Hey iMore readers and friends! As part of my ongoing quest to explore working on the iPad Pro, I'm looking into starting a column interviewing folks who do a significant part of their job using an iPad. This doesn't mean the iPad is your only method for work — just that you're using it actively as part of your job.
YO TWITTER: Do you use your iPad in your pro work life and want to talk about it? I want to hear about it. serenity [at] imore [dot] com.YO TWITTER: Do you use your iPad in your pro work life and want to talk about it? I want to hear about it. serenity [at] imore [dot] com.— Serenity Caldwell (@settern) February 3, 2017February 3, 2017
And to give you a starting point, I'm going to interview myself!
Hi! Glad to be here. This is a little strange, but I'm going to just go with it.
I'm grateful for that! We'll kick this off with an easy question: How long have you been using your iPad for work?
My situation is a bit odder than most in that I've been reviewing iPad apps and accessories since the very beginning (2010), which technically counts as work — but I really started using the iPad for my day-to-day life with the release of the iPad Pro.
What changed with the iPad Pro?
Honestly, the Apple Pencil (opens in new tab) and Smart Connector made the biggest difference, but iOS 9 and the Workflow app (opens in new tab) went a long way to bridge the gap between the iPad being unusable for things like research and writing to a legitimate tool.
What's so great about the Smart Connector versus a Bluetooth keyboard?
The Smart Connector just made writing easy on my iPad: I found Bluetooth keyboards too fussy or battery-intensive to get much of any work done beforehand; I'd constantly be worrying about running out of juice on either device, or that the key response rate was too slow. The Smart Connector keyboards I've used (both the Smart Keyboard (opens in new tab) and Logitech Create (opens in new tab) are fast, first and foremost, but they're also reliable. As long as my iPad has battery life, I know I'll be able to write on a physical keyboard.
It's why I'm no longer interested in testing Bluetooth keyboards — they just don't respond the same way as Smart Connector models, and I hate the battery life stress. I'll probably never buy a Bluetooth keyboard again.
What about the Pencil? How did that change your working environment?
God, in every way. You wouldn't think so, given that most of my work is about and on computers, but I used to take a ton of handwritten notes and doodle when thinking up article ideas — and waste oh-so-many Post-It notes in the process. My iMac's screen used to be littered with them.
The fact is, I've always used drawing as a way to let my thoughts coalesce, and the iPad lets me do it in a medium that's also directly relatable to whatever it is I'm working on. A perfect example was this week's review of the drawing app Linea: I make a point of including doodles and writing in almost every drawing app I review, but as I was making my notes (in Linea) about how much I liked the app, I didn't feel like these scratch-doodles would adequately represent why I preferred it so much more than Paper or Notes.
My thought process then led to "Well, I could make an animated gif of my sketching process, and show how easy it is to select colors and the like…" which led to me thinking about how many gifs I could include before the page would explode — finally, I decided to just live-draw the whole review.
None of that would be possible without the Pencil — I certainly couldn't draw or handwrite as fast in an art app with a traditional stylus or my finger.
Outside of specifically drawing-related activities, I use the Pencil constantly for spot-correcting photos I want to put up on the iMore website, or cropping images; it's a million times better (and faster) than pulling my Wacom tablet out of storage and connecting it to my Mac to do the same thing.
Do you want to be able to do all your work on your iPad going forward?
I did this for about nine months during my iPad Pro experiment, and while it's doable, no! I don't. I really like my MacBook Pro's ultimate multitasking ability, and the "managing" part of my managing editor position at iMore is still a million times faster on my Mac than an iPad. That said, I do a lot more on the iPad now than I ever thought I'd do; forcing myself to work exclusively on the iPad showed me exactly what made more sense to do on a tablet than a Mac.
I couldn't imagine my working life without my iPad these days — when I don't use it for awhile, it feels like a tool in my toolbox is missing.
Do you use your iPad at all for personal/fun activities?
I used to sketch on it constantly. I stopped for awhile because it just felt like the world got too busy and it was too much of a hassle to do anything, but I've started doodling again on my own time and it's incredibly cathartic. I also use it as a songbook to very poorly play music on my ukulele. (Shout out to Ultimate Guitar Tabs (opens in new tab), which offers thousands of tabs to learn from and even lets you transpose chords if you never want to play an E on the ukulele.)
Thanks, Serenity! This was surprisingly fun to do.
I agree, self! It's always a little odd to talk to yourself in public, but I think we did this well. Self-five.
So do you use an iPad for work?
Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.
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