On the iPad Mini & Productivity

After a weekend with the iPad Mini, David Chartier wonders about it being a viable GTD device:

The iPad and iPad mini overlap when it comes to their respective relationships with content. The iPad’s strengths are sheer screen size and a quite usable landscape touchscreen keyboard at the sacrifice of portability. The iPad mini gains great portability, but at the sacrifice of screen size and some usability of the landscape keyboard. A key question to ask is: do you want an iPad only for content consumption? The mini might do you just fine. But if you plan to do a lot of typing, you might need a physical keyboard-an extra purchase, an extra accessory to carry around, an extra thing to keep charged, and a device that will likely limit your ability to bang out things like emails or blog posts in some situations.

However, most people I see typing on an iPad in public, even college and high school students, are using a physical keyboard anyway, and I’m sure at least a couple keyboard makers will whip out models that fit the mini. To be honest, I expect the mini to become even more popular than the regular iPad, so iPad-mini-friendly keyboards could become plentiful-if people end up wanting to do typing and other work-related tasks on it.

This presents an interesting conundrum: what to make of your iPad?

In my case, a lot of the time spent on my iPad is writing, be it in Byword or Poster. Of course I use it to surf the Web and read too, but the iPad’s really become my go-to writing device.1 That said, the iPad Mini’s dramatically thinner and lighter profile is very appealing to me. But, beyond the fact it doesn’t have a Retina screen, I’m worried about its usability as a “laptop replacement”. It seems that given the smaller nature of the device, then by definition the experience would worsen for tasks like writing. Of course, the trade-off is that the Mini performs far better at other tasks such as reading, so I’m torn as to which holds more value to me. It’s a tough call, but one I’m luckily unburdened with until a Retina iPad Mini ships.

  1. Much to the chagrin of my 11-inch Air.  ↩