Since I installed iPadOS 15 beta on my iPad Pro, I’ve been using it more wholesomely for writing tasks.
I’m doing that right now, in fact.
This isn’t the first time I’ve used the iPad Pro as my primary writing tool. When I first bought the Magic Keyboard, I installed Ulysses and transitioned fully from the Mac to the iPad for blogging duties.
It was a superb experience that was only halted by the arrival of the brilliant M1 MacBook Air.
Alas, I’ve now returned to the 12.9” iPad Pro and made it my main writing tool. This is partly to test out iPadOS 15, but also to remind myself of why I enjoyed it so much last time.
Here’s what I’ve discovered.
I’m afraid that you do need the Magic Keyboard to turn your iPad Pro into the ultimate writing tool.
This isn’t a cheap accessory. Add it to your iPad (Pro or otherwise), and it takes the device into midrange – even expensive – laptop territory.
For me, though, the Magic Keyboard is key to this experience. I know you can technically pair any Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad to the iPad, but Apple’s is the most elegant, hassle-free implementation, and that means a lot when you just need to get some words down.
So, take a deep breath, add it to your cart, and let’s get serious about writing on the iPad.
Here’s what you’ll experience.
1. Permanent focus mode
One of the best things about the iPad from a productivity standpoint is that it primarily offers a single app view.
Yes, you can now run two apps side-by-side and even have a third floating over the top, but even that experience is refreshingly uncluttered compared to macOS and Windows.
The dock vanishes. The bar at the top of the screen featuring the time, date and battery percentage is tiny. Notifications can be silenced with a couple of taps. There’s no such thing as a random window or error pop-up from the OS.
It’s what I like to call ‘permanent focus mode’.
If you’re a writer, this is vitally important and means you can focus on the words, rather than being distracted by a noisy operating system.
2. The keyboard
Yes, it’s expensive, heavy and made of a curiously unsatisfying material, but the Magic Keyboard has one killer feature: the keyboard itself.
This is subjective, yes. And, yes, I have fallen in love with mechanical keyboards of late.
But there’s something about this Magic Keyboard. Apple has struck a superb balance between key travel, resistance, feel and key size. I’ll take a slightly thicker, heavier case in exchange for that experience any day of the week.
As with any keyboard, the sonics also play a big role, and it scores highly there, too.
I love typing on this thing. It won’t be for everyone, and I recommend you try it before you buy, if possible, but I’m a huge fan of the iPad’s Magic Keyboard.
3. Battery superpowers
The iPad’s battery life has always been one of its crowning glories. Fiercely protected by Apple, it never suffers at the hands of new features or capabilities.
If you’re a writer, this is extremely good news, because you probably won’t put the iPad through its paces. Not much computing horsepower is required to help a flashing cursor make its way across the screen, and if you’re conservative with your screen brightness, the iPad will easily get you through a day of writing without ever thinking about a charging point.
4. That intangible iPad magic
I could have left this list at three. But I had to include this one – even though I’m not entirely sure how to define it.
There has always been something about the iPad. Apple prides itself on adding the word ‘Magic’ to several of its accessories, but if there’s one device that really deserves that moniker, it’s the iPad.
For years, I’ve attempted to work the iPad more wholesomely into my business, and while it often feels rather shoehorned and crippled by the frustrating lack of pro apps, getting work done on this device always feels a bit special.
There’s something about grabbing your iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, throwing it into a backpack and heading to the coffee shop. It feels good. But I have no idea why.
Mind you, there doesn’t have to be a reason for this. If a piece of tech just makes you feel good while using it, you’ve invested well. That’s absolutely how the iPad Pro feels when I make it my designated writing machine; I look forward to using it.
If you’re a writer and haven’t delved into the world of the iPad for your craft yet, I seriously recommend giving it a go.