If you already have an iPad and use it proactively, you know it’s an awesome consumer device. It’s great for reading and watching videos. But it can do more. Apple highlights all the crazy use cases in its Verse ads. But what if you’re not a marine biologist or don’t repair windmills in freezing temperatures? Is there a specialized way to improve your iPad experience? Yes, there is; simply buy a keyboard.
By buying a Bluetooth keyboard you can take your iPad from a consumption box to a productivity machine.
Why should you buy one and what can you do with a paired keyboard? Are there drawbacks? Read on to find out.
First, Some Keyboard Buying Advice
Get a keyboard case if you can. That way the keyboard will double as a protective cover and will alwaysbe there. It may seem trivial but trust me it makes a hell of a difference.
You can also use Apple’s Wireless Keyboard if you have one lying around. It costs $69, feels very much like the keyboard on a MacBook and it’s what I’m using right now.
Well, the keyboard is for writing, so this one is pretty self explanatory. But there are different types of writing. Some that bring out the best of iPad, some the worst. I’ll go more into detail below.
If you’re going to be jumping between browser tabs or ebooks filled with research data, iPad probably isn’t going to be the best for you. You can do it, it just won’t be a good experience.
On the other hand, I think this kind of setup is perfect for more creative, brain to keyboard writing. Whether you’re writing a poem, short story, or a novel. By blocking out all the other apps and letting you focus on just one thing, the iPad makes for a better pure writing machine than any other computer.
Just image sitting at a table like this, with only two machines and yourself, with the iPad muted and nothing between your thoughts and the words on the screen.
Working With the Office Suite
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If you already work in an office environment and use the MS Office suite or Apple iWork, you’re going to love the portability iPad provides.
Web browsers like iCab and other writing apps are customized for Bluetooth keyboards. It means if your hands are already on your keyboard, you won’t have to extend them to touch the screen, something that can get tiring after a while. Things like selecting all the text, copy, paste, or undo become a lot easier when you’ve got a keyboard paired up.
Extra Productivity Machine
If you have an iPad lying around, you can add it to your workstation and turn it into a dedicated correspondence machine. Keep all or one of the messaging apps running on the iPad so you can differentiate between the work on your computer and the chat on the iPad. You can run a note taking app and do a similar thing for notes as well.
Where No Laptop Has Gone Before
Well, isn’t that the whole point? With a thin keyboard attached, your iPad will go places your laptop can’t even dream of. And it’s not just about carrying it in your bag, it’s about using it out in the open.
Propping up your Retina iPad mini with the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard on the train to shoot a quick email or edit a document is a lot better than doing it on your iPhone. Not to mention how bringing out the laptop in this scenario would be highly unwieldy.
And this continues when you’re on vacation, at the beach, or on a plane.
Don’t Worry About It
Here’s me trying out The Hanx Writer app from Tom Hanks. The app promises to take you back to a simpler time. But you still get the luxuries of spell check and delete. It’s not a full-featured app, but it does hold some sentimental value.
If you’ve tried getting work done on the iPad, you know it’s not easy. Let me tell you this – if you’re at a desk and have a laptop or a PC sitting beside an iPad, always choose the PC (unless you’re Federico Viticci).
Being productive on the iPad can be overwhelming.. it was for me. But the best way to go about it is to play into its strengths, use it in situations when you can’t use anything else, and when something better is available, go for it.
But above all, don’t stress too much about it. With or without a keyboard, the iPad is still a pretty awesome tablet to own.