Maybe it is the Apps

I continue to be amazed at how the iPad Pro is pulling me into the “Post PC Era” that Steve Jobs promised many years ago. Now that I have a Smart Keyboard I can do nearly everything, as a matter of fact I think yesterday may have been the first time since getting the iPad that I took my MacBook Pro to the office … and that was because I knew I had to present at a board meeting. Looking back, I could have easily presented from the iPad with my HDMI adapter.


Since I’ve gotten it, I have traveled with it, designed with it, written with it, read with it, built presentations with it, worked on far too many Excel spreadsheets with it, and everything in between. I know my use cases are my own and your milage may vary, but it is an exceptionally powerful computing device for the kinds of things I do. This morning I was catching on some reading at Medium (on my iPad) and came across a similar sentiment penned by M.G. Siegler …

In fact, my biggest takeaway (tech-wise) from the trip may have been just how little I used the MacBook. I brought it more or less “just in case”?—?because, how can you possibly travel for three weeks without an actual computer? Well, turns out you can. Turns out, your tablet and even your phone are computers. And turns out you can almost for sure do everything you need to on those devices.

via Post-Post PC — 500ish Words — Medium.

And that is what I am finding, I just don’t use my laptop all that much. I should say that at this moment I am sitting in front of a traditional computer at home, looking at an old fashioned Safari window on a nice big 27″ monitor. I still do a ton of work on that and my iMac at work, I am finding that I am losing a place in my mobile routine for the MacBook. All of this makes me wonder what our collective computing needs might be in the next two years? If my use is any indication then the ability to work in front of a large display when you are rooted at a desk may stick around, but I am betting as more of what we do while moving will transition to thin panes of glass that have purpose built apps to do the things we do on traditional machines in more efficient ways. As a quick example, think of the difference in speed and ease of using Concur on your computer in the browser versus using it on something like an iPhone or iPad (I don’t have an Android device, but I would imagine it is similar). It is usually a tap or two to approve expense reports on my iPad or iPhone, while it is a long process to log in, navigate, approve, verify, and log out on my Mac. Imagine when more of what we do multiple times daily that grinds 5, 10, 15 minute distractions into our routines become simple taps on purpose built apps — we will be more efficient and more effective. More and more of what I do can be done faster on my iPad Pro and even on my iPhone as more purposefully built apps emerge that support my business workflows. That exact set of scenarios makes me do the same thing each morning, again following what M.G. says …

So this leads me back to my bag of gadgets I carry around on a daily basis. It has always been sort of insane, but now I’m the one who can actually see it. So the past few mornings when I’ve gone to put the MacBook in my bag, I’ve stopped for a second: why do I need this thing again?

What I am wondering is if we focus on apps that can make our business run more efficiently, will our purchasing habits change? Will Universities start putting devices like iPad Pros onto desks of various members of the staff community instead of the traditional Mac or PC? What would the support costs look like on devices that are inherently more secure and are potentially easier to manage through MDM? I believe when we have more use cases like the Concur one I shared, the efficiencies gained will be well worth the transition. But, hey, that’s just like my opinion, man. What’s yours?

iPad Pro on a Plane

I’m sitting in a bulkhead seat on a flight from ORD to Reagan Interntional so my tray table is unusually small. I’ve spent the last hour watching episode 4 of Amazon’s, “The Man in the High Castle” that I downloaded via the Amazon video app prior to departure. That experience has been outstanding. But I also wanted to try and get some work done. I don’t typically buy the inflight wireless, so the work I do on flights happens to be of the type that can be done locally. 

The ipad itself is big on the tray, but there is still room for my beverage and I’m able to type. While cramped, I can do it rather effectively on the glass surface of the device. If I had a bit more elbow room all would be well. It is not a problem with the size of the device itself, in fact I find that the larger target points of the virtual keys to be an advantage. 


Make no mistake, this thing is big for travel. That is part of the allure however. I’m traveling to a CIC CIO meeting at the University of Maryland and all I am taking is the iPad Pro. I don’t yet have the Apple Keyboard Case so while in flight I am restricted to typing on the glass. It’s actually not that bad, given the cramped quarters. For full disclosure, I did bring along an Apple Magic Keyboard for the inevitable evening email catch up sessions. 

As an additional test, while I am at the meeting I have to find time in the evenings to finish up a presentation for my advisory board, BCAS. That will push me to create with Keynote, something I usually do on my Mac. I’ve done it before, but leaving a high pressure presentation to being done on a tablet has me a little nervous.  I expect I’ll be able to do about 90% of that work from the iPad Pro, leaving the last mile for my Mac. That is just a guess at this point.

Here are my impressions for this device inflight. The thing is a very good alternative to lugging a laptop and with the built in LTE it is an even stronger travel device. While it is big, it isn’t too big, in fact with a screen the size as my 13″ MacBook Pro, it takes up less room on my tray. The screen is exceptional for writing in the WordPress app as well as playing a game or watching video content. The new multitasking features of iOS 9 make using the Pro a dream compared to a generation ago, but the larger screen makes it even better. I’ve not yet landed, but so far I am enjoying flying with the iPad Pro.

Mobile Publishing

I’ve been playing around with WordPress over the break since the changes the WP team have made to the .com offering. The one thing that has me interested in it now more than in the past is the discovery that I can write in the new .com dashboard and publish to my own, self hosted site. That got me wondering if the mobile app for iOS provided a similar functionality. One of my complaints in the past with my utilization of the EduBlogs WordPress service was an inability to use the actual WordPress mobile app. It always made using WP on the iPad a bit of a pain. If this works, the words you are reading were typed on my iPad Pro in the mobile app that is connected to UChicago Voices via the JetPack plugin.

iPad Pro

Location Specific Access via iBeacons

However promotion by geo-location is only one part of our concept for promotion ByPlace, we are even more excited by the potential for ByPlace promotion using the iBeacons which have been getting significant attention since Apple’s endorsement of the devices with the launch of iOS 7.

via Promotion by iBeacons | Exact Editions | Blog.

This could provide some very interesting opportunities within education … services, apps, and content that are unlocked based on location. In this scenario, a magazine publisher sells a subscription to a pub and those who enter can freely browse an unlocked version of the digital publication on their iOS device based solely on the proximity to an iBeacon.


The same could happen here on campus someday with supplemental material for a series of lectures in classrooms, access to additional content during a show, or apps that help you do things at specific locations. An interesting step.