Can the MacBook replace my iPad?

I’ve been using the MacBook as a replacement for my iPad now for two weeks and wanted to share my updated view on how it’s gone in that time, adjusting back to a laptop and macOS.

As far as the hardware goes I’ve been impressed with the 12” MacBook, even the keyboard has grown on me (no sticky keys yet). I’ve not babied it and used it inside and out in the garden and I’ve pushed the 8GB Ram and to be fair it’s held up well.  The only area that frustrates me is using Photos, it runs like a snail compared to how it runs on iOS, maybe I should have gone with 16GB Ram but for 80% of what I’m doing (including podcast editing) this base spec machine has been fine and worked well. I’ve appreciated the USB-C and now when I’m at the desk I go into a Dell hub connecting my MacBook to a keyboard, mouse and 34” monitor. All works really well and has been great to use when podcasting in particular where I can have a lot of windows open at the same time, something I can’t do on iOS.

Where I’m starting to struggle a little is with some RSI and shoulder strain from using a laptop for my day job and now in my spare time. I didn’t realise how much the iPad had helped my RSI over time. I can use it in many different ways and am able to change my position to make using it more comfortable and this is why the MacBook falls down for me as an iPad replacement. I don’t have any particular issues with macOS and in some of the ways I work (especially file management) the Mac beats the iPad but I’m just not using it as much and therefore creating, something my Apple devices have always enabled me to do.

I miss the flexibility of the hardware, the pencil and the apps on iOS, using the Mac feels like work to me and I’m just not wanting to sit down and use it to do something creative – it just isn’t as much fun as using my iPad.

I’m going to have to count my pennies and I think I’ve finally decided on my setup. An 11” 2020 iPad Pro (1TB), Apple Pencil 2 and the new magic keyboard. My reasoning for not going 12.9” is I had a 1st gen pro and ultimately sold it on as I use it in tablet mode most of the time and found it to be uncomfortable for me on the sofa etc… I also have this bigger setup that I can dock it with and use a bigger screen as and when I want to. As I said I still have to count my pennies so don’t be surprised if I end up with a 2018 12.9” if I end up being able to get a good deal used but my intention is to go 11.

It’s been a good experiment to go back to macOS but I’m ready to go back home to iOS.


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