I just purchased the 9.7″ iPad Pro and I’m on a quest to replace my laptop with this tablet. When traveling, I’d like to just take my iPad and not my iPad and laptop.
Right now, I work from a desktop at my office and a laptop on the go. I want to continue to use my desktop in my office but would like to switch out my laptop for the iPad. Since getting my first iPad, I’ve always considered the device to be a consumption rather than production item. In a pinch, I could complete a number of tasks on the iPad, but it was not easy nor was it faster than doing it on a laptop. I mainly used the iPad to check email, read books, and check social media.
As a web developer, I need easy access to a browser with my passwords, image editing software, FTP connection, text editor, and file access. If I am to complete these tasks on an iPad, I need to look for programs that can be used across all devices and that sync either through Dropbox or iCloud. Here are programs that do a good job across devices:
Not only does 1Password contain passwords to my WordPress sites, it also provides a browser where passwords are automatically filled in. Since WordPress can be used on a mobile device, I can edit any of my websites within this browser. 1Password also integrates within the iPad, allowing you to fill in passwords outside of the app.
I use Pixelmator for image editing. This program is available on both the desktop and laptop and files can be saved directly to iCloud in the same way you can save Keynote and Pages files. From an email, you can import an image directly into Pixelmator, edit it, save it, and then upload it within a WordPress website.
Terminal or Coda
For FTP and SFTP access to website files, there are two programs that seem to be a good fit for this type of work. I have not used either of these, but plan to do so in the near future. Terminal and Coda are programs that sync across devices. They are both made by the same company and Coda has the added benefit of a text-editor for website files. I currently use Cyberduck for FTP/SFTP access on my computers, but I cannot sync those site credentials across devices.
iCloud Drive / Dropbox
The recent MacOS and iOS updates have added a new feature that syncs your Desktop and Document folders across devices. This is an important update and one that makes it easier to switch between a computer and iPad. This feature still seems to be in its infancy. For example, if I go to iCloud Drive on the iPad and find an Excel file, there is no easy option to begin editing it in Numbers or Excel without first saving a new copy. I can however access the iCloud Drive directly from either the Numbers or Excel app on the iPad.
I purchased the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil along with the iPad. The keyboard provides more screen space (instead of half of the screen being taken by the on-screen keyboard) and allows for the very important Command + Tab feature that makes it possible to quickly switch between programs.
Overall, I still don’t feel comfortable leaving on a long trip without my laptop. The iPad has come to a point where I can do all of the tasks that I do on my laptop, which is a huge improvement, but I can’t do them as easily and time effectively. Also, if there is a major update I need to complete, whether a design template update or a mass-import of files/photos to a website, it would be possible, yet very time-consuming to use the iPad.