Wednesday, August 30, 2017

💡 Essential iPad Pro accessories for an #iPadOnly life

As I do most of my work on the iPad (and wrote an #iPadOnly book all about it), people keep asking me a few questions every now and then: Can the iPad Pro be really used for work? or How should I set up my new iPad Pro? or Why switching to iPad might make sense for me? or Which apps do you use on your iPad Pro? or... Which iPad Pro accessories are most essential for you? - and that’s the question I’d like to answer with this short article:

Essential iPad Pro accessories for an #iPadOnly life

iPad Pro 10.5" with Smart Keyboard Cover

Over my years of testing iPads I’ve had several iPad keyboards - from Logitech to Zagg but what I really like about the default Apple’s Smart Keyboard Cover is the fact that it’s barely there - it’s very thin and doesn’t require charging or Bluetooth connection - and it’s with me all the time and just like a typical Smart Cover - protects my screen. And yes, I prefer the smaller iPad 10.5" over the big one.

Apple Pencil with pencil holder glued to the iPad

I love Apple Pencil and how it lets me just draw on the iPad without any friction or lag. It’s really cool. And with iOS11 the annotation functions are even better - I’ve switched to iOS11 "Files" app to store and markup my PDFs and "Notes" app to draw handwritten notes. I still use Evernote for all the other notes.

I have the Apple Pencil attached with Leuchtturm1917 Pen Loop and thanks to this solution my Apple Pencil is always with me. The only downside is that when the pencil is so close to the iPad, it drains the battery quickly... and there’s no on/off switch on the pencil...

Messenger Bag with Powerbank and AirPods inside

I still use the same Messenger Bag which I bought when I was in Japan - you can see it in this video and I have a big Powerbank inside with a short 4-inch (10 cm) Lightning cable in case I run out of juice at some point during the day.

And yes, I have my AirPods with me at all times - they work with both my iPhone and iPad.

Need to know more about my iPad gadgets - this old video is still pretty much relevant

Question: Which gadgets do you use with your iPad or iPhone?

Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus

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...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

📢 How setting up a new iPad Pro for work can is an exercise in minimalism and focus

The Minimalists coined a term “Packing Party” - which basically means that you pack all of your belongings to boxes like if you were to move to a different house and later you only unpack the things you really need... the same thing is happening to me and my new iPad Pro and iOS11 on it.

Minimal iPad for work - how setting up an iPad Pro can be an exercise in minimalism and focus

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. You should follow me there (and recommend my posts :-), thanks!

Setting up a new device from scratch vs getting it from a backup...

Whenever I set up a new device - iPhone, iPad or a Mac - to maximize my productivity and reduce the pain of not having everything set up correctly, I do two things:

  1. I backup the old device and shut it down.
  2. I boot up the new device and restore it from the old backup.

That’s it. Two steps. Done. Easy, right?

The result is that after a short while my new device has the same apps, settings and data as my old one had. I can almost instantly continue working the same way I used to. Almost no productivity downtime. Which is great.

Except when it isn’t.

You see, this two step process is a quick win, but comes with major drawback:

It restores everything from my old device, including the crap that I kept there and wasn’t ever going to use anymore... basically, it comes with my apps, settings, data... and crap. It also comes with my old habits.

Let’s do it the hard way - and set everything from scratch!

Here’s how (and why) I did it:

Monday, June 19, 2017

💡 7 Reasons why switching to the iPad as your main computer is not just about the iPad Pro and iOS11...

Now that Apple unveiled the new 10,5" iPad Pro (which I'm going to un-box this coming Wednesday - can't wait!) and announced some cool new ipad-only iOS 11 features, people again are flirting with a thought of using iPad for more serious work... and they'll be disappointed unless they actually change their mindset!

Switching to the iPad as your main computer is not just about the iPad Pro and iOS11...

I actually wrote about this quite recently and also in the past in my #iPadOnly book but let me repeat that again:

if you think that because you can get stuff done on your iMac or MacBook and after buying and iPad Pro you'll be able just to pick it up and use it as productively as your Mac, you're wrong.

iPad requires a change of the mindset. It's iOS, not macOS.

Again, I've written about it exetensively in my #iPadOnly book. Even though my book was written for the iOS6 era it still makes great points on why iOS is different, so let me give you the 7 reasons why it takes a bit of effort to be productive on the iPad:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

✔️ A complete list of iPad apps that let me be #iPadOnly

This post will be really geeky, but you'll love it - an updated list of my productivity iPad Apps! Here's the backstory: a few years back I co-wrote a book iPadOnly - How to use only your iPad to work, play and everything in between where I recommended a set of apps that help me get everything done on the iPad. In the meantime I got my iPad Pro and I kept updating this blog with my impressions of iPad Pros and iPadOnly work and I've also posted a list of apps I use on my iPhone but as lots of people keep asking me about this, here's a list of the iPad apps I use now to get things done and make it my main productivity workhorse.

A complete list of iPad apps that let me be #iPadOnly

Bonus: experiment with app layout

Before we move on to the list of apps, as you can see on the screenshot of my iPad above, I've decided to experiment a little with my app layout recently. I just hated it that I had apps on different screens and was very often tempted to get distracted when I wanted to write something but opened the Twitter app as it was just "on the way" to my writing app... so I started using folders as my "focused environments" and group my apps together. These groups give me a few benefits, like:

  • groups are focused on "jobs to be done" so I can concentrate on what I need to do, like writing, reading, etc.
  • groups create order so I don't install too many apps on my iPad and don't bloat it
  • groups fit on one screen, so at a glance I basically see all the apps I've got
  • groups leave some empty space so I can use a nice inspiring background - a photo of San Sebastián I took when I was on vacation with my family :-)

OK, here's the list of all of my apps from these groups:

Monday, November 28, 2016

✔ How “baby” iPad Pro became my computer of the year 2016

I’m writing this article just before Apple’s MacBook Pro event. It’s about time. Many of my colleagues can’t wait to replace their old MacBook Pros with the new models. I’m not that impatient, since I already picked my computer of the year. It's my 10-inch iPad Pro, which I call “baby Pro.” About a month ago I wrote about my hesitation about which iPad I should continue to use. I started having doubts about whether the large, 13-inch iPad Pro is doing a good job as my main computer. After more than three months of tests, I finally chose the winner. It’s the smaller iPad Pro, and in this article I’d like to tell you why. As a bonus, I’ll tell you how my #iPadOnly workflow looks right now with the example of writing this article... on my favorite iPad.

baby iPad

Note: The following article appeared first in the 6/2016 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

✔ There are two iPads: a big one, and a small one. But which one is better for me?

Last fall Apple released the 13-inch iPad Pro. I bought it straight away. I also had to get a new bag because suddenly I needed to carry around a device the size of Macbook Air. Slowly, I began to get used to the large iPad. I even got used to the Smart Keyboard, which I wrote about in one of my previous articles. I figured that if I wanted to be #iPadOnly, I needed to have the best iPad available. But is it really the best?


Note: The following article appeared first in the 9/2016 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

The two Pro iPads

In the spring, Apple made a very interesting move. It released the “baby Pro” – an iPad Pro the size of an iPad Air 2. It also came with the Smart Cover keyboard and pencil. Many people started saying that they found the 10-inch version more appealing. I started to wonder whether they were right... so as soon as the first beta of iOS 10 was released, I had the perfect excuse to buy the smaller iPad Pro to test Apple's new operating system. Suddenly, two iPads appeared in my home office. So, what now? Which iPad was better for work?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

✔ It’s been 4 years since I went #iPadOnly but the real era of iPads has just begun

When I went on vacation to the United States in 2012, only bringing my iPad 3 with Retina display with me, my colleagues from work and friends were astonished. They knew me well and knew that I didn’t go anywhere without my MacBook Air. And then, all of a sudden, I left it at home, bringing only my iPad for my two-week trip... saying I’d be trying to “work” on it from time to time. A few months later I was already #iPadOnly. The iPad 4 I got that fall officially became my main computer for work. That was also when I came up with the idea to write a book about using the iPad for work.

iPad and scrivener

Note: The following article appeared first in the 8/2016 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

Along with my friend Augusto Pinaud, I published the book “#iPadOnly” in summer 2013. Although we wrote it on our iPads, we put it together in Scrivener on the Mac. We were disappointed that we couldn’t complete the whole process on iPad. Well, not anymore:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

✔ My #NozbeOffice - what's my desk like? What helps me get things done?

On our Nozbe blog we started an action showing our offices. We also asked our users on Twitter with hashtag #NozbeOffice and it's amazing to see how and where people get their things done. So in the spirit of sharing my home office space I decided to write this blog post explaining why my home office in 2016 looks like this - because everything is here for a reason:

Michael's Nozbe Office

My 2016 home office setup in a nutshell:

Ikea height-adjustable desk, iMac 5K with Microsoft Sculpt keyboard and Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, iPad Pro with Logitech Ultrathin keyboard and Apple Pencil... and lastly my iPhone 6S Plus (taking the picture). And a mug with my hometown (Gdynia) name on it.

Now, why I use these devices? Here goes:

Monday, November 23, 2015

✔ Can the iPad Pro substitute a laptop? Well... Yes. And No.

Now that the iPad Pro is out and I've been using it for the last week or so, many people have been asking if it can finally be a laptop replacement. If people can now finally ditch their Macbooks and embrace the new era of touch-devices for most of their computing needs. Well, it depends who you ask:

My iPad Pro

iPad Pro can surely substitute any other iPad

It has for me at least. I already see the benefits of the bigger screen. I already "get" the "split view" apps and I enjoy working like I used to in the era of "Norton Commander" (OK, many people who are younger than me won't get the joke - basically it was a two-pane file manager in the era of DOS... long time ago).

More screen estate, more power, two vertical iPad-size apps at once in the "split view" mode... and yes - this iPad has already replaced my iPad Air 2. But can it replace a Mac?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

★ Using my age-old Zagg keyboard with my iPad Pro

Sometimes things just have to run a full circle. Before I wrote the #iPadOnly book with my friend Augusto, I started a series on this blog... And it all began with me getting an iPad 3 and a ZaggKeys Flex Keyboard and a decision to make the iPad my main computing device. Now, today when I was working in a cafe, my setup looked like this:

ipad pro and zagg keys

I bought this keyboard 3,5 years ago for my iPad 3. I've gone through iPad 4, iPad Air and iPad Air2... up until I got my iPad pro.

I've had different keyboard throughout this time: Logitech Ultrathin for iPad4, Ultrathin for iPad Air... And I've given away my Zagg to my mom when I gave her my trusty iPad 3 (she still loves it!).

Last Christmas I noticed she wasn't using the external keyboard so I decided to get my Zagg back and try it again. It is very compact, very light and its cover transforms to an iPad stand that can even support the huge iPad pro (see above). And as I don't intend to buy this new Smart Cover with keyboard, my trusty Zagg keyboard will find its use once again. The very same keyboard that converted me to the #iPadOnly life...

A full circle...

Question: are you using a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad? Which one?

Sent from my iPhone 6S Plus

Thursday, October 22, 2015

★ Web browsing is dead on mobile? Or how I planned my vacation on my iPad without the web...

I'm a big fan of the open web. I built Nozbe initially only for the web. I blog here on my own domain. Before Nozbe I was a web developer. However the trend is changing and I experienced it first hand this week when I was planning my fall holidays with my family in the UK. I organized everything with the apps!

apps I used

A few weeks ago I booked my flights with Ryanair iPhone app. I will check in with this app tomorrow. I found our dream house on AirBnB with their iPad app. I booked a night in a hotel on our way to the house with app.

As to navigation I'll have my Navigon app ready with points of interest already planned in the app.

I even secured my car rental with Enterprise app - they offer very good rates there. I actually tried to rent my car by visiting a few web sites but they looked really bad on my iPad. So I just downloaded the app and then the booking took me only a few minutes.

Seriously, I was surprised how little I used the web in the process and how I depended on the apps for my iPad and how superior the app experience has been. The world is changing...

Question: do you use apps or the web?

Sent from my iPad Air 2

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:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

★ Hello, I'm Michael and I have 5 iPads...

We're about to publish the next episode of The Podcast where we talk about the latest Apple event and we discuss the newest iPad Pro... And then Radek asks me about my iPad. And it's not like I have only one:

my iPads

Let's start in order of appearance:

iPad 1 (64GB) - yes we still use a 5-year old iPad. Actually my daughters use it for watching movies and playing games. It's still a great device for both of these purposes.

iPad mini 1 (16GB cellular) I bought for testing iOS7 two years ago. It's running iOS9 today and I still keep it around for testing.

iPad mini 2 (64GB cellular) my wife's iPad of choice. Completely replaced her Kindle. She carries it in her purse and reads all her books on this.

iPad Air (64 GB cellular) my previous iPad. I haven't sold it last year and kept it around as our "household" iPad. Also gaming device for my daughters (when games require the latest iOS).

iPad Air 2 (64GB cellular) my "only" iPad. My main computer. This is where I get my job done.


My wife's iPad Air 2 provided by her employer. She very often brings it home when she's teleworking.


iPad Pro (128GB cellular) - so I wrote my letter to Santa and this device made spot no 1. I'm totally buying this. Why? More in this weeks's episode of The Podcast

Question: which iPad/iPads do you have?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, July 23, 2015

✔ Two apps on the iPad… How will iOS9 influence the "iPad Only" work?

As you know I'm a fan of working on iOS devices (currently these are mainly iPhone 6 Plus and, of course, my iPad Air 2), so when watching Apple's annual developers conference (WWDC) I was primarily interested in the future of these platforms. After several quarters of stagnating iPad sales, the company was facing an important question: how to breathe new life into the platform?

Note: The following article appeared first in the July'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.

iOS9 iPad

Because iPad is not suitable for real work...

One of the key issues in the debate on working on the iPad is that you can only run one app at a time. On the one hand, it's a huge plus. Maintaining concentration, which is a challenge for many people in modern times, is very important. Therefore, the ability to focus on one thing at a time without being distracted by other blinking windows is very helpful.

On the other hand, sometimes we do need to have two apps open at the same time!

Exactly, that's why Apple decided to introduce three new solutions in iOS9. I'm eagerly waiting for them as they'll let me boost my productivity on the iPad even more: