3 min read

iPad: My Creative Machine

How I Use my iPad.
iPad: My Creative Machine

I can’t sleep on planes.

I used to be bored. Now I’m productive. My iPad is the reason why.

Since 2010 I used different versions of the Apple tablet:

  • iPad 1st Gen: Didn't really have much use for it other than adding weight in my bag. Joking aside, when my old laptop died during my exchange semester it was a handy tool to finish off the last weeks of uni without buying a new device.
  • iPad mini 2: Really cool device. Portable and capable of everything I wanted (browsing, reading, etc.) - it filled a perfect niche: travel companion.

In 2018 I snagged an iPad Pro 11 inch. Since a couple of people have asked about my experience and specific use cases I decided to write these down.

The Device

iPad Pro (2018) - 11 inch: My Creative Machine
iPad Pro (2018) - 11 inch: My Creative Machine

November 2018 was game time. I ordered the following setup:

  • iPad Pro 11 inch (2018) // 256GB of storage
  • Initially ordered 12.9 inch but way too big + heavy as laptop (comes with the downsides of a larger device without all the benefits // still, might make sense for artists for stationary usage)
  • Pencil is a must since it unlocks a more intuitive interaction - specifically for creative workflows
  • Keyboard is great // feels nice + supports most shortcuts

When it launched, Apple advertised the iPad Pro as a full-on laptop replacement, which it wasn't. There were too many limitations:

  • No possibility to connect external storage via USB-C port
  • No ability to connect bluetooth mouse
  • All browsing was done in mobile-browsing mode (despite 11 and 12.9 inch screen form factor)
  • No proper file management

Then came iPad OS.

iPad OS: Turning a Tablet Into a 95% Laptop Replacement

Apple listened and fixed all of the kinks.


Hence some tech reviewers went from meh! to yay! in a single software update.

Creative Machine: My Use Cases

  • Work - taking notes (replaces paper + syncs with all my other devices) + email
  • Travel - consuming information and doing brain dumps while travelling
  • Create - illustrate; edit photos
  • Light/versatile —> don’t have to stow away during take-off and landing (since it counts as mobile device)
  • Has different modes of usage (keyboard vs. screen vs. pencil)
  • Not a 100% replacement for laptop (e.g. excel; logic pro X; recordbox; etc.)

Software: Apps I Use


    • Usually doing everything on chrome but since iPadOS (Nov 2019) Safari on iPad supports desktop browsing which is a huge deal (see below)


    • Notes - Perfect note taking + syncs with all other devices
    • Evernote - when working on iPad only
    • GMail/Outlook - for email
    • Slack - team comms
    • Sheets/Excel - for viewing of information (but not really geared to edit/create)
    • 1password - pw management
    • Google/Microsoft Authenticator - MFA apps
    • Zoom/Skype - if call is needed
    • Trello - task management
    • Soundcloud/Spotify - listening to music


    • Reading
      • Wired - app to read magazine in digital format
      • Pocket - saved articles for offline reading
      • Kindle - books
    • Audio
      • Audible
      • Spotify
      • Podcasts
    • Video
      • Netflix - download for offline viewing
      • Youtube - watching clips


    • Illustration
      • Procreate - amazing way to do illustrations/covers/etc // check it out, it's a sick app
Procreate for iPad: A Must-Have
Procreate for iPad: A Must-Have
    • Photo Editing
      • Lightroom Mobile - best way to edit images on the go (just pluck in SD card and start working)
      • Google Photos - unlimited storage // but compressed
    • Music
      • Garage Band - play around
      • Blocs Wave - coming up with track ideas


  • Great tool to use while traveling (during commute + just as a light device)
  • Other applications, which are more suitable for a tablet (sketching; faster photo editing; reading)
  • A year in I’m very happy

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