I replaced my laptop with an iPad Pro for a month. Here’s what happened

Apple firmly believes the iPad Pro to be a worthy replacement for the laptop. But can it really replace the device on which you’ve relied for years to help you be productive and manage every area of your work?

To find out, I set myself a challenge. I decided to close my laptop and give it the opportunity to hibernate for an entire month. And it was probably glad of the rest, to be honest, having been my trusty steed for an incredibly long time.

In its place, I opted to use the iPad Pro solely for that month. I vowed that, no matter the task at hand, I simply wouldn’t reach for my MacBook.

Here’s what I learned:

I could throw away my (paper) notebook

Thanks to some fantastic iPad Pro notebook apps, the pen and increasingly tatty notebook I used to take with me to client meetings could finally be retired.

Tablets make for fantastic notebook replacements (of the paper variety). With the right stylus – in this case, the Apple Pencil – and proper palm rejection technology, you can write as freely as you would with pen and paper, but with the added benefit of your notes following you everywhere in digital form.

It has revolutionised my note-taking.

Typing on a small keyboard isn’t all that bad

I went for the smaller iPad Pro, which, in turn, features a smaller keyboard than its big brother. It’s also noticeably tighter and more compact than my MacBook’s keyboard.

At first, this was cause for concern, because as a content marketer, I essentially type all day. Would it be comfortable? Irritating? Slow me down? Result in numerous errors?

Thankfully, it turned out to be perfectly adequate. Sure, the iPad Pro’s keyboard will never rival that of a full-sized laptop, but it didn’t slow me down at all, and in business, that’s what matters.

My focus improved

iPads are capable of multi-tasking, but not in the same way as a traditional computer. The windows not in use are hidden from view until called upon and, while that may sound like something of a handicap, it actually improves focus.

iOS is all about full-screen apps. There are simply no other distractions to prevent you from getting stuff done, and while this may sound obvious, it really isn’t until you dive head-first into the iPad productivity game that you fully appreciate its power.

Working with imagery isn’t much fun

Although primarily a wordsmith, I do a fair bit of work with imagery. This can be anything from basic manipulation in Photoshop to grabbing selections from the screen to use for social media purposes.

I’ve refined my imagery workflow on the MacBook over a number of years, and switching to the iPad for the task wasn’t particularly easy. In fact, this is the one area in which the device slowed me down.

While there are plenty of image editing apps available for iOS, I found them all rather cumbersome without a mouse. Which was a shame.

iOS still needs some work

Apple’s mobile operating system has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but it’s capabilities on the iPad still feel oddly hamstrung. Split-screened apps are great, but iOS fails to make best use of that big screen.

Must do better, Apple!

Conclusion

So, the question you probably want to ask at this stage is whether or not I stuck with the iPad or reverted back to my laptop.

The answer lies somewhere in-between. As I type, I’m using my trusty MacBook, but if I head to the coffee shop tomorrow, the likelihood is I’ll use the iPad. And I wouldn’t have done that before this test.

The iPad Pro isn’t quite the laptop replacement it yearns to be, but the ability for it to act as an admirable stand-in when required shows what it may be capable of in the future.