Since January 2017 I’ve been an iPad Pro user. For a short period I even made it my primary computer.
It’s become one of the most important tools I have as a Product Designer. Each week I use it to create sketches during the research and conceptual stages of a project.
There are some situations where my MacBook Pro is better as a tool, and other times I prefer my iPhone or iPad.
I’ve tried the 9.7″, 10.5″, 11″, and 12.9″ iPads. Each time I return to the largest screen size. Anything smaller doesn’t work for me. Mainly I choose the bigger screen because I don’t have to zoom in and out of the paper when I’m sketching. Having a larger canvas helps me spend more time concepting and designing.
Following are the reasons I love my iPad.
As a sketching device
Before owning an iPad I sketched a lot with paper and pen. Now I have a digital piece of paper with copy+paste, as well as resize and layering.
This doesn’t mean paper and pen are obsolete. There are still times I need to step away from all electronics and scribble away on paper.
I’ve tried nearly all sketching and drawing apps for the iPad. Linea Sketch is the best for what I need. It has layering, resizing, copy and paste, snapping lines, grids, and simple drawing tools.
Once watercolor becomes a feature I’ll be in love.
As a reading device
This is one area where a smaller iPad is better. I don’t spend large amounts of time reading on this screen, think articles versus books. Anything less than about 15 minutes works well here. If I want to read an interesting article or Google Doc I’ll often open the link on my iPad instead of my MacBook Pro.
This actually helps break up my day! Getting to read on the iPad means I can lean back for a bit and pull away from my desk.
As a notation device
It almost feels like cheating when I use the iPad to redline a document or article. Since I work remotely we pass a lot of Google Docs back and forth between the team. When I’m reviewing something for a colleague I’ll save it as a PDF and open it in Notability. From there I’ll pull out my Apple Pencil and scribble across the document with red lines and notes.
Writing comments with a keyboard in Google docs is fast. But there are times when I want to think through something and write my thoughts by hand. This is where it it’s fun for me. I can again lean back (there’s a theme here) and absorb what’s on the page, giving feedback as I go.
As a consumption device
The iPad is my favorite way to watch videos. Watching on TV is too much hassle, watching on my phone is too small, and watching on my laptop is overkill.
When I’m watching a video for work (or for fun) I like to prop it up on the iPad and play it on my desk or lap.
As a gaming device
Long gone are the days of PC gaming. At least for now. As for console games, I own a SNES Classic.
In the evenings I love propping my iPad up on a pillow, sitting on my couch, and playing a game. Right now I’m enjoy PUBG Mobile. The experience on a 12.9″ screen is perfect.