2 min read

Programming on an iPad Pro

Programming on an iPad Pro

I really like the new iPad Pro. I visited the Apple store early so I could be one of the first to get my hands on it and experience the new form factor, keyboard, and Pencil. The screen's refresh rate, color and clarity are superb. It just feels and looks really great plus it scrolls as smooth as butter. But, after walking around the store and spending the majority of my time with the iPad pro, I ended up walking out empty handed. They had plenty in stock this morning, but I just couldn't figure out how it'd replace my existing iPad Air and ultimately, my computer.

What I want is a better computer. I want something I can write code on. Something I can build websites with better, faster, and easier. I want something I can watch downloaded Netflix on while traveling and can easily slip into my backpack. I want the always on internet connection. I want one device, not two. The iPad is a great device. It's fast, feels awesome, super thin, and connects with all the devices I care about, but I still can't figure out how to fit it into my work flow. That is, I can't use it as development machine.

Here's why.

I've experimented in the past with a cloud based development box. DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS, and even running VMs on my computer at the office. But time and time again I keep bumping into the same issues. All development I do is slower on the iPad because it has to go over the internet and it doesn't feel as 1:1 like it is developing locally on my computer.

I can see a world where you can compile iOS apps from the iPad. I can also see a world where the iOS shell apps can also run a local terminal, rather than connecting to something remotely. It's a world where I think I could switch away from a laptop. It's the future, but that world isn't here today and I don't see the benefit in replacing my iPad Air 2 if I can't use it for work. So, unfortunately for now, I'll be carrying an iPad and a MacBook Pro with me while I'm on the go, but I'm excited for the future. Apple's custom processors are becoming scary fast. Apple has the Playgrounds app where you can experiment with Swift programming right on the iPad. The future is coming...It's right around the corner.

P.S. When looking for the right image for this post, I tried searching for "iPad" on my iPhone's photos app. It returned nothing. When I typed in, "Computer," it found the image in the post... "What's a computer?"