After upgrading from my older Mac Pro to a crazy powerful new 27" iMac, it was time to look at the rest of my computing workflow and see where I could streamline. After moving from the Mac Pro, I was still using a Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, and Phone. This was a lot of devices to manage and there were a lot of overlaps between them all. I decided to go the route of three devices total. One desktop computer, one tablet, and a phone. Having used and preferred laptops since I can remember there being good laptops, this was a pretty big step.
For the desktop, since it would be the work horse, I went with a maxed out 27" late 2013 iMac. At the time of this decision I was using a first generation iPad mini. I knew I would need to upgrade this since it would ultimately be replacing my maxed out 11" MacBook Air and would be my mobile computer going forward. For this job I enlisted the iPad Air with WiFi and 32GB of storage. The only reason I didn’t go with the 4G version is because I already have a 4G hotspot that I like and can be shared with multiple devices so there was no need to duplicate functions. And finally, my phone remained the same 32GB iPhone 5S.
Hardware Additions to the iPad Air
- Logitech K811 Bluetooth Keyboard (for when you need a “real” keyboard)
- Apple Lightning SD Card Reader (for importing photos)
- Red Apple Smart Cover (protects the screen and is a nice built in stand for watching video or when using the Logitech keyboard)
- Verizon MiFi 4G hotspot (all remote data needs)
Key Pieces of Software
- Evernote. I keep everything in evernote and having it sync across all three devices is fantastic.
- Dropbox. This is basically my “filesystem” since there isn’t a conventional one on iOS.
- Penultimate. An advantage of using an iPad over a MacBook is the ability to input handwriting.
- Writeroom. A great text editor. This is where I capture most of my text, including this blog post.
- iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote). Great for interfacing with documents from my desktop.
- Games. More than I can list. A lot more than you might have on OS X. This could be bad or good. 🙂
- Video Chat (FaceTime, Skype). Great for video chatting with any other client.
- Remotix. Really awesome Remote Desktop client. For those times when you absolutely need to do something on a Desktop, or you simply need to access something on your Desktop.
- Screens. Another really good Remote Desktop client. This has the ability to traverse firewalls and lets you access from anywhere you have a network connection.
- Prompt. Really really good ssh command line tool.
- Codeanywhere. Could be a really good solution for coding on the go for quick fixes.
There are a ton of other great iOS apps that I use both on the iPhone and the iPad, but I tried to just focus on some of the ones that make the experience of using an iPad in place of a MacBook just as good, if not better.
This new setup I have has been going strong for about 6 weeks. Not once have I thought I made a mistake. The iPad Air has been the iPad I have always wanted. Great size and weight, and tons of power. I think anyone that may be in a similar position as me, wondering if this can work for them, should give it a shot! It will take some getting used to, and maybe a little research to figure out how you access certain thing. If I tried to do this even a year ago, I think this post would be ending differently, but I think you will find iOS has matured quite a lot over the last couple years and it is quite capable. Best of all, it will only continue to get better and more advanced!