I’m angry with my iPad Pro and it hasn’t even arrived.
I’ve spent a great deal of time over the years refining, tearing down, and rebuilding my process for storing files, taking notes, and managing information. Most of the time I feel like everything is in flux and I have no idea how I want to do things. But once in a while, the past few months especially, I feel like I’m finally settling into a groove. Now it’s going to go to shit.
You see, I am a desktop computer guy. iPhones and iPads are primarily for consumption, as all but a few crazy outliers know perfectly well. This means that for actually getting things done, it’s OS X. Anything that runs on OS X works great for me. This includes terminal-based apps. I love my carefully-contrived workflows based on Mutt, Emacs Org Mode, VimWiki, etc. I blog via Hugo using Markdown-formatted text files written with Vim, Emacs, or BBEdit. I spend time in IRC using Weechat. Todos are managed in Org Mode. You get the idea. The computer is where things get done
I’ve had every new iPad since the first version. Never have I considered using one seriously for anything significant. I watch Netflix, read long articles, and occasionally Tweet. There was always a useful separation of concerns and that’s been fine with me.
Along comes the big, beautiful iPad Pro, with its desktop-class performance and giant screen and nifty keyboard. And a Pencil that doesn’t feel like a poor surrogate for my clumsy fingers. Dammit. This is the one that could challenge my stubborn refusal to use an iPad for things that I would normally only do on my laptop. Of course giving up my OS X-only tools means throwing out all of my hard-earned workflow “gains”. Now I’ll have to use apps that work well in both environments and sync nicely. It’s pointy-clicky-tap-pinch-and-zoom land from now on I guess. What about Hazel and Keyboard Maestro and Tmux and the rest? What about my little shell scripts and Applescripts that make things all slick and effortless?
Of course, I realize that it’s not an either/or proposition, but I know me. I’ll spend weeks refactoring my entire system to make room for the new iPad and reluctantly retiring a few beloved tools in the process. It’s bittersweet.
I can’t wait.