Om Malik on the New iPad Mini

Om Malik:

The best way to extract the most out of the smallest iPad is to think of it as a device enhanced by non-keyboard input methods — Scribble with Pencil, snapping photos with the cameras, or using Siri/voice input. The improved “Scribble” allows you to make notes, do quick searches, and even find directions. It is a very addictive way to use the iPad, especially in the smaller size. […]

The more I use the device, the more I realize that most computing has been defined by a singular idea of work and productivity. Mobile devices have and will continue to redefine our work. In the past, most of the computing involved being in the office. Now, non-office tasks have access to computing resources and thus offer an opportunity to make them more productive. Devices like the iPad are about making non-office work a bit more productive. Whether it is doctors, field engineers, or delivery drivers, devices such as the iPad in general and iPad Mini, in particular, could help change the very notion of productivity.

What makes Om’s perspective interesting to me is that he switched to an iPad Pro as his main computer a few years back, and loves it. The iPad Mini isn’t an alternative to those sort of use cases — but as he points out, there are so many things people do with “computers” today that just weren’t imagined even a decade ago.

I’m sort of the anti-Om in this regard. I have a 2018 iPad Pro that I generally keep in my kitchen, connected to a Magic Keyboard. Ever since the Magic Keyboard came out (with trackpad support and good keyboard shortcut support in iPadOS), I’ve found the iPad Pro much more useful for my work. But nowhere near as useful as a Mac. I’m not arguing that a MacBook is better than an iPad for work. I’m just saying MacOS works better for me. Not even close. Getting in the flow on my Mac, I feel 10 times more productive than I ever do on my iPad Pro. But the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard is good enough that I now suspect it leads me to punt around in the kitchen drinking coffee much longer than I should at the start of my workdays. I like an iPad for reading the news at the start of the day, but I might be better served with a more limited iPad Mini than a significantly more useful iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard, just because it’d push me to get to my office and sit my ass in front of my real work machine.

Thursday, 23 September 2021