Goodbye iPad Pro - Back To Square One...



— previous me

I usually start this post with a phrase like “I last updated my Social Media Photographer's Gear series here in (insert date) of this/last year.” Since I updated this post 4 times in 2018, I decided to just make this a regularly updated post moving forward.

in 2018 I made a drastic change to my daily computing setup: this was as drastic as my move from shooting with DSLR's using a laptop to going 100% iOS for shooting and mobile computing. But, this time it was in the opposite direction.

As digital marketers, we don’t really need all the gear and software we think we need. During my transition off DSLR cameras to mirrorless to compacts to iPhones and now back to mirrorless, I regularly stop and consider if it is me, or the gear that makes my work as good as it can be. While we all can get sucked into the mindless trap of unrelenting consumerism, I have found in the past few years that limiting my access to tech, gear, and software forces me to exercise my creative muscles in ways I wouldn't otherwise. Having access to the latest and greatest everything all the time is a blessing but it makes you intellectually and creatively lazy - plain and simple.

Luckily for me I have realized this and just happen to be at a point in my career where I am naturally embracing it. Advancing for me means simplifying. Just adding more "junk" to my iMac, photo bag, iPad or home office is no longer helpful. After being in the digital space for over two decades, I have found the right software and hardware tools I need in order to be productive and profitable. It took me an almost four-year-long experiment to find out that what I was using for years, without even knowing it, was the most efficient setup I had. I have been focused on eliminating the things I have accumulated over the years that I thought were beneficial, but are not in reality.

This is not easy. I like gear. I like new apps. I like tricking myself into thinking I did something to make my art or work better by adding something to my bag of tricks. But I also love simplicity;


white space.

I'm not there yet - but I'm getting there.

After years of using an iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, I decided last year that I was done jumping through hoops in a never-ending effort to make the iPad work for me as my primary mobile computing device. No-one can say I didn’t try. My experiment lasted over three years and I was still frustrated on a daily basis by a few HUGE issues with iOS that continued to prevent it from being an O/S that can handle some really mundane everyday computing tasks.

The hardware, as many reviewers have said, is second to none. Seriously, the hardware & form factor are INSANE. It's not the hardware, it's the software. The biggest issues I continued to have included the inability too have free-floating windows from different apps open at the same time, the lack of an external pointing device (specifically a mouse or trackpad), basic support for external storage devices, terrible support for importing and managing files, and the lack of a filesystem that can effectively interoperate with other O/S’s like macOS, Windows, Linux, or an ftp server system.

My goal has always been simplicity and small footprint. With my continuing frustrations with iOS and with the latest iteration of the MacBook Pro, I've decided to move back to macOS for all my work.

So the 5K iMac is now gone…

the 12.9” iPad Pro is gone…

the multiple iPhones are gone.

I had a good time using iPhones as cameras for the last few years but I am moving back to Fujifilm now. Additionally, all the accessories & software that made working on iOS…”work” are gone. One thing that is usually missing from the narrative about the iPad being a "computer" is all the additional hardware and software that is required to make daily use bearable. And yes, I mean bearable - not even efficient.

My experiment was intended to show that iOS could be a compelling alternative to existing computing platforms which would be efficient and also be more affordable than traditional computing. It was NEVER efficient. But, I stuck with it. I told myself it was not the software, it was the paradigm. I had to retrain myself to do things differently. Eventually, I told myself, I'd relearn how to work on "the computing platform of the future," I'd develop new muscle memory for common tasks, and I'd be a step ahead of everyone else when the time finally came to make the move from macOS to iOS for the masses.

The majority of tasks I completed on the daily took two to five times more clicks and time to accomplish on iOS as compared to completing the same task on macOS. With last year’s release of the newest iPad Pro, the hardware now starts at $999 and tops out at over $2,000 when a pencil and keyboard are added. Add to this that the platform is still without the accompanying updates to the O/S which would help it actually be a viable daily driver. So much for the more affordable part of my thesis. So, after over three years of slogging, I gave up on the experiment and declared defeat.

Maybe with some future release of iOS Apple will begin to address some of these issues. I love the hardware and will not count out the platform as my only computing platform in the future. However, I will not make the investment in time and treasure again until Apple makes the investment in iOS so the platform is actually usable for a professional user.