Techuisite Digest

Techuisite Digest
M4 iPad Pro with ESR accessories.

06.05.2024: iPad Pro-only again, ditching the Magic Keyboard, and WWDC 2024

The M4 iPad Pro

So, I did it again. I decided to move back from the Mac to the iPad-only life. Not only has my back and forth on Threads pushed me to want to prove that using an iPad Pro as a main computer (or laptop replacement) is possible, but all of the negative rhetoric surrounding the iPad reminded me how much I love this platform.

The iPad is a different beast. I hate the comparisons that continue to happen by tech pundits who prefer to use traditional computers. I know some have had experience using the iPad in the past, but I feel like it is trendy now to hate on the iPad, so many are continuing the same bad tropes claiming that the iPad isn't useful for professionals.

I beg to differ and plan to prove that claim wrong. You may be arguing, what is a professional? I also struggle to find what the true definition of this term is. Many who make YouTube videos or create podcasts, I assume, claim that they are professionals, but many forget that professional can be a broad term.

Even some podcasters who are software developers fall into this professional camp, but even if we include some of these professions that many struggle to find a place for the iPad, we are still ignoring a wide variety of users who can see the iPad as a great computer for them.

I have been playing around with Swift Playgrounds and ChatGPT (I still suck at coding and this is a great asset to play around) and though it isn't a full dev stack of tools that many need to do their job, coding on an iPad is possible and very fun. I also feel like sometimes the requirement of extra tools and accessories is seen as a burden to those who create content, for instance needing more equipment for podcasting.

But these same users have a ton of extra tools and gadgets that they continue to add to their setup like buttons you can press with your foot, a Stream Deck, interfaces to plug in specific microphones, and other tools that are sometimes not necessary to just record audio for a podcast.

There is a constant double standard that is applied to the iPad that I continue to not understand from people who consider themselves lovers and advocates for technology. I know saying all this is not new for me, but I am repeating myself again to explain why I have decided to jump back on the iPad-only train to, as many would say, put my money where my mouth is.

I love the M3 MacBook Pro. The Space Black color was the biggest reason I decided to finally overcome my Pro Computer Guilt and buy myself the powerful computer I felt I didn't deserve. It is a great computer, and hopefully, one day I will have the funds to own both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro. For now, I am going back to the computer I prefer and that is a Pro tablet computer.

Ditching the Magic Keyboard

iPad Pro in Magic Keyboard.

I have been using Threads a lot recently and currently follow user @arv.inke. He had a post a few days back advocating using the iPad without a Magic Keyboard but embracing the iPad for what it is first, a tablet. Another user, @chipcolandreo, also uses his iPad that way and even uses Stage Manager without a cursor or keyboard which has inspired me to do the same.

I originally bought the White Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, and though I love the new version and think it is one of Apple’s best accessories you can get, I am instead going to not use it for a while and instead just use the iPad Pro as a tablet and use a pencil for additional inputs when needed.

For the iPad Pro, I have the Denim-colored Smart Folio and got a couple of ESR accessories that I plan to try out. The first accessory is the Magnetic Matte Screen Protector that has a paper-like feel to it, and the other accessory is their version of the Apple Pencil stylus. The screen protector so far is great, and though the pencil feels a little cheap, for $100 less than the Pencil Pro it isn't bad at all.

I will provide more thoughts on these accessories later, but for now, I am really loving this iPad Pro. Like I mentioned earlier, I was playing with some Swift UI in Swift Playgrounds last night without a keyboard, just the tablet in my lap in bed, and was having a great time. The on-device digital keyboard is just fine, and maneuvering throughout iPadOS with just my finger is really intuitive.

The iPad is a touch-first device, so none of these revelations are new or groundbreaking. But I think this is part of the reason many have fallen into the trap of what the iPad truly is. It is first and foremost a tablet, and when I realized how great interacting with the iPad with a cursor was, I decided that I wanted to use it mostly that way, forgetting what made it so great in the beginning.

Using a keyboard and trackpad as an option for the iPad is great, and I am glad it is there if I need it. Just like if you don't want Stage Manager it is there if you want it, but you don't have to use it. But going forward I want to embrace the iPad as a tablet first and my finger as its true input before anything else. This approach I hope will give me a better experience with iPadOS and the iPad as a whole.

WWDC 2024

With all my iPad talk out of the way, how about some more? Besides some hopefully new and exciting iPadOS features, it sounds like AI is going to be the true star of the show this year. I don't know how I truly feel about it since it seems like this is something Apple has to do with all the hype going on everywhere else.

I just hope the AI is centered around more cool features instead of it being an add-on to things. I want Siri to get better, and for more tools in photos that might use some cool AI technology, but just saying Gemini or ChatGPT is going to be used to make Siri search better sounds very lackluster.

Besides the hype surrounding WWDC each year, I don't really have a wishlist. I would like some improvements in iPadOS, like better background processes and maybe more tools for software development, but whatever Apple brings I am sure it will be cool. I think adding more AI tools to Shortcuts would also be a great addition, taking the onus off of app developers and giving users more abilities to use apps and the OS more powerfully.

Tempted as I may be, I am going to try and avoid putting the beta on my iPad Pro, but depending on how buggy and feature-filled the new iPadOS 18 might be, I may just go for it. Either way, I am excited to see what Apple announces and brace for all the hate from the Apple pundits when iPadOS still isn't good enough for all the so-called professionals.

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Jamie Larson