I had to hand in my main laptop to service recently since I have experienced some GPU errors and keys refusing to work as they should. Having given away my 2012 11’ MacBook Air I haven’t had a decent spare device to write fiction ad blogposts on, not to think of light code work in the first place. So I went shopping and since I did not felt comfortable buying a cheapish or used laptop (probably ThinkPad), I went with an 2018ish iPad teamed up with an Apple Pencil, since that would be a device fitting way better into my set-up than a laptop I would stop using when my main laptop would be back in my backpack.

What my spare set-up looks like:

  • iPad 2018 WiFi (32GB)
  • Apple Pencil
  • Anne Pro Black

Pen, Paper and Pad

I’ve had two experiences with iPads before, my first experience with an iPad can be dated back to 2012 when I was still in high school and have bought an used iPad 2g but ended up doing most of the things on my MacBook Air anyways. Earlier this year I’ve bought an iPad Mini for less than a hundred bucks since I thought it may be a good idea to not use my smartphone that much during the day (since I don’t like receiving phone calls, I’m too anxious and introvert for this!) and for what I wanted to do, the iPad Mini was in my sweet spot: as a tumblr & reading machine. However I didn’t ended up using my phone less in the first place and didn’t use the iPad Mini that much.

Anyways, the 2018 iPad is a better bargain on so many levels, since I started to take handwritten notes again, so having them digitalized is a huge plus, the 9.7 inch screen is big enough for viewing all the precious queer shows, movies, and some of the Netflix things I like, I eventually relaced my Wacom graphics tablet with it since its digitizer is more useable and the direct feedback of what one is drawing is way better than drawing on a plastic surface in front of you while having to focus another display to see what you’re actually drawing. Teamed up with my bluetooth mechanical keyboard it’s a decent device for writing and light coding work as well, especially since I perceive it as more distraction free and focussed than working on my Laptop is (which is propably because my preferred ways to procrastinate are limited on here).

What Apps do I use?

  • note taking/bullet journaling
    • GoodNotes 4
  • coding
    • Buffer (it even has vim bindings!)
  • drawing
    • Adobe Photoshop Sketch
    • Linea Sketch
  • password manager
    • MiniKeePass

can it run… git?

If you’re able to read this, it’s able to locally edit markdown files, commit them and push them into my git repository. If you haven’t noticed I use Hugo, a static site generator written in Go in some of my projects, especially on this site, and while I haven’t found a way to live-view changes locally on the iPad, editing markdown pages and pushing them into a git repository works, which is basically everything I wished for.

On a side note: if you’re able to SSH into a development server, live-editing may work using iPads, having your SSH client and vim on one side of the screen, and Safari opening the servers development URL on the other, assuming that the server either runs on the same Network as your iPad, or is accessible online anyways.