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In my attempt to use this feed to document the various little experiments I run, I found a decent one to start with. It involved replacing my primary work machine (MacBook Pro) with an iPad Pro for a week, using it exclusively for any and all work tasks. You know, just to decide for myself whether the iPad and iOS really offer a viable alternative to laptops and desktop-class operating systems…

MacBook vs iPad

I’ve been using an iPad Pro as a secondary device for a while now. I find it great for taking notes at meetings or providing feedback on the go, and it comes with very decent battery life. However, I still revert to my MacBook Pro for the heavier stuff (PowerPoint decks, Photoshop, budget sheets and so on), which I’ll always carry around anyway.

But yesterday morning, I had to drop off the MacBook at Apple for servicing, over an issue with the screen’s anti-reflective coating. In this case, they told me they’d replace the entire display for free, which could take up to five days. What a great opportunity, I thought!

The details

So I started mapping out some initial conditions and considerations for the experiment:

  1. My job involves a lot of account management and team coordination, and does not require constant use of desktop-only apps (e.g. image editing suites).
  2. The iPad now becomes a business-critical machine. Anything I can’t do on it within a reasonable period of time can be quickly delegated to a team member.
  3. All the systems and services we use are cloud-based, from Dropbox to Slack. These platforms all have reasonably feature-rich iPad apps. They can be easily accessed from back-up desktop-class machines if required. But I would not carry a back-up machine with me everywhere I went.

Ready, set, fail

And so my experiment began! After making the drop-off at the Apple store, I started my work day using my 9.7″ iPad Pro exclusively. The day happened to involve a lot of running around, juggling meetings and calls… So no issues with the tablet so far. This made for a very promising start!

And then, at around 7pm, the whole thing came to a grinding halt…

Apple got in touch to let me know that my MacBook was already repaired and ready for pick-up. About 8 hours from when I’d dropped it off. This is, of course, yet another testament to their frustratingly good customer support. And, at least for me, a dead simple justification for their premium price tags.

But it’s also an abrupt ending to this experiment, at least for the time being. I am no longer conditioned to use the tablet exclusively, and I don’t feel compelled to do so. Which may be a partial conclusion right there…