I’ve never been a big user of Apple products. Like many people, I find the higher prices a barrier for entry to the revered “ecosystem” (especially when I can buy a Lenovo ThinkPad Edges series for a fraction of the cost!) There’s no doubt they create a great user experience, through the marriage of quality hardware with tailored software, but I’ve never felt the need to enter into that world – until now.
My goal: achieve a high-quality digital inking experience for minimal cost.
The why of this purchase: I’ve found that integrating inking-capable devices into my workflows engages me far more in content or planning, and encourages greater cognition of the core ideas going on; all while allowing the flexibility of using digital medium. This personal experience validates – at least in my own mind – much of the research and around the process of writing being superior to typing alone.
Disclaimer: Just a discussion of my device preferences and how a device for inking fits into that. Different things work for different people, and I enjoy seeing different perspectives. Enjoy with a grain of salt 🙂
I already have my ThinkPad E570 from last year, which provides a mobile computing experience I enjoy with the larger 15.6″ display and upper-medium tier specs. I find anything less than 14-15″ is two small for me to see enough at once, especially when talking about “traditional” desktop operating systems like Windows 10. It’s also easily docked to peripherals when at the desk.
Having tried a few different two-in-one, convertible devices, I found that all have major compromises, especially when compared with other options. For tablet-oriented, Microsoft Surface-esque devices – the prioritisation of the tablet experience leaves the laptop-configuration experience lacking, with the smaller screen and floppy keyboard making lap use interesting. With the alternate 360-degree, convertible laptops – the device becomes too heavy and unwieldly to comfortably use as a tablet, and as a laptop, the screen is often on the smaller side, especially for those accustomed to using a larger display.
That leaves standalone tablet devices. Fortunately, Apple came to the rescue releasing the 6th generation of iPad in March 2018 adding Apple Pencil support with a focus on education! Coming in at a very-accessible $439 (AUD, education price) this was the device for me; the only downside being the Apple Pencil was another $129.
Having operated primarily in a Microsoft environment for the last few years, I’m keen to dip my toes into the world of Apple. Although I’ll be making use of my trusty OneNote notebooks, I’m looking forward to see what Apple’s latest offering can do for education.
The plan is to have a great, dedicated (and highly-portable) tablet experience while still having the “proper computer” functionality with the dedicated laptop. All at a price comparable (or less!) than a single convertible device. It helps that I rarely leave home without my trusty Targus backpack…
The iPad is ordered and shipped! I’m planning on writing a follow-up piece commenting on my experience in 6 months. Be sure to follow on Twitter so you don’t miss out.
Follow-up piece: Six months with an iPad + Apple Pencil