I can’t do real work on an iPad


There seems to be a trend at the moment for some tech writers to explain why the iPad, and in particular the iPad Pro, is perfectly adequate as your main computer. It is not, at least not for me.

My needs for a computer are relatively normal, but with some niche requirements for my freelance writing. It can be broken down into the following areas-

Saving screenshots and photos as TIFF (CMYK) files

Organising the images in folders and naming them in very specific ways

Uploading the project to a freelance server

Writing on templates which always require word counts that are specific to each section i.e. 200 characters, 30 characters for title and so on

Jumping between multiple web pages and apps over and over again

As you can see, the above is not too complex, but I have tried to do freelance work on an iPad and it is painful. The fact of the matter is that it is simply not designed for work like this and lends itself to singular tasks such as creating a piece of art or a text document.

I can, in theory, do all of the above, but try doing it and then check the time differences between an iPad and a real computer. It would simply not be worth the effort.

And this is where my problem with the iPad sits. If I need a computer to do work that takes up much of my time, what would an iPad do for me that my iPhone 7 doesn’t? Besides just being a more pleasant experience for tasks such as web browsing, it feels like an expensive extravagance that sits in between the devices I really do need.

I am not saying that the iPad isn’t incredibly useful for some people, I have no doubt it is, but I am saying that real computers still completely own the space they sit in and will continue to do so for some time.

I have said it for years and I am more certain than ever that the tablet does not have the future many expected when it was the new kid on the block.

5 thoughts on “I can’t do real work on an iPad

  1. I prefer reading articles and documents on my iPad, especially now that writing on them is so easy. The document then syncs back with my Mac seamlessly. But if I had to pick, I keep my computer, without question. Better battery life, greater functionality, more control – no contest for me.

  2. It’s certainly better at some things, art and music and games that leverage the touchability.

    It does bring up the question, is Microsoft’s bet on one OS for both “lean forward” and “lean back” activities the right one for the long run?

    In general, the new Windows has felt very wonky to me, but I may be unduly influenced by early misses that make me reluctant to give it another try. Overall, apps designed for a desktop feel better on desktops and apps designed for a tablet feel better on tablets, and so the OSX/iOS split made sense. And maybe with cloud integration and many people’s ability to afford two (well, three, come to think of it) computers, that will continue to be the path.

  3. I guess it all depends on what ones needs are. I find that taking my Android Yoga Book from class to class, with its decent battery life and portability, is far more comfortable than lugging my heavy laptop around, which can only get me through teaching two classes at max before I need to plug it in again. I zip through a variety of apps and online teaching tools to get the job done, and I haven’t even seriously begun to use the pen yet. I love it for Netflix, music and ebooks once at home and in bed. It’s definitely not perfect, and something like a Macbook Air, Pro or some kind of Ultra Book I’m sure would serve me better… but I have got to live within my means for now, and this only cost me 450€! (I could have probably made do with something even cheaper… but I kinda liked the cool factor on this one too – lol!!)

  4. Following my earlier comment (whatsapp maybe) I did end up moving to a chromebook when I had finally had enough of working on the iPad. It gives you a great battery life, and while the OS is still restricted, or offers way more than what iOS does. Also, a lot cheaper.

    1. Always the offline aspect scares me with those. I want something that works well on the subway.
      (Also, looks like CROSH is pretty limited, not like a full terminal I could do much hacking / coding with – looks like the recommendation there is to put Ubuntu on it)

      But, this is not the general use case for these things 😀 Interesting how it’s tablets vs chromebooks for the successor to all those crappy but lovely “netbooks” that were all the rage for a while

      Oh jeez…. I just remembered a computer I ADORED but haven’t thought of for years – http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1844478,00.asp – netbook size, ran windows pretty solidly, stylus based touchscreen for art…. awesome little thing!

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