After lugging around my laptop in a backpack for 3 years I figure there has to be a better way. Laptops are heavy. A 13" Macbook Pro weighs in at around 2 pounds which can feel like 20 after a long day of changing classes or going from meeting to meeting.
Then Tim Cook started talking about how the newest iPad could be replace my old laptop. The Apple CEO described the iPad Pro 9.7" as a 'laptop replacement', so I had to try it.
The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet and after 6 months I find that I'm using it for almost everything. In fact, I don't remember the last time I took my laptop out of the bag, except when I took it out for weeks at a time.
I do have a problem with the keyboard. Trying to type out a paper or document on an iPad screen never feels right. The heels of my hands always feel awkward hovering over the screen which keeps my fingers from hitting the keys, er buttons, er icons correctly.
That all changed when I picked up an iPad keyboard from Zagg. The Slim Book keyboard connects to the iPad with a magnetic slot which is surprisingly comfortable. The keypad may not be fullsize but I barely notice. Paired over bluetooth with the iPad the Slim Book feels exactly like a laptop computer, even a Macbook Pro.
Zagg makes the Slim Book model and a Rugged Book that seems to provide enough protection to throw it in a backpack or briefcase without worrying if it's going to shatter the screen.
I took the iPad and keyboard to a college campus to see what others thought. Charlyn Urless and Jason Ziegler first thought I was handing them a laptop since it felt like and looked like a laptop. Even after they opened it they weren't sure. "Is this an iPad? Oh cool!"
Urless told me she was surprised at the response from the keyboard and how the keys seemed to be spaced correctly and how it really did feel like she was using a laptop. "It's like a miniMacbook," she said.
Their reaction is the same as mine. When given the option of using the iPad Pro and Zagg keyboard or a Macbook Pro, I'd choose the iPad.
Of course the screen is smaller, just 9.7" compared to the smallest Macbook Pro's 13" screen. The iPad doesn't have a USB connection for hard drives or mouse but it hasn't bothered me much since most of what I do is uploaded to the cloud using Evernote, Office or Google Drive.
It also weighs about half of what a new MacBook Air weighs and over a pound less than the 15" Macbook Pro I use, or used to carry with me everywhere.
I can also edit video on the iPad using an app and it takes incredible 4k video and great photos.
So can an iPad do most everything a laptop or Macbook Pro can do? Most everything sure.
Ziegler, who bought a 15" Macbook Pro this week told me, he'd probably leave it at home if he had an iPad Pro and Zagg keyboard. "It's more convenient on a desk, other people have their computers out and this is much easier," he said. "Just to take notes and play around on it as opposed to this (pointing to his shiny new Macbook Pro) You can just keep them separate."
The iPad Pro 9.7" starts at $600 while the 13" MacBook Pro starts at $2,000.