The iPad as a Supporting Device


iPad pairing with my Bluetooth Keyboard

Ever since I bought the iPad Mini and experienced using it day to day, I always meant to write about how the iPad as my solitary device would not be the perfect solution for me. While it is cleverly convenient and the applications you can get on it, provided you have the money, can certainly fulfill most people's needs — the iPad, size not withstanding, does not cut it as someone's only machine.

My MacBook Pro is the only other machine I have to use, and while it's flawed, it works for my purposes. There are certain expectations from using the MacBook which don't translate to the iPad. Simple things like being able to have multiple apps side by side as I work, control directory structure (where things go), and hit buttons without having to touch them with a fingertip so I'm not moving from a horizontal surface to a vertical one are just some of its shortcomings.

I'm sure plenty of people find it perfectly easy to cope by only computing on their iPads but of course it all depends on our habits, what we have at hand to use, as well as what we're used to. Those that mainly use their laptops as a device to surf the web, to write, or even to game would see the iPad as suitable.

But wait, surely you're missing other groups?

I'm keeping my focus narrow, but you're right. For developers, perhaps the iPad would be suitable given the 'coding' apps that are available on the market that easily syntax highlight and provide Dropbox syncing. However this is largely only true if they also have another computer which they can remotely access in order to do what the iPad cannot.

iPad Mini Box

I'm a Jekyll user

This, in part, is my problem — that most of the time I do not have another computer which I can remotely access, and it is the biggest problem I have merely carrying my iPad when I leave the house. The iPad as far as I'm aware is unable to compile and/or install or run languages like ruby let alone ruby gems like jekyll — which is probably even the only instance where I compile much of anything in my spare time, but crucial to what I want done.

As much time as I spend outside the house, it sometime aggravating to not be able to do much of anything while away from my laptop. It strikes me that so many of these people that think Jekyll is great either have lightweight computers to carry around or have a machine sitting at home or work they can simply and easily ssh into to compile the files they have synced already. Or perhaps they simply have more patience than I.

Until I have the freedom to remotely access my files and do what I need want to do or another solution is found for this jekyll problem, the iPad is simply not the solution for me and doesn't fit with how I work. Perhaps it is for you though.