iPad versus iPhone Plus: The ideal portable solution for writers
I have a love-hate relationship with Apple's iPad. It's an extra device to carry around and, since the arrival of the phablet-sized iPhone Plus in 2014 I have had little incentive to tote the tablet. Not even the iPad mini which I enthused about for a time.
The arrival of the 9.7in iPad Pro made me think. Would it be a device I could come to love? Having inspected the entrails, I concluded the auguries we're favourable. I bought one and, a week or so later, added the Smart Keyboard cover.
Today I am back with the iPhone 6 Plus and my portable Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard. So what went wrong?
Convenience is everything
In most respects the combination of the iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard offers a superior user experience to using the iPhone. But I have concluded that this isn't everything. Convenience trumps sheer usability and the prospect of carting round both iPhone and iPad has never appealed. Furthermore, the iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard is bulkier and nearly as heavy as my MacBook. The MacBook, it has to be said, trumps the lot of them.
The iPad Pro is very easy to live with. The Smart Keyboard is convenient, though a little bulky, and I love the way it switches itself on and off automatically. No more live keyboard causing mayhem from the depths of my bag. Yet despite its size, the Smart Keyboard is not as accurate as the smaller Logitech keyboard. I can type at full speed on the Logitech whereas I stumble constantly with the Smart Keyboard. I can't explain this but it is something you need to try for yourself. I just feel more in command with the Keys to Go.
The iPad Pro combination is also easier to pack and retrieve. Open the cover and it is ready for action, no on/off switch to twiddle, no prop to arrange for the screen. When relying on the iPhone I must pack the keyboard and a plastic stand to hold the phone in a reading position. I also need to remember to switch off the keyboard before putting it back in the bag. Apart from the risk of random keystrokes caused by contact with the inside of the bag, the live keyboard prevents the iPhone's virtual keyboard from actuating, something which is occasionally very frustrating.
I have just one complaint about the Smart Cover: You need to be a black belt in origami to fold it back into place. Practice makes perfect, of course, but it is hardly intuitive.
All things considered, however, the trio of iPhone Plus, Logitech keyboard and stand takes up far less room that the iPhone and iPad combination. It is much lighter and, on balance, just so much more convenient to have one live device.
I have tried to love the iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard. I thought it would be the answer for carrying around home, the note taker and reference device when watching television or relaxing. It does do all these things, but it isn't essential for them. Most of the time I have the iPhone in hand and I find it more convenient to use the one device for everything.
Not everyone will agree with me on this. Many love their iPads and carry them around with them at all times. Some even take pictures with them, perish the thought, and are clearly sold on the tablet concept.
For the moment, however, I am happy with the iPhone Plus with its typing peripherals for day-to-day work. For heavier lifting I can always throw in the MacBook with very little weight penalty over toting the iPad.
I am really sorry to say this. But I think I am not cut out to be an iPad user. This may change in the future when iOS and MacOS capabilities merge further. Watch this space.