Can the iPad Pro be your only computer as a digital nomad

For many people the iPad is just another device for consuming media. With the iPad Pro Apple is trying, at least in marketing, to change that. But has it evolved enough to be your only computer while traveling and working? Can it be your main companion when your a remote worker or digital nomad?

The features

The iPad Pro isn’t radically different than previous iPads. It’s faster than previous iPads, but the iPhone 7 is also faster than the iPhone 6s.  There is 9.7 inch version and a 12.9 inch. he latter is really big, but after a while it feels better and better.

The biggest changes with the iPad Pro are the addition of the smart keyboard, there were third party solutions before, and the pencil. Depending on your use, both are great additions and it makes the iPad more complete. The keyboard connects flawless thanks to is smart connector and the texture of the keys is very nice. It helps you to be more productive while typing, but the on screen keyboard does the job also pretty good.

iPad Pro

The pencil isn’t a meaningful accessory for everyone, but if your an artist, designer, photographer or if you like handwritten notes than the pencil is a joy to use. It’s pressure sensitivity works seamlessly and there’s not a real delay in usage. With apps like Nebo you can make things like handwritten notes and Nebo can convert these notes into text.

IOS

“Professionals” tend to argue that the iPad Pro can’t be their main computer, because it runs IOS instead of MacOS and many mobile apps don’t have the same features as MacOS apps. It’s true that IOS is less powerfull than MacOS, but it’s also true that many users don’t need the power of a desktop OS. For those users it’s perhaps even better that there are less features. Less features often mean that someting is easier to use. Take Microsoft Word or Excel. The mobile versions don’t have features like macros or pivot tables, but there a lots of people who will never use these features.

iPad Pro apps

IOS has a great variety of apps. Many are aimed at gaming or media consumption. The iPad Pro is great media device and Netflix lets you download items nowadays. So you can Netflix on the go without WiFi!

Besides the media apps there are lots of apps for the iPad Pro that you can use for productivity like Dropbox, Evernote, Simplenote, Trello, ProCreate, Concepts, Skype, Pixelmator, Microsoft Office, Google Works or the productivity apps that are made by Apple. Serif will even bring his praised app Affinity Photo, and most likely Affinity Designer too, to the iPad. They promise to include almost all the desktop features. This will make Affinity Photo probably the most powerfull mobile photo editting app.

Productivity

So there are apps for productivity, but there is a downside. The iPad Pro doesn’t have an option to save files directly to a folder like a PC does. Instead you will depend on apps like Dropbox or iCloud Drive. That’s fine but it doesn’t work when your opening Word from Dropbox without an internet connection. That sucks quite a bit, but luckily you don’t need that connection with the Apple or Google productivity apps. Another option is to take the LTE version of the iPad Pro to ensure that you always have an internet connection.

iPad Pro 9.7

Conclusion

The iPad Pro is a great device for users who uses the computer for browsing, mail, text editing and some photo editing. It will fit their productivity needs in most cases. It’s fast, reliable, easy to carry arround, a great media device and you can use it for work.

If you’re a designer of a programmer it will be a bit of a challenge to use the iPad Pro as you only PC, due to the lack of the right apps. Perhaps that will change for designers with Affinity and Apple will keep improving the iPad, but for now it’s probably a no go.

Pros

  • The iPad is a great media device.
  • It’s fast and reliable.
  • There are many apps.
  • Apps are cheap or free.
  • Easy to carry around.
  • LTE option.
  • Keyboard and pencil.

Cons

  • It misses functionalities without an internet connecting while working between documents in Dropbox and Word.
  • Many apps are missing the full desktop features.
  • No traditional folders for saving files.

By Wim

A techie who likes to do UX and WordPress stuff. Remote worker since 2010.

Sign up for updates and keep ditching the office

The latest apps

Bear

Bear is a note taking app build by a tiny Italian company Shiny Frog and is a new kid on the block. It seems to do everything right from looks to function to syncing. It doesn’t have the same amount of features as some competitors. Bear uses Apple’s CloudKit to do this. This means that you don’t have to create an extra account, because it uses your Apple. It also means that your data is encrypted with Apple’s private keys and that the developers at Shiny Frog don’t have access to your credentials or data

Platforms

iOS, Mac.

Pricing

  • Free with limited features and without syncing.
  • Premium $ 14,99 annually.

Pro

  • Clean and great user interface.
  • Export notes to HTML, DOCX, PDF and more.
  • Low price.

Con

  • Only available on iOS and Mac.

You can read more about bear in our blog.

Todoist

This is an app worth trying. Todoist does a lot of things right as a to do app. You can add notes, attachments, dates and more to a task. It lets you create multiple lists and you can share these lists with other users. The sharing with other users works pretty well in Todoist and perhaps better than with other to do apps. This makes it a bit more of a collaboration tool than competitors.

Todoist has a clear and well designed user interface, but there are some minor flaws. For instance the feature for displaying completed tasks. This is hidden in a menu. Apps like Wunderlist display this feature on the main screen, which makes it easier to use. But Todoist does syncing better and in the end it’s a great app.

Platforms

IOS, Android, PC, Mac, Chrome.

Pricing

  • Free.
  • $ 28.99 / year for the premium plan which adds features like labels and increases the number of people on projects.

Pros

  • Available as an app on all major platforms.
  • Syncing works fast and reliable.
  • Sharing and collaborating works very well.

Cons

  • Some features are a bit hard to find.

Pixelmator

If you want a great app for photo editting, than you must try Pixelmator. It’s great on Mac and probably one of the best photo apps for mobile devices. You can edit photos on numerous ways with filters, color adjustments, cropping, repair tools, layers and more. The iPad, and even iPhone, app is a joy to use when your on the go and it integrates with Apples default photo app. For most people Pixelmator will be the best value for money for photo editting. You will pay a one time fee with no subscription model, making it a bargain compared to Adobe.

Platforms

IOS, Mac.

Pricing

  • IOS $ 4,99.
  • Mac $ 29,99.

Pros

  • For most users this app offers all they need.
  • Cheap.

Cons

  • Only available on IOS and Mac.

Scannable

This app belongs to the Evernote house. Scannable is not unique, but it has a clear purpose for scanning documents and it does that job very well. You can save scanned documents to Evernote or your photo library. The team of Scannable did a great job with the design of the app which lets you use it without having to think about the how. Scannable enables you to have a paperless administration and that’s a nice thing to have.

Platforms

  • IOS, Android.

Pricing

  • Free.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • No more worries about paper receipts.

Cons

Pocket

Pocket is a great app for people who are travelling, but also when you’re not travelling. It enables you to save articles found on the web for later. Even when you’re offline. You just have to click save to pocket in your browser or app and it will be saved. Pocket also lets you add tags to articles to stay organized. It can easily become your digital archive for web content.

Platforms

IOS, Android, PC, Mac.

Pricing

  • Free and that will do it for most people.
  • There is also a premium plan for $ 4,99/month. The premium plan has advance search permanent backup and suggested tags.

Pro

  • You can read articles on the go, even without an internet conncection.
  • Tags to organize content.
  • Easy to use.

Con