Can the iPad Pro become an everyday computer replacement? My 7 day review at work with the iPad Pro & iPadOS

Can the iPad Pro become an everyday computer replacement? My 7 day review at work with the iPad Pro & iPadOS

Before I started in any direction with the iPad Pro I already knew out of the gate that it is not a full desktop/laptop replacement. My thoughts going into this project was that with the help and new direction of iPadOS that the iPad though still an iPad is now breaking lose and striving to become something more. Apple is starting to realize that iOS though great on a handheld phone that it is impeding and holding back the potential of what it can accomplish with the power of today’s iPads.

Why iPad Pro?
The iPad Pro is something that I’ve been wanting to utilize for a longtime but up until the latest generation of iPad Pro & the release of iPadOS it was hard to justify it as an everyday device. Could it replace a desktop? Can it take place of a laptop when you’re moving around and on the go? Can it become your be all, one in all device?

Luckily for me I have the ability to test it & push it as much as I can. With my day to day job as an IT Professional for a large Provincial College I have the ability to not only use the iPad as a daily driver but to explor different areas and views that some cannot. It is with this that I want to test different areas & push the potential of the iPad Pro.

My Setup

  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2018 3rd Gen)
  • Apple Pencil 2
  • Logitech Slim Folio Pro Keyboard
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 2s Mouse
  • JETech Tempered Glass

Day 1 – First Impressions (Sept. 18, 2019)

Thugh technically day 2 the iPad stayed in the box for the first day as it arrived without the case and I was to scared to take it out and use it without something to protect it. The iPad still feels like a fragile device and to me doesn’t feel comfortable to use without some sort of protection. This left me setting up the iPad with the latest iPadOS 10.3.1 Beta 4 build all while it sat in the box. Though getting ahold of a proper keyboard case was nice I have say that using the on screen keyboard for the day wasn’t as bad a I thought it would be with it being a full size on the iPad Pro 12.9.

When I finally got the case the next day it was a game changer. This was the first day where I was finally able to go through and setup the device the way I wanted and to get started with exploring the new device and the slick new iPadOS.

Mouse for an iPad? Who’s going to use that?
When I first seen reviews showing the ability to use a mouse I honestly though it looked useless. Will it even work the way we expect it to & what would we use it with? The short answer, it just works & you can use it for just about everything. To my surprise the mouse became part of the package. It flows alongside iOS/iPadOS a lot better than I was anticipating. I haven’t come across any applications that I can not use it for short of trying some games but have none to test with right now.

Apple opened up the treasure chest when they allowed for mouse support and with it so widely talked about and tested all they can do is embrace it and move forward supporting it.

Day 2 – There are differences between iPadOS & Office Apps from the desktop version? (Sept. 19, 2019)

So far my experience has been smooth. For day two though still exploring and customizing my setup I still have a job to do so it’s here where I hit the odd wall and needed to figure out how to do a task the same but different compared to it’s big brother OS’s laptops and desktops.

In my daily job I’m handing emails/communications, service tickets, documentation and more. It’s here where you need to realize that many apps were developed for iOS they’re not yet taking advantage of the larger screens and power that the iPads have.

My Apps:

  • Google Chrome & Safari
  • Apple Mail (Outlook when on a computer)
  • Microsoft ToDo
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Apple Files
  • Readdle Documents
  • Readdle Printer Pro
  • Citrix WorkSpace
  • Apple Siri Shortcuts
  • Spotify (everyone needs music)

Normally I’m a Google Chrome user but with the latest version of Safari it’s much better when it comes to viewing websites due to the ability to request and load all sites as a “Desktop”. This makes a big difference as Chrome still loads many sites with a mobile client feel. If it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t view my favourites in the bookmark bar as just icons without text I’d give it a good try without Chrome.

Mail vs Outlook
I use the Outlook app on my desktop defies devices but I’ve always found the iOS version to be lacking in a few areas and more so with the iPad version. Outlook still feels like a mobile app that just doesn’t have the comfortable view that the Mail App provides. This was the biggest decision to stay with Apple Mail as I want to see my structure and mail together. Apple Mail gives me a smoother looking and feeling client than Outlook though I think with some minor adjustments Outlook could become top dog. It’s the mobile feel in the Outlook app that hinders it on the iPad.

Office Suite
Our College has embraced Office 365 as many have so this will be my office suite of choice but I do hope in due time Microsoft will improve the interface and ability of its products to be closer to their desktop versions. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and OneNote though they get the job done they’re lacking in options. This is similar to the web versions as you will go looking for something you’re used to and it’s not there. They are a streamlined versions of their big brother apps for smaller products with less storage but with the storage and power behind newer hardware we need a suite that closer resembles the productivity of their counterparts.

We have a “Files” System?
With the Files App we have a bit more control over how we can handle and move files around which is a big change compared to years past but there’s a lot of room for improvement. I know I’ve working with a beta version but it still lacks in areas such as connecting to remote servers and the ability to read  and open files from an external drive without the need to copy to the local storage. 

I’ve been able to get around  some of this with the use of Readdle Documents but since third party apps do not yet have the ability to view local files it’s a back and forth game. The Files App still seems clunky when it comes to moving files around and if you want to open particular files (only found a couple files with this issue) from an external HD you may need to copy them to the local drive. For example we went to play a 10GB ProRes .mov file from an external 7,200rpm USB3 drive but we could not get the option to open in VLC. If I clicked on the files it didn’t know how to open it. Instead I needed to transfer it to the internal storage then when I went to open it the option for VLC was there and played it without issue. Because third party apps like VLC and other players have not been updated with the access and ability to open files from external devices the work around is to use the Files App only.

It wasn’t until this week while using the iPad that I realized support for iOS and printing just, well, sucks! WiFi printing is not a normal way of printing when it comes to Enterprise. WiFi printing is a consumer function. So how did I fix this? It was rather easy, well, at least for me since I still have a work desktop in the office to utilize. With the help of Readdle Printer Pro I was able to make quick work of printing. I installed the needed desktop app on my office computer then installed the Printer Pro app on the iPad. From here I added the printer by adding the needed code from the desktop app to connect them via the cloud. The bonus here is that because it’s printing documents technically through my desktop it’s still using our Print Counting System that we have in place. Another bonus, this works smooth with an iPhone as well.

Jaybird pushed & lead the Bluetooth audio generation for years, now for a new era of wireless earbuds

Jaybird pushed & lead the Bluetooth audio generation for years, now for a new era of wireless earbuds

I’ve personally owned three generations of Jaybirds from the original over the ear Bluetooth JB-200’s to the my last set of Jaybird JF3 Freedoms and from the start I’ve always sold people on how great and ahead of the curve Jaybird was for Bluetooth headphones.

Jaybird JB-200

My first generation lasted me a couple years before the rubber started to separate from the housing but that was two solid years of working out, running etc. so they still sold me on the brand. When I went looking for a new pair of ear buds I had already known that they had good battery life, great sound (for BT at the time) and though they cost more than your standard wired buds there was still no real competition to even look at so Jaybird JF3 Freedoms were my next Bluetooth buds to run with.

Jaybird JF3 Freedoms

After picking up the latest generation of BT earbuds which I believe was sometime in 2011 soon after their release I was very pleased with them. They were a different style to the JB-200’s which and though they were not as comfortable and secure they still stayed in place and had great sound and battery life.

Move ahead to 2013 I was still actively using my JF3 Freedoms until they made their way through a full wash and dryer cycle. This was a sad day as they didn’t turn on after letting them dry in a bag of rice for a couple days and I was at a loss as I had not used anything else in so long. At the time funds were not great so I had resorted to Apple’s good old white “corded” ear buds. Sure they had great sound but that cable…. it drove me nuts!

If I remember correctly it was close to a year of not using BT earbuds I randomly came across my good old JF3 Freedoms that were stuffed in drawer and before I threw them out I figured I’d charge them up for the hell of it and see what would happen.

Well BAM!! Oh my god they turned on and worked! SO to my surprise after a year of sitting in a drawer they seemed to have dried up enough that they started to work agin. I was shocked but hey, they worked.

After my JF3 Freedoms started to work again I continued to use them again without any issues what so ever. Audio and battery life was great and I was still using them up until this past summer 2019.

Though I loved the JF3 Freedoms there was one major design that bugged me and that was the cable. If I was doing sit-ups they would grab behind my neck, if I was running or jumping I could always feel the cable moving around. So after nine plus years I figured it was time to look into the so called “True Wireless” market.

I did look into Jaybirds again but at the time I didn’t care for my options. They did have the Jaybird RUN buds but I was concerned about how they would fit and it they would be secure. I did manage to get a hold of a pair and when I tried them they just didn’t feel right. They didn’t fit my ears right and I didn’t get a good vibe.

For the first time in over 11 years I was taking a serious look at other brands which lead me to taking a hard look at Apple PowerBeat Pros.

I first looked at the Apple Airpods but they just didn’t seem like serious earbuds for someone that’s active in any way so I passed by them pretty quick. Next I looked into the PowerBeats Pro as they were just being introduced for pre orders and there was a big buzz surrounding them.

The big seller that pointed me to the new PowerBeats Pro was the H1 chip and how smooth they worked with other Apple products. As an Apple user myself with an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air and iMac this was a big selling point. Reviews were looking great for sound comfort so I took a leap and ordered them.

Carter After a Workout – Aug. 2019

After two plus months of almost daily use I can honestly say they’re amazing earbuds. I normally use them for 3-5hrs at work depending what’s on the go to either listen to music while in the office and running around to taking long conference & video chat calls. They have solid bass, mids and highs and with an average volume of 70% they drown out any sounds around me without being too loud. When it comes to comfort I can go hours with them and at times I’ll walk around without music and forget they’re in my ears.

The one hot topic that seemed to linger with online reviews seemed to be the large case when compared to the Apple Airpod. It’s too big! It’s too bulky! It won’t fit in my pocket!

Powerbeats Pro Charging Case

Well in my opinion this is a non issue. I carry a bag with me to and from work daily with my other devices and I’m in the habit to pull the buds out in the morning and put them away before heading home. They last all day at work and if they don’t get charged up before getting home I know they will easily handle a workout. With great battery life you don’t need to carry the case around with you in your pocket like some had hoped for. If you need that kind of ability look else where.

At the end of the day I’m very happy with my PowerBeats Pro but I still have my Jaybird JF3 Freedoms and they still get used once in a while. They are still solid earbuds and with how old they’re it’s surprising that the battery is still holding such a great charge.

Jaybird is a solid company that IMO was pushing the best of Bluetooth headphones for years and I’m sure down the road I’ll easily pick up a new pair. Maybe it’s time to convince my wife to buy a new pair that I can “test”?