Working without a computer: Update 2

There are a number of folks interested in and following my experience working with the iPad Pro plus keyboard as a replacement to a laptop. Here is my latest update from traveling over the past few days.

During the earlier part of this week, I found that using the iPad Pro plus keyboard worked really well while traveling. Most of the work I needed to do involved writing, consuming content and taking notes. None of these are hindered by using an iPad over a laptop. To the contrary, I find that consuming content and especially taking notes is much more convenient with the iPad over a laptop. I can sit the iPad on the table or my knee while taking notes with the Apple Pencil. One thing I have always found awkward is when there is a physical laptop screen between you and the person you are talking with. It creates a sort of wall. Some may think it is not a big deal. However, consider what a meeting looks like when everyone is using a laptop to take notes. Think about where their eyes are and all the screens between the people. Now consider everyone using pen and paper to take notes…or an iPad and Pencil. I find that using the iPad is far less obtrusive even when using the Apple case to prop it up while typing on the screen. This may seem like a nit of an issue. However, I do think it changes the dynamics of the discussions in meetings with the latter being far more engaging.

In the vein of taking notes, I find that many folks are surprised to see me taking handwritten notes on the iPad using the Apple Pencil. While there are a number of applications that support this, including Microsoft Word, I found that Notability is the best app for my workflow. It is easy to use and has a number of features I find useful. I know there are other apps in the marketplace that are just as good. And I suspect my preference is heavily influenced by starting to use it a long time ago and it just working.

Now it is Thursday and I am back in the office. As such, I am finding a couple of areas that the iPad is starting to challenge my workflow. One area has to do with expense reports. Yes, expense reports. It is not as easy to scan and manipulate multiple documents simultaneously. Yes, it can be done with the iPad, but it is not straightforward, nor easy to do.

Short of pulling together the traditional expense report, I still find that the iPad plus keyboard is working just fine in my workflow.

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