A few updates…
I’ve been using iPadOS now since installing one of the early public betas in July. Word on the internet has generally been constant complaint that iOS and iPadOS 13 have been way too buggy. In my use I would not agree. It’s been buggier than iOS 12 which was notable as one of the more stable iOS releases in years. But my experience is that 13 has been a fairly stable release.
The most noticeable bug in my use has been slowness in working with the new Files app. In general use Files is actually quite fast but when I’m using other apps and have need to pick a file for uploading to a website or attaching to an email, I often have a fairly long delay while I have a blank Files picker window. Eventually, usually in 30 seconds or so, the app will show the files and I can carry on. As of mid-November recent incremental updates to 13.2 seem to have fixed the problem.
The most notable changes that have a positive impact on my workflows:
- Multi-window apps, while not game changing, have been been fairly helpful in reducing a bit of friction. Especially true of the Files app.
- Widgets on the home screen have been more useful than I expected!
- Better, free-form local storage of files on iPad have been helpful.
- Safari download manager has been one of the more notable benefits of the new Safari.
- Multiple slide-over apps is a fantastic new addition to multi-tasking.
- Column view in Files and the new long-tap contextual menu are both great additions.
- The new organization of the sharing menu is proving helpful. Initial organization of shortcuts in that menu takes some time but I think the result has been worth it.
- The Apple Reminders app has gotten some very nice updates with 4 built in smart lists and sub tasks. John Mitchell at Everything is Ablaze has a fantastic post about updated Reminders.
- Last is the new accessibility mouse support. I’m not using it all the time but I am using it for certain tasks.
Accessory and configuration changes
In August I had my Smart Keyboard Portfolio replaced under warranty. I’m using the new one less. Partly due to concerns about longevity I’ve been limiting use to mobile use out of the house. In the house/office I’m spending more time with Bluetooth keyboards and different stand/shelf arrangements. One thing to note here is that during the colder months my tiny house interior is my primary workspace and I often make use of perspective changes to keep things interesting. I can work at a window, a beanbag/futon, my desk or standing desk. It’s a small space so I’ve done a lot to maximize the ways I can use it. You’ll note in the image of my desk that the wall contains a variety of shelves. One or two of those often has an iPad on it. It’s easy to adjust as needed for different heights and positions.
An interesting and fun result of the change from the SKP is that I’ve been using the iPad with no case. It’s either in a stand or on a shelf when I use a Bluetooth keyboard with it. Or it’s in my hands being used as a tablet. Either way, I like this non-laptop arrangement as it feels more true to the iPad. It’s quite nice to have the iPad up at eye level while I’m using an external keyboard with it. In those cases I’m using touch less and am relying more on keyboard shortcuts to navigate between and within apps. Or using a Bluetooth mouse.
When I want to use the iPad as a tablet it is super easy to pick it up and use. With the Smart Keyboard Portfolio I often kept it in the case and just folded the keyboard back behind the iPad. That was fine as it was easy and the case was pretty light, so, very little friction. But there’s even less friction with this new arrangement and no case at all weighs even less!
A side benefit is that because I’m relying more on the multi-device Logitech K811 keyboard I can very easily switch between iPads. I tend to switch to the older iPad Air 2 in the evening. I just put the iPad Pro on the desk for charging and grab the smaller Air for the evening. The same shelf/stand combination by my beanbag works for either iPad and the keyboard is always there. Yet another side benefit, as much as I like the feel of typing on the Smart Keyboard, the K811 remains my favorite keyboard to type on and of course, it has backlighting and media/function keys. It’s a pleasure to use.
All that said let me now completely contradict myself! I’m about to try out a change which would be putting the iPad Pro in a Zugu Case. Why mess with my system that seems to be working so well? There two downsides to the current arrangement (there always seem to be downsides to any set-up!).
First, the stand is is very sturdy but is somewhat limited in the angle I can use. Adjusting the angle requires taking the iPad off because the hinge for adjusting the angle is very tight by design. As a result I tend to keep the iPads at one angle in that stand and it mostly works. But sometimes I do want to change it and it’s not as easy as it should be. The Zugu case has 8 different angles and is super easy to change between them.
The second downside of the current set-up is that sometimes I want to use the iPad while laying down or in a position where I might want to type but not be near my shelf/stand combo. The shelf/stand is perfect when I’m sitting in a very particular spot, namely on the beanbag futon. But sometimes my animals are there and I end up reclining on the futon. Or I may be on the beanbag but may be reclining or at an odd angle.
The Zugu case is reported to be VERY sturdy and stable, easy to use in a variety of places and angles. It adds back the same weight and thickness of the Smart Keyboard Folio and I can still fold it back like the Folio when I want to hand hold the iPad like a book. I’m expecting the combination of the Zugu and K811 keyboard to be a replacement of sorts for the Folio that I’m relying on less. I’ll write about it after I’ve had a few days using it.
New Keyboard: Logitech K780
In late fall I was doing a lot of work at the table on my porch and wanted an easier way to use two iPads together without dragging out stands. I ordered the Logitech K780 which is one of two that Logitech makes that has a built in tablet holder. I have the other one and use it as well. I’ve written previously about using two iPads, specifically when I’m using text content sent by a client in one document on the iPad Air 2 which I’ll copy/paste using the handoff feature. My previous arrangement has one iPad low, the other on a stand above. This new keyboard allows for them to be used side by side. The K780, like the K811, is very nice to type on. It does lack backlighting but I can deal with it. The convenience of being able to slot two iPads in is really nice. I didn’t care for the angle that the iPads are held at so I added some felt spacers to hold them at a steeper angle.
It’s all a bit fussy I suppose but I think of it as an ongoing experiment and enjoy the process. If it makes working more comfortable I’m okay with changing things up a bit. Regardless of the changes I make, I continue to be very happy with the iPad form factor and consider the experimentation a feature that comes with the flexibility of a tablet.