My iPad Mini is my second laptop

I posted this photo of my iPad Mini set-up on Instagram Stories, which received several comments. People were fascinated that I was using my iPad Mini like a laptop.

Using my iPad Mini as my second laptop

My history with iPads

When Apple announced the iPad Mini at their event last year, I knew that I was going to pick it up. Before this, I’ve owned two iPads in the past: the iPad 2 and iPad Air 2.

I used both primarily for taking notes with the Apple Pencil during my final year at University, a digital Bullet Journal, for media streaming, reading ebooks, drawing (sometimes) and FaceTiming my loved ones.

The thing that drew me to the iPad Mini was the colour. Of course, I had to mention the colour. Have you seen the purple shade? With the purple case? Hello? I love how Apple has embraced this colour more throughout their different product lines in 2020-2021. 💜

But it wasn’t just the colour; it was the amount of power in such a small form that impressed me. At this point, I had my iPad Air 2. It was pretty powerful, but it was huge for my day-to-day, especially with my small hands. I took that iPad with me on holiday last year to Gran Canaria. Whilst it was great for media consumption, the other things I wanted to use it for often (such as reading) it was just too inconvenient because of the size.

The iPad Mini seemed like a better alternative! So, I ended up giving my sister my iPad Air 2, who is making use of it more than I was because she loves drawing and watching YouTube videos on it.

A few 😬 actions later, I brought home an iPad Mini! As soon as I held it, I knew I had made the right decision. And now, a few months later, it’s hard to believe that this iPad is my most used iPad of all time. It’s the perfect size for just about everything! For my petite hands, it just makes using it much more convenient.

How I use my iPad Mini

Out of all the things this tablet can do, the things that stand out to me the most are: being able to read comfortably and using it as my second laptop.

I also own a MacBook M1 Air (2020), which I use as my daily driver at work. It’s not the most powerful machine in the Apple line, but it’s suitable for most of my needs. I don’t need a super-powerful laptop these days for work because all of my development (including the use of Docker) happens in Gitpod. Also, most of the daily tools are web-based, which makes them more expensive MacBooks a little overkill for me.

Setting work-life boundaries have been something I’ve struggled with, especially in the past year. Even though we’ve all been working remotely for over two years now, disconnecting from work is a daily intention that I need to wire into my brain. Sometimes telling myself to walk away or not sneak in extra work isn’t enough. So having a forced boundary, in this case, another machine, is super helpful.

Anais tweeted this recently, which I think hits home my point.

A tweet by Anaïs that reads, "At my new role, I'm gonna get a work laptop for the first time ever. I hope this will make work-life balance easier."
Original tweet.

I didn’t want another MacBook for my things, so I was like, “let me turn my iPad Mini into my second driver!Geoff heavily inspired me to unlock the iPad’s power with his iPad Pro set-up.

I enjoy writing blog posts like this one in my free time, generating different posts/content ideas and exploring moments of inspiration. Using my iPad to do most of my “Pawlean“-related content has been excellent for setting those boundaries.

I have apps like Slack, Discord, Twitter, Superhuman on my iPad. Although they cross over to that work boundary, I don’t feel tempted to open them as much as I automatically do with my laptop. It’s like as soon as I open my computer, I have all the windows in place, ready for the workday. It’s an actual battle station. 😂

My iPad Mini with a "Open in Gitpod" sticker.
I’m obsessed with the colour 💜

I’m grateful for my small, powerful iPad for giving a better space for my other, non-work related hobbies. You’ll most likely see me on weekends and evenings with a similar set-up as above.

Of course, there have been times when I used my iPad Mini on the road for work. Last year on a trip back to Leeds from London, I used my iPad to get work done in the car. In hindsight, it was probably better if I took my laptop because the detached keyboard placement in a car wasn’t ideal. However, it demonstrates how powerful these machines are!

Geoff and I were on Syntax.fm last December, where we talked about this whole concept of coding from anywhere… even your iPad! Or your phone! That is highly specific to Gitpod and software development…But if we step back and look at your actual device, it’s a pretty sweet reminder of how we all have a computer in our pockets or small handbags.

I won’t be buying another laptop for my personal use any time soon. This iPad Mini is more than enough 😊

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