC 401G which to this day I consider one of the better computers I owned (based on the time it came out, the price and the markt I was in). I wanted to have something very portable which didn‘t need a lot of power as I had Desktop PCs or Laptops at home.

My first iPad was the iPad 2. It had a camera which was a requirement for taking basic pictures of documents or having a video chat. In addition it had a whole lot of storage space and was just a good device. The first iOS Version the iPad shipped with were well optimized for the device and it was a joy to use.

After some time I switched to the iPad Air (1st gen). It was the first iPad I really used as my main mobile computer. It was set up in a way where I could remote into my laptop at home if needed but also had enough applications to be used on its own. The battery life was amazing and the thing just lasted forever or at least it felt like that.

When the first iPad Pro with 12,9“ display came out I thought „This is made for me“ but the price was a bit much. Luckily I got it as a gift together with the keyboard cover and an Apple Pencil. I used the iPad Pro with 128GB of Storage for around 4,5 years and loved it all the time. It only go better with each software update and other new software that came. It completely replaced my private laptop. It went to the point in time where the battery on my private MacBook Pro broke and I didn’t find out until a few months later.

#3 Using the new iPad Pro

But now lets come to the new iPad Pro. I really like it, although it is not such a large jump from the old iPad Pro as the jump was from iPad Air to iPad Pro.

The high refresh rate display makes everything seems smooth and the whole operating system is just fast. As are all the apps that I most often use (I will mention more later).

It runs day in and day out and I really have no use for anything else anymore for my private needs. The cameras are very good and useful to have. I wouldn‘t take „professionell“ pictures with those but just for scanning documents or taking a snapshot they are completely enough.

The storage is slowly filling up, I import photos from our camera into the iPad to upload them to our Synology NAS and Microsoft OneDrive. My wife and I stream videos on the iPad, watch photos and occasionally edit them as well.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation we can‘t use it on the go as much but I hope this is yet to come.

I have yet to find a task that the iPad can‘t handle. I use it also docked to an external monitor via HDMI and it works like a charm with the integrated USB Hub of the monitor.

#4 Software

iPad OS 13.4 is just good. The mouse support is really nice when using the iPad docked and in general it just runs smooth.

My main application that I use on the iPad is Safari. It enables me to access nearly everything that I need. From this blogging side to OneDrive and a multitude of services.

Other Software that I use include:

  • Google Photos for synchronization of photos from my phone (I have a Pixel 3)
  • Youtube
  • Prime Video
  • Notes
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • A whole bunch of Synology Apps

As a last remark I must say, that the Files app is just not good at all. I needs so many features and fixes that I hope that Apple is pushing it further with iPad OS 14 or earlier.

#5 Software ideas

Currently I have a few ideas what the iPad Pro could be used for in terms of new functions and software that I could write myself. Unfortunately you can‘t create new apps on the iPad itself and you need therefore to have a Mac with an Apple Developer license.

I hope that Apple fixes this and enables us to build applications in Swift natively on the iPad.

#6 Work

Could the iPad replace my work laptop? No.

For my work I need to many external tools and to much integration with CLIs and other developer tools.

Do I believe that there are people who can use the iPad as their main work device? Yes.

When your job can be mostly done with modern webpages or does not require specific software I think you should consider trying any iPad as your main work device.

#7 Next steps

For now I am thinking of getting the new Apple Magic Keyboard with the integrated Trackpad. It has good reviews and seems like a good idea.

I wouldn‘t bother to use it mobile much but mostly on a desk to type on. For mobile use I would still consider using the Folio cover or the Folio keyboard as they are more integrated and frankly not that heavy.

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