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How I use iPad.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t use the iPad.

I spoke about it in detail on an episode of Bring Your Own Device, the initial impressions of when I bought the new model back in June, and The Outpost Show, which is coming back soon.

My MacBook has been reduced to a media centre, a games machine and a backup device. I can’t justify upgrading to a newer model when its only these three things I use a Mac for now.

All of these apps can be used on an iPhone as well, but I find them better suited to the iPad, alongside some methods I use to better differentiate how I use it from the iPhone.

All the posts I write come from the iPad. They’re written, edited, and moved from Ulysses to WordPress to make sure the layout has no bugs in the post.

Below, you’ll not only know of the apps I use, but how I use it on my new workspace, which makes the iPad look like an iMac Mini.

As I was writing this, I wanted to change the desk I was using the iPad (and MacBook Air sometimes) in the room, and as it was currently laid out, it wasn’t working.

Inspired from Matt Gemmell’s post from earlier in the year, I decided to buy a stand. It made the iPad look like an ‘iMac Mini’ almost.

A wireless keyboard I had in a drawer was brought out, and with the required plant and a candle (and Gin), it was done.

I imagine the next iPads will gain FaceID before the iMac does, so to sit at the desk and have the iPad unlock as i sit down will be great to have, so alongside this and the stand where I can adjust it up to the 12.9’ iPad length, the workspace is already futureproof.

Apps.

Notes

This is where all my thoughts and drafts live. If an idea crops up for a new post or an existing draft, it goes here.

iOS 11 has helped it with pinned notes, so I can easily go back to them when needed.

Ulysses

This is a newcomer. In all honesty, I was put off by the price it offered, but since it started offering a subscription, I took part in the 14 day trial, and I was convinced.

The layout is cleaner and sharper than what IAWriter offered, and the ‘goal’ feature is incredibly useful. I can set a word goal, and it will let me know when I’ve met or exceeded it. This helps keeps the post in control, and even helps me when editing it.

Infuse

Years ago, I had a massive DVD collection. But I wanted rid of it, so a weekend was given of me backing them up all to a hard drive, so I could watch them on my MacBook when needed. Fast forward to today, I wanted to take advantage of the massive 256GB storage on this iPad, but video apps that I had used, were awful. Some wouldn’t play a file, others demanded an in-app purchase to play certain videos with codecs, while others had terrible UI to navigate, with no Picture in Picture or Split-View.

Apple’s Video.app was ok for what i had bought on iTunes, but since it was replaced by a TV.app, more presses are required to play a video i find, and some of the UI is confusing.

Just when all hope was lost, I came across a post on MacStories on how a video app had been updated. When you load the videos onto Infuse, it renames all of the videos, gives it a thumbnail or a poster, and shows it in a concise list, without you doing a thing.

This also has a subscription for a fiver a year. The ‘Pro’ version downloads subtitles, allows for Dropbox integration to easily download files to the iPad, and lots more.

The UI is great, and it saves me a hell of a job to find decent images for all the videos.

YouTube

Self-explanatory, but the fact that it still doesn’t have Picture-In-Picture mode baffles me.

Marvel Unlimited

Previous to this, I would download an app called ‘Comic Flow’, and attempt to read someone’s scanned images of comics of Marvel. Some would be of awful quality, it wouldn’t be worth trying to read. Which leads me to this app.

It was recommended to me by a Nottingham local, and a devoted fan of a show called Baywatch Nights. It offered a free trial and she had let me know of this. I tried it, and I was sold. Since then, I’ve read so much Spider-Man since 1962 and I love it. The images of the comic pages are of incredible quality. I can easily browse comics from ‘X-Men’, to ‘What If?’ and have them ready to read when needed.

The only complaint I have, is sometimes it can be slow to download a comic, even when I’m in a strong 4G area.

Tweetbot

This is an odd one. Odd in the fact that I prefer using this on iPad than I do on iPhone, where I use the official Twitter.app.

To me, it’s better made for the bigger screen, where I can see an ‘Activity’ pane of ‘likes’ and ‘mentions’, while I can switch to other accounts easily.

If I use Twitter’s own app, there’s so much wasted empty space, it doesn’t use the iPad’s bigger screen well.

WhatsPAD

This is essentially a Webpage wrapped up in an app, but for WhatsApp, very useful and justified. It has Split-View and notifications enabled, so it allows me to go into all of the conversations I have on my iPhone. When I’m sitting down and writing posts like this, it’s easier to bring up the dock and reply to someone.

Twitch

Even though I have this on the iPhone, I use it so much more on the iPad. It has Picture-in-Picture so it shows any marathons/speed-runs I’m following to watch, especially when ‘Games Done Quick’ have their Winter and Summer events. Always a good watch.


These eight apps justify how I use the iPad. Before it, I’d try and use some of these on the Mac but it would be more of a struggle. I only use a Mac three times a week at best now.

What’s yours?