Monday, August 7, 2017

iPadOnly on 10.5” – is the new iPad Pro with iOS11 finally a serious setup for work?

While the title of this article might be phrased as a question, those who know me already know my answer, which is: “Of course, the iPad is already being used for work!” I’m unique that way because I’ve been using my iPad for work for more than five years now – since iOS6... Meanwhile, many people still don’t consider the iPad to be a “serious” machine for work. This article is dedicated to them.

Serious setup for work

Note: The following article appeared first in the July '17 issue of [iMagazine][iMagazine] - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

The new iPad Pro and iOS11

A few weeks ago at WWDC, Apple revealed its new 10.5” iPad Pro and previewed iOS11 which will be released to the general public in the fall. Since I’ve been following rumors for some time, eagerly waiting to get my hands on the new iPad, I ordered it on the day of its launch, and when it finally arrived I immediately installed the pre-release version of iOS11 (beta 2), and… I jumped into the future! Read on to check out how this combo really works...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

★ After unboxing the iPad Pro - first impressions: it's huge (duh!)

As a guy who co-wrote the #iPadOnly book I was naturally curious to see Apple launch a bigger iPad. After all, I switched to performing most of my computing tasks on an iPad years ago. Actually back in 2012 when I got my iPad 3. Now that the bigger brother is out I couldn't help but order it on day one. And here's what I think:

ipad pro size


That's the very first impression I got. Wow. It's like a tv screen. I didn't manage to buy any accessories for it as they're not available here in Europe so quickly yet, so I have a bare bones iPad without even a Smart Cover.

And the thing is huge. And heavy. Or maybe it's just strange to hold. I don't know. It's just strange to have a huge touch screen like this. It's of a size of my wife's 13 inch MacBook Pro.

It's weird

I feel a little more discomfort today having my iPad Air 2 compared to this thing, then when I switched from iPhone 5 to iPhone 6 Plus. I haven't regretted that change so I hope I won't regret this one. Today, on day 1 this thing feels too big for me.

I don't like the keyboard in the vertical orientation. It has a traditional computer layout rather than the iPad layout so the keys are small and I'm not writing as fast as I thought I would.

It's a new thing.... so it's a challenge!

Anyway, I'll give this big boy a go this next week. I'm setting up it from scratch and will start using it as my main computer this coming week. Let's see if it feels as weird later as it does today.

I just hope to fall in love with this just like Federico did. Need to get some sleep and let this big boy grow on me. I'll report back in a week or so.

Question: have you seen the iPad pro? Ordered one?

Sent from my iPad Pro

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

✔ Who is iPad Pro for? Me or you?

At the last keynote, Apple did not only show the new iPhones but also new iPads. It turns out that my Air 2 is still the best iPad in Apple's offer but only in its weight category. All because Apple introduced its big brother: iPad PRO. Let's explore today what is this new iPad all about, who it's for and if I'm getting one:

iPad Pro for whom

Note: The following article appeared first in the October'15 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

What is iPad Pro?

For a start, iPad Pro will be really big. The rumors have been confirmed. It will have an almost 13-inch display and will weigh the same as the first iPad. In comparison to my Air 2 it will be gigantic... Especially for those who, like me, already became used to the ideal 10-inch display and feather-light weight - I can hold my current iPad easily with one hand.

But now on to some bigger (pun intended) questions:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

★ My iPad setup. And accessories. How I get things done on my iOS devices.

Although I bought an enormous iMac 5K I still use my iOS devices as my main computers: my iPad Air 2 and my iPhone 6 Plus. I keep receiving questions about my setup. What keyboards I use? Which accessories I recommend to buy? I've talked all about it on my blog but let's put all the answers here:

My iPad setup


I still use my Logitech Ultrathin with my iPad. I just love typing on it. Here's my review of Logitech Ultrathin. I also use other keyboards from time to time.


I use a standard Smart Cover from Apple. I don't like bulky cases on my iPad. That's how I roll.


When I carry my Canon camera, I put my iPad inside the camera bag - it has a special place for the iPad.

When I just want to carry an iPad and nothing else, the Japanese messenger bag comes in handy.

Last but not least...

And when in my home office, I use the Dekke Slope stand. You can see it on the photos. It's very practical and it looks amazing.

I touch type even on glass. Thanks to the TapTyping app. Get this app, it'll help you be a really proficient iPad owner. And of course I encourage you to read my and Augusto's #iPadOnly book.

Question: how do you work on your iPad?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

✔ WWDC'14 - iOS8, Mac OSX Yosemite and our Nozbe 2.0 development = my crazy ideas :-)

Yesterday in San Francisco, Apple kicked off WWDC, a developer conference with big announcements regarding both of their operating systems. I watched the live-stream (couldn't attend) and was very impressed. In this post I'd like to share my thoughts on how these announcements will impact our Nozbe apps, and why I'm so excited about it. And there are so many ideas:

WWDC'14 - iOS8, Mac OSX Yosemite and our Nozbe 2.0 development

Note: The above Instagram picture of me installing iOS8 on my iPod touch and later my iPad mini, was the one of the most liked pics in my Instagram history. Being a geek myself, I do appreciate my "geeky" audience :-)

Now back to WWDC. Both of the OSes are impressive. The cloud component even more (something we've been talking about for a long long time), and the interaction between devices and apps on the devices perfectly blends with our "OneNozbe" strategy, so we're definitely on the right track with Nozbe 2.0, but there's more:

Monday, May 26, 2014

✔ iPad Pro? No, we don't need a hybrid but better processes and apps (and more RAM)

Note: The following article appeared fist in the March issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

We're almost there with WWDC (Apple's World Wide Develoeprs Conference) where they'll probably announce iOS8. Along with that the rumors start showing up of a a mysterious iPad Pro to be introduced later this year. As the big iPad's name has been changed to iPad Air it is very much likely Apple will release third iPad - by analogy to the Mac series. There are several theories circulating in the media. As I am writing this text on the iPad and as I use it for work almost all the time, I would like to organize my thoughts on the topic and encourage you to discuss this with me. Let's see what we'll come up with.

iPad Pro? No, we don't need a hybrid but better processes and apps

iPad PRO Hybrid 12"?

One of the most popular theories in this debate is the idea to create a hybrid. This would be a combination of MacBook Air and iPad Air - a 12-inch, touch screen laptop with a keyboard. Something like Microsoft Surface Pro. Joining two separate worlds of Mac OSX and iOS together in order to obtain a harmonious whole. Would it make any sense at all? Or wouldn't it? Let's find out:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

✔ Why my Macbook Pro is the last PC I'll ever buy or need

Note: The following article appeared fist in the February issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

I got myself a great gift last Christmas - a brand new Macbook Pro 13" with Retina display. It replaced my Mac Mini as the main home & office PC now. I use it whenever something needs to be done on "a real computer". As it is turned on all the time, I can always connect my iPad to it with LogMeIn. This Macbook is perhaps the last computer I'll ever buy. Here's why:

Why my Macbook Pro is the last PC I'll ever buy or need

Yearly upgrade cycles of my iOS devices

I upgrade my iPad and iPhone every year. I don't upgrade my PCs so often though. My Mac Mini was 2.5 years old when I swapped it with the new MacBook. And I didn't do that because it was too slow or too old or anything like that (i5 processor, 8GB RAM, fusion hard drive etc.). I simply realized I needed a laptop as my home & office PC because sometimes I have to work in another room and I couldn't move my Mac Mini back and forth easily.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

✔ iPad is just a PC? A kinda PC without keyboard? Or is it?

A few days ago I received a very nice email from one of #iPadOnly book readers - Jean-Michel: "I just subscribed to #ipadOnly, but it is because I'm not convinced at all :)" and he said that basically computers are just generic tools, like swiss-army knives... and that iPad is just a mobile computer, and because it lacks keyboard it's actually even a little worse than the "traditional" computers.

Great points, good questions. Let me address these in this post (writing on my iPad Air with iPad mini keyboard attached to it :-)

iPad PC

As you can read in my intro to the #iPadOnly book I was involved with the computers for a very long time. I got my first IBM PC XT when I was 10 and now I'm 34 so it's been a long ride. I switched to Mac in late 2008 and to the iPad in early 2012. That's why I have some background and prior experience with various computing setups and that's why I really believe the iPad is DIFFERENT than a traditional computer and it's changing the way we're approaching computing. For three big reasons. Let me explain:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Who can do their day job effectively on the iPad?

8 months ago I made a decision to start working on my iPad as my main computer. Over these months I got to know the strengths and weaknesses of the iOS platforms and although I still need to work on my Mac Mini from time to time, most of my day to day job is now done on my iPad. Can you get your work done on the iPad as well? Let's find out.

ipad only jobs

I'm an entrepreneur running Nozbe so I wear many "hats" in my job. I write a lot... and then as the "product guy" I design my product, get and give feedback to my developers and designers... and as a CEO I do some spreadsheets, presentations, email, IM, calls... and I blog, do social media and more... and I travel a bit. If the iPad fits my lifestyle, it's probable that it will fit yours... let's dive a little deeper into this:

Some jobs that can be done on the iPad:

1. CEO of a company

You can use the built-in for email as well as the Google's Gmail. I use both (Gmail mainly for a quick search). Spreadsheets - I use QuickOffice HD for Excel (with Dropbox and Numbers (synced via iCloud with my Mac). For presentations I've always been using Keynote and thanks to iCloud I put all of my past presentations there as well.

For keeping in touch with my team I use Nozbe (we communicate through comments attached to our tasks), iMessage, Facetime, Socialcast and Skype. iPad is a very well communicated device.

2. Writer

I write using AI Writer (synced via iCloud) and Nebulous (synced via Dropbox). iPad is perfect for writers as you can put the screen vertically (perfect for typing with an external keyboard) and the one-app-open-at-a-time paradigm helps you focus on writing instead of checking other stuff.

3. Blogger

Most platforms like Wordpress, Tumblr and others have dedicated blogging apps for the iPad now. And great web interfaces. I blog on my own platform that syncs my Dropbox files to the web, so it's even easier. And I use Markdown. Both apps I mentioned above support it. Moreover iPad has some of the best social media apps out there. I use Tweetbot, Twitter, Hootsuite, Facebook and Facebook Pages and Google+. iPad is a great social-media-blogger type of machine.

4. Traveler

10 hours batter life, half a kg weight, fits any purse (or man-purse for that matter), iPad is a fantastic device for traveling. I should know, last year I went on a trip to the USA without my laptop for the first time and didn't miss my good old MacBook Air. With dedicated travel apps for flight tracking, hotel booking, navigation and maps, it's hard not to make it the best traveler's friend.

5. Programmer

This is a tricky part. I do some of the programming still (not as much as I used to - my developers are a lot better than me!) and while I love Textastic app and the vertical screen, to really effectively program you need at least two screens (or a wide 27" screen like I have). That's why I do occasional programming on the iPad but for a longer coding session I still choose my Mac.

6. Product guy

I spend my days designing new features for Nozbe, testing what my programmers and designers have developed and sending lots of feedback. Thanks to great apps like Paper (where I sketch ideas), Skitch (where I draw visual feedback)

7. Busy professional

Well, that's me and you - a mixture of the above points. My experiment with going " iPad only" has been a success and I'm not coming back. I love the fact that I can take my iPad anywhere I want in my small man-purse and nobody really knows I have a real working machine with me at all times. I don't need to search for a power plug as I have more battery than I need for a full day's work. My iPad syncs perfectly with my iPhone through many cloud apps so I'm on top of things at all times.

Question: Is the iPad well suited for your job? Do you think iPad can work for you as the only device? Share your experiences below!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Syncing family in the cloud - two ways to set up iCloud with your spouse

Ever since I started working mostly on my iPad I tried to take advantage of all the goodies that iCloud brings with it. Especially I wanted to improve "collaboration" with my wife - to share calendars and contacts together while still having our unique devices. Although we're true geeks over here and I have an iPad, my wife has an iPad mini and we both have iPhones and both have Macbook Airs and a Mac Mini, we are not THAT unique. Many couples and marriages have both iOS devices and Macs so this article might be very useful for you. It took me quite a while to get this setup right. Here goes:


Why I wanted to share calendars and contacts with my wife

I've been a fan of syncing calendars and contacts already in the age of Nokia phones and infrared (do you remember what it was?). I remember putting my phone next to my laptop and hoping for the best. I didn't have to insert the contacts manually whenever I'd change a phone to a newer model. With iPhone we had the cable sync and later a MobileMe account (yes, I actually was paying for it). It worked great on a personal level.

However, when you're in a marriage, things get scheduled, you have more obligations (now with two kids, even more!) and because I work from home, my wife would assume I'd always be available for our family stuff. It was annoying to have her schedule a doctor's appointment in the middle of my conference call. Another problem were contacts. Questions like "Honey, do you have the number to that friend of..." were not uncommon. It had to stop.

I trust my wife. She trusts me. Let's have the same contacts and calendar information on all of our devices. As these are all iOS devices, let's do it via iCloud. This is how we did it.

iCloud ID, Apple ID and the works - how many you need and how many you can have?

Apparently you need an Apple ID (iCloud ID) for:

  • iCloud storage (data, photo stream)
  • Contacts, Calendar, Bookmarks and other settings
  • iMessage and Facetime
  • Apps and Music purchases

The thing is, you can have several Apple accounts for each of these things separately. You don't need to have "one iCloud/Apple account to rule them all". You can, but you don't have to. And that's the clue to more flexibility here.

A device needs to have one "mother" iCloud account

Each device (iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac) needs to have one "mother" account - the main iCloud account that supports its data, photo stream, backups and such. And then you can set up additional accounts for calendars, contacts, iMessage, Facetime and purchases... if you like. Here's how it looks like on the iPad:


There are two ways to set up family iCloud accounts

There are no "family iCloud" accounts per se, but you can mimic them in two ways:

  • Version 1 - you can set up your personal iCloud account as the "mother account" on your device and add a common iCloud account for additional syncing of contacts and calendars.
  • Version 2 - you can set up the same "mother" iCloud account on all family devices and personalize them with additional iCloud accounts on each of them (for iMessage and FaceTime).

Each version has its PROs and CONs. I initially set up my family's iCloud accounts as per version 1 and we had them like this for a few months. Last week we decided with my wife to change the setup to version 2. Here are some details:

Version 1 - Personal "mother" accounts with additional central account

We have three iCloud accounts - my wife's, mine and the "central" account. We use the central account (my old MobileMe account) as the account with our Address Book and Calendars. That's the basic setup.

Now, on each device that belongs to my wife I set up her iCloud account as the main account and mark that this device should sync everything with the iCloud except for Calendars and Contacts. I do the same for my devices.

Now, in each devices' section of "Mail, Calendars and Contacts" I add an additional iCloud account - our "common" iCloud account and tell the device to sync only Contacts and Calendars (and Reminders) there.

That's it. Now me and my wife see the same calendars and contacts but have separate iCloud accounts.

We also have a separate Apple account for Apps and Music purchases and I set this up on all of our devices, too (no need to buy music or apps twice, right?)

Benefits of this setup: You have separate bookmarks, separate data and separate photo streams. Sounds good, right?

Disadvantages of this setup: If you sync and backup to iCloud (and we do) and are running out of free 5GB space, you need to upgrade each account separately. It's more difficult to share photos (although now it's possible through shared photo streams)

Version 2 - central "mother" account with additional personal accounts

This is the other way round and this is something we switched to last week. First off, we wanted to share the same iCloud account for backups now that we have an additional iPad mini backing up to the iCloud and both of our iPhones. Second thing is that we wanted to have the same photo stream. My wife said she wouldn't mind seeing in the photo stream occasional screenshot of one of our apps or my other work-related stuff.

The thing is, that from now on we don't have to worry who's taking pictures of our family - if it's me or my wife with her iPhone. The photos go to the same stream (and they are also streamed to the iPhoto on our home Mac mini).

The same applies to "documents in the Cloud". I'm more of an iWork guy (and I use AI Writer for text files) and my wife is more of an MS Office kind of girl. We don't use the same apps so there is no problem with documents overlap.

I understand with this setup we give up a little more "privacy" but how much privacy do you really need in a marriage? We trust each other and the convenience of synced contacts, calendars and photo streams is enormous. We're loving it.

Apart from that I set up our personal iCloud accounts as accounts for iMessage and Facetime. This way my wife has the same unique and personal iCloud account on her iPhone and iPad mini and MacBook Air and I have my personal iCloud account set up on all of my devices.

Recently my wife complained a little about the amount of contacts I accumulated over the years (especially business-wise) so I decided to move these to the address book on my personal iCloud account. This way our "common" Address book is slimmer and consists of mostly people we frequently talk to.

Benefits of this setup: More integration, common photo stream and backing up all of the devices to the same iCloud account - if we need more space, we can upgrade just one "mother" account.

Disadvantages of this setup: Less privacy as you share photo streams and documents.

You can set up the iCloud accounts for family usage - and there are two ways to do it - choice is yours

We tried both versions and we decided to stick with version 2 for more convenience and better "family collaboration". We're loving the setup so far. With iCloud it's so great that everything just works and our devices are in sync. The benefits of not having to ask your spouse about "that phone number" or scheduling conflicts in the calendar are great and make our lives more convenient.

Do you sync calendars or contacts with your spouse? How do you set up your iDevices or Android phones so that you can be more "in sync"? Any tips? Something I missed?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Part 16 - why I (still) need a Mac Mini - iPad as my main computer

I received lots of positive responses to my last blog post about my new 2012 home office where I highlighted how I had to redesign my home office to accommodate my two new working habits: working most of the time standing and going iPad-only. However there were a few questions about my setup - mainly why do I need a Mac Mini with a giant Thunderbolt Display when I'm usually working on my iPad... In this post you'll know why:


I work on my iPad 80% of the time so I still need a "normal computer"

I'm a computer geek and a founder of a software / productivity company so how can I test our Mac or Windows versions of Nozbe if I don't have a computer? How can I test other software and see where the industry is going if I don't have it? Even though I no longer need a "traditional computer" for day to day work so much, I still need it. But it goes beyond that, I use my Mac Mini in many different ways that compliment the iPad.

Why not to use my MacBook Air hooked to my display rather than a Mini?

Before we dive into my usage of Mini, let me explain this one - Mini is a desktop computer and it's ON all of the time. Like, 100% of the time. Like, 24 / 7 / 365 of the time. My MacBook Air is a "portable computer" that can be unplugged, moved, used somewhere else, put to sleep... etc. And I need a computer to be ON all of the time in my home office. I even bought a special UPS device to keep it powered up even if the electricity goes down at my home for a few minutes. My Mac Mini is ON all of the time and it's there waiting to be used... and being used... now let me tell you in how many ways I use it.

My Mac Mini compliments my iPad and does so much more

1. Mini syncs my "clouds" locally

My iPad only setup is a cloud setup where I use Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud and other cloud services. It's all nice and sweet, but call me paranoid and I like to have a local copy of my "clouds" in my home. My Mini is on all of the time and has all these services turned on and syncs everything locally all of the time. I add an Evernote note? It syncs to my Mini. I upload something to Dropbox? Box? Google Drive? It syncs there. This way I have a local copy of everything I do on my iPad right there on my Mini. And the Mini is being backed up to Time Capsule securely every few hours every day so I even have a second local copy of everything.

2. Mini runs "LogMeIn" with M$ Office for Mac and other apps

Because my Mini is running all of the time, it has a LogMeIn session open all of the time, as well. This way I can log in to my Mini and see its desktop from anywhere in the world. I can fire up a fully-working MS Office Word or Excel file if it renders so-so on my iPad and other apps that still are not working well (or do not exist) on the iPad. I have also access to all of the files I have so I can copy something to the "cloud" if I don't have it there yet for some reason.

3. GIT and Dropbox and Textasitc

Speaking of apps that still work poorly on the iPad, it's hard for me to get the latest versions of our source code on the iPad from GIT. I can access GitHub repositories but it's still not the same as getting all the source code locally. With my Mac Mini running GIT software I can pull the files from GIT to my Mini and they'll automatically sync with my Dropbox and later I can code on the iPad using Textastic and push them to the GIT later. It's a geeky setup and I don't code as much anymore, but it's useful to have my Mini as my "code management" computer.

4. Heavy Lifting and scanning... and printing

Although I try to edit all of my Productive Show videos on my iPhone or on my iPad directly, sometimes I need to edit them a little more on the Mac. My Mac Mini has 8GB of RAM and is powerful enough for such tasks. I use it for video editing, photo management and other tasks that still make it better than the iPad. I use it basically for all the "heavy lifting" tasks.

I have a multi-purpose printer and my Mini runs an "AirPrint" server on it so that I can print stuff directly from the iPad. The Mini is also connected to the scanner so that I can scan the documents using Image Capture app and put them in my Evernote or Dropbox (depending on the files). Mini is my "back-end" :-)

5. Background flows

Apart from syncing my clouds, the Mini can later do something with these files. I have set up a number of "Automator tasks" (Automator is an amazing "batch creation" tool that helps you create automated scripts on the Mac) that run in the background. This way when I upload a video file to the Mini, it uploads it to appropriate folders and web servers without me clicking anything. In the background. It does a lot more, but the flows I design for the Mini make my iPad even more powerful. It just works in the background and does all the magic there :-)

6. Mini is our "home computer"

It's a Mac, so I set up several accounts there and if someone from the family wants to use a computer, it's there for them to use. It has fast internet, Skype, Facetime camera and other goodies so anyone can use it. It's there if someone really needs it and they do sometimes.

7. Increasingly important in my transition period to the iPad

I'm working 70-80% of the time on the iPad. And I'm aiming at 90% for the 2013 and maybe even more than that. But for the time being I still need my Mini to help me make the transition smooth and painless. If I need to get something done quickly on a traditional computer, it's there for me. I expect to use it less and less each month but it's my backup computer and as I for the reason I mentioned above it gives me a piece of mind and the fact that it syncs all of the "cloud" work I do to my local file system is a nice bonus.

And my MacBook Air? I don't know. I still use it from time to time but now that my office is Mini and iPad based, it's starting to collect dust. We'll see what I do with it next year.

How do you use your "traditional computer"? What do you think I should (or shouldn't) use Mini for? Do you have your "Mini" in your home office?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Part 15 - why iPhone matters - iPad as my main computer

Last week I watched the keynote where Apple showed off their newest generation of iPhone, the iPhone 5. Before unveiling their "new baby" they reminded us of some great statistics concerning the adaption of iOS and "iDevices" in general... and this prompted me to write this blog post - to highlight to you how going iPad-only is easy when you are an iPhone user. Here's why:


My iPhone 4s and the new iPad are made for each other

First off, both the iPhone and the iPad use the same operating system - iOS, which in many cases means the same (or very similar apps), the same file system (or lack thereof), the same cloud services and practically the same workflows. It's very easy to set up the iPhone the same way you set up your iPad - with very similar home screens with apps.

Now, thanks to iCloud, Dropbox and other syncing mechanisms, most of these apps can "talk to each other" and stay in sync. This way, you can very easily start your work on the iPad and finish it off on the iPhone. And the other way round. This happens to me all of the time.

Some apps I use on both the iPhone and the iPad:

I've got the same email accounts set up on both iPhone and iPad's Mail app. I use Reeder to read RSS news and Pocket to read the articles I saved for later; I use Evernote to store and access my notes, I use Nozbe on both devices (duh!), Dropbox and apps that sync using Dropbox (like 1Password for passwords and Nebulous writer for my texts), I access Facebook, Twitter (using Tweetbot for iPhone and iPad), Pinterest, Socialcast and other social apps as well. And Skype too (making my iPad a giant telephone :-) And these are just a few examples that come to my mind. There are a lot more apps that I use on both platforms.

Why it makes sense to work on both the iPad apps and the iPhone

  1. I don't need to take my iPad everywhere... and still can be productive. As I mentioned on one of my Productive! Show episodes it makes perfect sense to forget a laptop or even iPad and just take a smartphone on a business trip and still be productive. Although my "iPad only" bag is pretty small I'm very often surprised how much I can get done on my iPhone only. Just because it has the similar apps as my iPad.

  2. I'm used to working with constraints... when you go iPad only - so working on an iPhone is no more a problem. Before I started my iPad only experiment I was already getting some stuff done on my iPhone... but now that I'm mostly iOS-based as I work on my iPad most of the time, working on the iPhone is not a big deal so again, I can just leave home with my iPhone in my pocket and still get a lot stuff done if I need to just on this small device. I have the same flows defined on my iPad as the iPhone, after all.

  3. iPhone has some "other apps" that are very useful at times. Still, there are more iPhone apps than the iPad apps out there - and sometimes I even get to the point that I install an iPhone-only app on my iPad to use it infrequently there "scaled", because I need it so badly, but most of the time I just keep those on the iPhone only. Again, that's a great thing about the iOS - you can install iPhone apps on the iPad... they just look very weird. But they are there if I need them.

The last argument - the look-and-feel is the same

That's the thing. I can't imagine working on the iPad and using and Android or Windows phone. I do have both of these phones for testing purposes and I do need to use my Android phone from time to time, but my main phone is the iPhone. And its look-and-feel is almost exactly the same as the iPad's - and this boosts my productivity as well. I don't need to adjust to a different menu, set of apps, anything else... when I'm on the iPhone. The only thing I have to adjust to is the small screen. And nothing else.

How do you like your iPhone/iPad combo? Would you give up one of these or do you think they're made for each other?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Part 14 - AppleTV air-plays magically - iPad as my main computer

Over the course of my iPad only trip I've found many other "peripherals" help me get the job done. You've seen my iPad gadget bag with all of my cables and stuff I take on every business trip. But there is a small (and relatively cheap) device from Apple that makes the iPad shine even more:


The AppleTV - your external iPad only monitor

I've highlighted many times over that having two monitors can double your productivity and while I've stayed single-monitor only for the last few months because I enjoy "focused" productive work on a single screen of my iPad, I very often need additional screen estate. This is where AppleTV comes in.

AppleTV - not only for shows, Netflix, Hulu and iTunes

Well, I have two AppleTVs - one in the living room and one in the bedroom - and while I use them mostly for watching movies or TV shows (and being a movie geek I'm iTunes, Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriber) I recently found a great way of using the AppleTV for much more than entertainment thanks to the magic of AirPlay.

AirPlay on AppleTV adds more magic to the iPad

AirPlay is a technology that enables you to stream via wireless network what you're seeing on your iPad (or iPhone - and I use both). It works like magic - you watch a video clip on your iPad and you click... and "bam" - you're seeing it now on the big screen attached to your AppleTV. Whenever I show this to someone, they can't believe it. I hear lots of WOW's right there.

My favorite way of using AirPlay is streaming YouTube videos to my screen - whether they are Glee songs I found on my iPhone for my daughter or Ted presentations for myself. I prefer to watch these on the big screen - it's a totally different experience.

Note: With Mountain Lion AirPlay is also available on the Mac, but it's a lot more fun on the iPad or iPhone.

AirPlay and Productivity - mirroring beyond YouTube :-)

Here's how I've recently been using AirPlay to boost my productivity on my iPad (and have some fun in the process) - by doing AirPlay mirroring (meaning - showing exactly what I see on my iPad... on that other screen) of what I do on my iPad:

  • Brainstorming - recently with a friend of mine we've been brainstorming about a project. I could quickly draw or write stuff on my iPad and we'd interact by him seeing what I was doing and correcting me on the fly. Totally better than him leaning over my shoulder and trying to see what I do on my small-ish 10 inch screen.
  • Shopping with my wife - we do shopping online and when we do it, I pull out my iPad, mirror it to our screen in our bedroom and she quickly tells me what to buy when I pull out our shopping list. We do shopping like this very very quickly.
  • Social browsing - same goes when I want to browse some web sites with my team or friends (or wife again) - I mirror the iPad's screen and we browse this together and comment on what we're seeing.
  • Photo-shows - watching photos together, deciding which to keep and which have to go on the iPad is beyond fun. Especially that I have my entire Photostream (from my iPhone) automatically there on the iPad. Beyond cool.
  • Keynote Presentations - I'll be recording some new presentations for Nozbe and our upcoming productivity course... and I'm using Keynote on the iPad and stream stuff through AirPlay to the projector screen.
  • Seeing a bigger picture - sometimes I just want to see something on bigger screen to think about it. I pull it out and look at it from a slightly bigger perspective (my 42" LCD is much bigger than the iPad :-)

AppleTV is not a toy... but it is!

If you're serious about your productivity and about going wireless, and are using iPad as I do (or even an iPhone) - make sure to get at least one of these boxes. They're relatively cheap ($99) and they work like magic.

AppleTV is fun and powerful on its own. With AirPlay it's extremely powerful and makes my day every time I use it.

Have you ever tried AirPlaying through an AppleTV? Or maybe other device? What did you do? Did you find it useful? Or fun? Or both?

Best regards,

- Michael

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Part 13 - KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid! - iPad as my main computer

With so many posts about the iPad many folks still don't trust me when I say working mainly on the iPad is a really fun and joyful experience and it makes my day... every single day. The promise of a simpler setup, consumer/creator device that switches from a computer to a reading/watching machine, easy flows that get the job done, better browsing experience and amazing portability... well, it's hard to convince everyone but I can say honestly I'm not going back to a traditional computer. It's the "zen" feeling again:


I've simplified my wardrobe and home office

Seems unrelated, but I do like "zen minimalism" and I like the fact of having less stuff and less gadgets and cleaner workspace... I went down to less than 100 objects in my home office (and going further down now to about 70) and ~140 pieces of clothing and only 10 pairs of shoes (and going further down now to about 100 clothes total). It still sounds like a lot, but count yours. You'll be surprised :-)

The fact of the matter is that not only I have less stuff, but I'm more aware of what I really have, I know where the stuff belongs (I stopped asking "where did I put this?") and thus I enjoy it a lot more.

Now I've simplified my working machine

I kinda did. I still own a Mac Mini and a Macbook Air and I'm still struggling which to keep (I guess the Air will have to go), but I know where I do the work is on my iPad. Because I've set up many "flows" and "simplified" and "shortcut'ed" many things, I tend to do less of "administrative stuff" and more of "higher-level" stuff.

Focusing on doing the great work

The initial switch was hard, as you've seen over my last posts, I've invested lots of hours into thinking "how do I do that?", "how do I simplify this?" and eventually I found the way. Now I'm in the moment where I just take my iPad and go - I do great work - I focus on the work and not on the "administrative" stuff like file management, document management, email management... I focus on writing, reading, posting, watching... you know, the stuff that actually makes a difference.

Would I be able to do it on my laptop? Of course I would. But because my laptop is so powerful, I was never inclined to make a radical shift of moving most of my stuff to the cloud, simplifying my setup, setting up more shortcuts... and of course I wouldn't have the additional benefits of the iPad like portability, the pleasure of touching things and much much more.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid!

Switching to the iPad forced me to simplify many things. Forced me to cut out many chores I was doing on my computer. Forced me to go "zen". And changed my computing life and... kinda forced me to enjoy it even more than I did before (c'mon, I was working on a beautiful Macbook Air, I shouldn't complain, right?). It forced me to simplify. Less is more.

When was the last time you have re-thought your computing setup?

I mentioned in the very beginning how exciting it was to go iPad only. I remembered back in late 2008 when I bought my first Mac and had to change and simplify many things I was doing on my Windows machine. It felt very similar now with the switch to the iPad. But even more so, as the iPad is the future of "simple" computing... but this new kind of simple computing that can do a lot more than you'd have thought. And what do you think?

P.S. As all of my posts these days, I sent it from my iPad (writing on an external keyboard and iPad in a vertical view)... but you knew that, right? :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Part 12 - web sites as apps (appification?) - iPad as my main computer

We've covered many aspects of my iPad-only journey in this series of articles but as they say, the deeper you go... Today I'd like to talk about another aspects of the iPad that makes it such a joy to use. It's the appification (is that a word?) of the web - meaning more and more web sites now have their own iPad apps - and it's really great. Why? Well, for a number of reasons:


The apps are made-for and thought-about the iPad

Many web sites from established players just collected so much dust over the years that they really suck. I mean seriously, they look bad. Just go to IMDB, eBay, Amazon... and many others. They seem like they're stuck in the 90s enjoying the first Internet gold rush. We're in 2012 people, where's HTML5, CSS3, people, responsive web design? Well, it's not there.

But... they have dedicated iPad apps that rock!

I am a movie-freak so I naturally looooove the IMDB (the Internet Movie Database) but I hate their web site... but I love their iPad app. It's sweet, high-res and lets me learn all about the movies I'm about to watch, the actors, see (and queue) the trailers and much much more. Same applies to Techcrunch - I no longer subscribe to their RSS channel, I just fire up the app and read a few trending topics. Great job there. And recently I was searching for a flat to rent for some friends so instead of firing up the web site, I checked if the company had an iPad app and they had, and it worked with my GPS position and the browsing experience of the flats was just amazing. A lot better than on their web site.

Here are some advantages of these apps:

  • iPad-like navigation - swipe, scroll, tap... perfect browsing experience on the iPad. Although I'd love all the web sites to adapt responsive web design (like we do at Nozbe) they usually don't - but their apps do :-)
  • retina-ready - unlike their web sites, the graphics are already retina-ready for my new iPad and look completely stunning.
  • one-tap access - no bookmarking - they are on my home screen, with easy access, usually even support app-switching very nicely. Great stuff. Use them more and more.

There are mediocre examples, too, but they keep getting better

Yes, I'm talking to you GoDaddy! I have lots of domains with you and the premise of managing them directly on my iPad is great but your app doesn't support app-switching, doesn't remember my password, doesn't support retina and is darn slow - get it fixed, please.

Appification is good for you

If you're stuck in a laptop land, you don't get the benefits of these great apps and it came to me as an additional incentive, simplification and surprise. I just love it and hope many more web sites come on board and follow suit. Keep them coming! Let's appify (again, not a word) the Internet :-)

And which iPad apps do you use instead of their web sites?