Can an iPad Pro with iOS 11 replace a laptop for small business CEOs. I am using one for 2 weeks to find out. Today starts day 3, and so far, I am pleased. Most of my work is easy to perform on this device, but there are a couple of things that still just don’t work. This is not a bad thing for my specific use case though. I’ll explain.
Mondays are heavy meeting days for me. I spent a lot of the day using the Pencil and taking notes. This isn’t really a new use for me since I’ve been using my iPad this way for several months. I spent the rest of Monday going back through my notes and sending memos to my team based on what we talked about. There are no limitations here, and split screen makes this really convenient.
One more thing to note. I am using the Smart Keyboard not the 10.5 model. Dependign on where you look you will will here very positive or negative opinions. It took me a little while to get used to the smaller size, but the Key travel feels very familiar since my MacBook Pro has a pretty shallow key travel. If you are sued to mechanical keyboards, this will feel very awkward. But, once I got used to it, I find myself typing much faster than I do on my full size keyboard. My fingers don’t have to travel as quickly. I also had to learn how to balance the device on my lap since I split my time working from a standing desk and a couch in my office.
On Tuesday, I spent all morning emailing customers before heading off to an industry trade show. The only problem is that I use Highrise for CRM, and the reponsive UI doesn’t scale well on the 10.5 screen. Sometimes when I would use the arrow keys to move around a text area, the cursor would move, but so would the whole page. It was pretty annoying. I left my iPad behind when I went to the trade show, and it was nice to basically have all my information and user experience on my iPhone. I didn’t feel like I was leaving anting behind. I do really wish Apple would make the pencil work on an iPhone. I am crossing my fingers.
The first real limitation I came across was QuickBooks Online. They will not allow me to export an Excel file from a report. I can export a PDF, but that does not help. Also, if the report renders wider than the screen, scrolling is virtually impossible. I almost pulled out my laptop to quickly get the file before realizing this was an opportunity to delegate. I pulled up Slack and asked my AP/AR clerk to pull the report and send it to me. Then I asked her to send that same report to me each week at the same time. While it is incredibly inconvenient to not be able to access something the moment I need it, being forced to delegate and systemize has the potential to save me time and keep me focused in the end.
To wrap up, here are the things I like so far.
- Portability. My backpack is so light, and I only carry one charging cable.
- The keyboard. I am really getting used to it, and I love the short travel between keys.
- Screenshot mark up. It’s so much faster than trying to describe changes I need to documents and images.
- Drag and drop. This is the thing that made using an iPad too slow to use before iOS 11.
- Being able to comfortably walk around my office with my main device. It’s so light and comfortable to use.
- iOS 11 control center.
And dislikes so far.
- Battery life. I am getting less battery life than I was getting before iOS 11. Granted it’s better than my MacBook Pro, but the MacBook charges faster. Plus, the portability of the iPad makes me not want to have it plugged in constantly like I do with my MacBook. I end up using a 29w charging block to kick it back to 100% during lunch. One more thing to note, if my device is in the 60% range, I feel like it is almost dead. Always be charging.
- QuickBooks Online. This is not an Apple or iPad thing. They are just so slow to make updates and their native apps are so limited. Just serve me a desktop experience, and I will be happy!
- Searching through handwritten notes in Apple Notes. It’s ok, but they still have some work to do. I am still using Nebo to hand write notes and then export the text to Notes.
That’s it for now. I am going to keep coming with periodic updates before doing a full write up at the end. Also, if you are in the facilities maintenance industry, I will have a separate review up over on my company blog, http://envoyfm.com/blog about the iPad Pro as a main device for Facilities Maintenance Managers.
Also published on Medium.