About 4 or 5 years ago, I purchased an iPad Pro 9.7”. Apple was pushing the iPad hard as a productivity machine. For me, since then, it’s been especially useful as a web browser and Netflix consumption device from the start. However, since then, my iPad has become more and more useful.
As updates are released to the operating system, new and laptop-like features have been added. It went from a media consumption device to the next-best thing to having a full laptop with me.
Each time a new set of features were added, or an important app was updated that I wanted to use, it made me consider trying the iPad as a productivity device again. Generally the improvements made a difference, but it wasn’t until one major feature was added that I really, really started to take it seriously as a productivity workhorse.
In a recent release of iPadOS, Apple added Bluetooth mouse support. Yes, you read that right. You can now use a mouse with your iPad. As an IT professional that works on servers and computers remotely a lot (especially these days) this opens up a world of possibilities for me. There’s something to be said about being able to carry a device with you anywhere that’s the size of a book, that’s just about as powerful as a full-on laptop.
However, here’s the kicker. “Just about as powerful as a laptop” doesn’t quite cut it when time is of the essence. When you’re billing a customer, or fixing an infrastructure that’s critically unavailable, you need the right tool for the job. Unfortunately as an IT professional, I don’t think I could replace my MacBook (etc.) for an iPad, even with mouse support. Not at this stage in the iPadOS game.
That said, the iPad makes for a great companion device. It’s a fantastic eBook reader, movie consumer, study and note taker — all that stuff. And I have no trouble using it to do some work and stay productive. (I’m writing this post on it now, in fact, and testing pfSense on my server remotely with it.)
Maybe in a few more years, I’ll be able to write a new post, referencing this one, and say that it’s perfect now for IT administration as a one-and-only device. But we’re not quite there yet. For the meantime, you’ll see me with my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro side by side from time to time.