Accidental iPad Experiment

Sometimes you go out to try something new. Other times you're backed into a corner to adapt to a changing situation. A couple of months ago my MBP died. I didnt' panic1 about not having a computer because I still had my iPad and my work MBP. My iPad was set up to do about 90% of what I could do on my MBP. The only thing major item was missing were some of the extensions I use for my photo editing in Lightroom. That was easily fixed by exporting my photo catalog to an external drive and connect it to my work MBP when I needed to edit photos.

Fast forward to last Friday when I lost my iPad. 2

Now I knew I needed to do something. As nice as it was to have my work MBP as a backup, I didn't want to cross a boundary where my personal data was on a computer that I really didn't own. 3 As I weighed my options5 on what I was going to do, I examined what I really needed over the next year:

  • Something that could keep me up to date on tasks, email, calendar, etc.
  • Something I could capture notes and ideas.
  • Something to watch my favorite shows and content.
  • Something to write with.

While a new MBP could do all of this, I knew an iPad could too. The math in my head also worked out too... I can 90% of the tasks I need to do with only 50% of the investment. So going with a new iPad was a no brainer at this point.

My final choice was a 128GB cellular iPad Pro 9.7". This was a near replacement to my previous iPad.

Setup Changes

I knew if this was going to be my primary computer, I'd need to set things up a little differently from my previous iPad. Going forward my screens were going to be arranged in Mullet order.6

Some of the key changes I made were:

  • Email: While I will use my iPad for home and work, it means I wanted stronger segregation of those two worlds as much as possible. So going forward I'll have to use separate mail apps for home vs work.
    • Outlook for iOS: I can use this for my work mail and calendar events. I like this option because it doesn't require me to enter work credentials in iOS Settings.
    • ?????: I'm still playing around with the mail app I'll use for my personal email. The default Mail.App is off the table.
  • iOS Automation: Shifting to iOS means I've lost some of the core automation tools I've come to rely on - Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, Apple Script, etc. So I'm looking to adopt some new or updated automation tools for iOS.
    • Pythonista: This was one of the primary tools I used for iOS automation on my previous iPad. I made the decision with this iPad that I'll take the plunge and move my scripting over to Python 3.
    • Workflow: I had basic workflows before, but I can see the need for better automation options to balance the loss of my macOS tools.
    • Text Expander: While this has been retired from my MBP, I haven't found an equivalent that is as integrated into iOS apps as Text Expander.
  • MBP Eqiuvalency: Some apps I've relied upon on my MBP do have mixed iOS counterparts. So part of this experiment will be to transition off the following app:
    • Lightroom: This was the app that kept my MBP relevant. The plugins I had for editing in Lightroom will be hard to replace.
    • Parallels: While I worked from a MBP, it's still a Windows world for most industrial settings. So I'll be looking at migrating apps from my Windows VM to remote systems.
    • MS Office: Like above, I work in a Microsoft centric office, so I'll need to see how much functionality I lose from macOS to iOS.

Concerns with iOS

One of the critical apps I have on any MBP I work on is Little Snitch. Normally Little Snitch is used to keep the bad guys getting in. Lately I've been using it to keep the chatty apps from talking to everyone on the interwebs. 4 So far I haven't found a way to prevent app trackers calling home or other network connections.7

So we'll see if I can make the switch like @viticci or if I eventually breakdown and go back to a MBP.


  1. Ok... I panicked. 

  2. Now I really panicked.  

  3. Closest I come to that is using my work MBP in host mode to run a copy of my personal MBP HD. 

  4. Google Chrome has to be the chattiest app on macOS.  

  5. And my bank account balance. 

  6. Business in the front / party in the back.  

  7. Unless they're stopped at my wifi router. And how many of you go to that extent? Me neither.  

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