Giving up the iPad-only travel dream

I was a super-early “will you haters quit moving the goalposts around about what constitutes ‘real work’?” iPad person, working an editorial job when the first one came out. As soon as you could get a keyboard to talk to one, I was doing that. I remember making it my sole work machine for an offsite at a company I left in … 2010? So, this is not me stomping in and dissing iPads on the basis of having watched Netflix and thinking it’s dumb to own a $1,500 Fruit Ninja machine.

Nope. For years I’ve been trying on and off to feel comfortable with iPads as full-timers, and I’m fine saying that if all I ever did was write I probably still wouldn’t be an iPad full-timer because I find touch screens tedious for editing work, do not like the dinky little track pad on the Magic Keyboard, find the keyboard-driven cursor movement baffling and strange, and don’t like neck strain. By the time I’m done setting up with a proper keyboard and a real mouse, I have lost sight of the use case for an iPad and resent the dead weight and bulk of a productivity-equipped one in my carryon when I could have just grabbed a laptop.

When I do see people like Mr. MacStories trying to make the case that yes, the iPad is too a fit machine for full-time work, I kind of roll my eyes, because the use case of “I can use the iPad for work because my job is trying to figure out ways to use the iPad for work” is not an actual use case for anyone but people who care about technology for its own sake, as a thing they like to think about, play with, etc.

I’m one of those people, but I don’t confuse my hobbies with what I want to be doing all the time. I can walk away from them. I can build an incredibly convoluted Shortcuts workflow to, e.g. extract all my meetings from my calendar, turn them into a page on my reMarkable (RIP), realize that was sort of hokey, and decide it’s a much better use of my time to, I dunno, set up an old iPhone as an always-on listener to respond to SMS requests for the details of my next meeting from my flip phone. I’m probably actually a bigger sicko than Mr. MacStories, because he at least makes money off of his nonsense. I just do it because I can’t help myself.

Anyhow, iPads are great. I have a couple and use one or the other every single day. I love taking them camping, because having an iPad with a few movies and episodes on it is a great way to settle in for the night when you’re trapped in a teardrop trailer and it’s raining outside. They’re also superb for catching up on RSS, reading newspaper apps, writing for brief clips, doing some photo editing, etc. etc. But I feel like sometimes people need them to be “full-time work machines” for no other reason than “it’d be really cool if they could be full-time work machines,” and possibly “I am sick of all the reflexive Apple haters, so I’m gonna prove the haters wrong.”

There is something about this nervous, never-satisfied, “surely this time” insistence on cramming these metal and glass rectangles into slightly different rectangular holes that seems unwholesome. Queasily, obsessively fixated on the proliferation of objects. Weirdly emotional in its attachment to brands.

Like I asked, what are politics? Diddling Shortcuts workflows to prove you can be an efficient tech blogger with just an iPad seems, on its face, to be inherently apolitical, but when I circle back to the “obsessively fixated on the proliferation of objects” it becomes harder to believe that.

A reminder of house editorial policy: No title, hence not meant to end anywhere, make any conclusions, or align with any other assertion. So I’m just gonna stop typing now and get some sun. Have a great Saturday!