I went large this year and bought the iPhone 6S Plus with 128 GB of storage. For the first week I ended up tucking the iPad away in the corner of my desk and doing 100% of my mobile tasks on the iPhone. The landscape split-view of the 6S Plus coupled with the larger screen is just enough for me most of the time, even for couch surfing. It’s really empowering to have all of my photos and files so close at hand.
This new iPhone has made me re-evaluate the positioning of the iPad Air 2 in my life. I’ve been leaning hard on the idea of the iPad as a most-of-the-time computer. It’s not enough for everything — it can’t download video files from my camera and it can’t pull of what Final Cut Pro X can do — but it does most of what I need it do in just one pound. But then comes along this little upstart phone that can do most of the iPad’s job…and it fits right into my pocket (well, mostly).
However, over the weeks I’ve been finding the niche spots the iPad still really excels at, despite the presence of the iPhone 6S Plus.
Having an iPad as a recipe book is just unbeatable. It’s way better than a laptop, and it’s way more comfortable to read and manipulate than my iPhone screen. We usually load up recipes in Safari or Evernote and prop the iPad up on the counter with the TwelveSouth Compass.
Surfing on the couch
This one’s pretty obvious, but there is a subtle difference between the iPhone and iPad here. Lazy Sunday afternoons are the perfect time for catching up on my RSS feed, and it’s a lot easier to tilt a 10–inch iPad screen towards my girlfriend than it is a 5.5–inch iPhone screen. I also think there’s something different about holding a phone up to your face versus placing an iPad in your lap; the latter position just feels a little more open and approachable when you’re just hanging out.
I tried writing an article on the 6S Plus, and it was doable but not very comfortable. The iPad’s screen is large enough that I dont’ have to crane my neck down to write comfortably, and that’s a huge difference. Split screen apps like iA Writer also let me insert links from Safari without ever losing my context. iOS 9 had made a big difference to the writing experience on the iPad, and I’m loving it.
It can be difficult to tell if a picture is tack sharp on my camera’s tiny LCD, so the iPad plays a crucial role in helping me cut down on crappy pictures before I start editing them. The iPad is large enough that I can tell, with just a little bit of zooming in, whether or not a picture is really as sharp as I want it. This is another area where a larger screen will always be better than a smaller one, and I’m very happy to have the iPad around for this process. It’s just a shame that it can’t take in XAVC-S video, or I’d preview videos on it as well.
The Home Computer
I was wondering whether having an iPhone 6S Plus would eliminate my need for an iPad altogether. That may have been the case if I’d stuck to an iPad mini (7.9–inch display), but there’s still enough of a difference between the Air 2 and 6S Plus — especially for use at a desk — that they still have niche roles.
But I’m also making it a point to relax more when it comes to the iPad. I love talking about iOS and thinking up new workflows, but I can also get a little too hardcore about taking advantage of every last bit of the device. I want to be OK with not using my iPad for everything and see if I can have more fun with this tablet it in this light.