For my birthday this year I was the lucky recipient of an iPad Pro. Primarily I wanted it for drawing but I was also curious as to how it might be useful at work.

2 weeks in, here are some of the things I've experimented with so far.


I always figured coding on a tablet was a bit of a non-starter. Most of the apps I work on can be hard work to set up on a laptop let alone a tablet. I vaguely entertained the idea of using a Raspberry Pi as a dev environment but ultimately it all seemed like a lot of work for little benefit. Will be sticking with the laptop.

Note taking

This was something I was hoping would be an easy win for the iPad. I spend a lot of time in meetings and am never much of a fan of taking notes on a laptop during a meeting. However so far it hasn't quite worked out. I was hoping it would be convenient to pick up and jot things down but so far it doesn't seem to be happening. I'm hoping it will become a bit more natural with practice. Like many people I am working remotely at the moment with all my meetings online so also I wonder if it will become more natural if/when I return to face-to-face meetings.

Data science

Again wasn't expecting much due to the complications of setting up a decent data science environment at the best of times. I did wonder if I might be able to do some simple reports with Google sheets and data studio. It was hard work though and I think I'm unlikely to try that again. Another task best left to the laptop.

App UX and prototyping

This has been the stand out winner on the iPad for me. While there doesn't seem to be much in the way of tools for things like interactive prototyping, sketching out simple wireframes and workflows is really great. It is a much more natural process than any tool I've used on a laptop. I've tried many of the common apps from dedicated prototyping apps such as Adobe Comp to drawing apps such as Sketches and Concepts. In the end my favourite has turned out to be Notability. This is because it offers the best balance between a drawing and a note taking app for this particular use case.

Blog post writing

This is my first attempt to write a blog post on it. I did download the iPadOS l4 beta so that I could use Scribble. Overall it's been pretty great. Scribble is clearly a game-changer. Whilst it isn't perfect and I may end up doing a final edit of this post on my laptop, sitting on my sofa writing by hand is just a completely different experience to using my laptop to write. It's very enjoyable. Far less efficient I'm sure but more relaxing and natural. Having spent the whole day staring at my laptop this offers a welcome change of pace. Time will tell but I am hopeful this will lead to me writing more.


So far I haven't found anywhere where the iPad is more efficient. However for creative tasks it does offer a different kind of freedom. It will be interesting to see what new habits it leads to over the next few weeks.