Switch From iPad To Chromebook – 1

The Right Tool

You’ve heard the saying about the right tool for the right job. Having the wrong tool is very frustrating. Technology is helpful if you have the right device. Let’s say you need a good selfie-camera – then a tablet won’t fit. What about blogging? I’ve used a bluetooth keyboard paired with an iPad for about a year. It works, but it isn’t the best fit.


Tablet as Computer

The iPad is fantastic! I’ve enjoyed iPad as my primary computer for a long time because, for my needs, it’s very capable. The iPad’s giant touchscreen and operating system are fun and easy to use. And its instant-on and all-day battery make traditional computers feel antiquated and sluggish. The iPad looks and feels like the future of computing.

Keyboards are Vital

Maybe there are no keyboards in the future, but for now they’re vital. When you need to type out many words, the iPad’s Achilles Heel is the lack of a hardware keyboard. By design, the tablet is better than a laptop at reading the web, but not better at writing the web.

The glass software keyboard lets you tap out a short email or touch-type a few search terms online. But if you want to write anything longer, you need a physical keyboard. In fact, Apple visionary Steve Jobs showed a mechanical keyboard with the original iPad for, “when you really need to do a lot of typing.

Apple has made excellent keyboards. But if you’ve heard the bad press about Apple’s problematic MacBook keyboards in the last few years, and their lack-luster attempts to improve the design, then you have a good idea of how critical a great keyboard is. It’s the right tool for the write-job.


Sub-optimal Set-up

To make my iPad more functional, it needed a keyboard and a stand. So I added those appendages; it worked, mostly. But the whole thing was clunky and frustrating. There were three problems.

Detached

The combo of detached keyboard plus iPad meant keeping up with two separate things. And they required a multi-step process to get up and running. The whole thing was the opposite of elegant. Not elegant is non-Apple.

It went like this: pick up iPad, unfold case, un-snap clip, un-snap next clip, and prop it up. Next, pick up keyboard, flip it over, toggle power switch, flip back over, and set it down. Then move each piece into good position where I’m sitting. Finally, press iPad button for home screen. The whole thing was a kludge; it got old. For a blogger who writes regularly, this repetitive process to get the job done left me wanting a better tool.

Destabilized

Despite being in a case, the iPad was almost too small and light to stand on my lap. I tried to sit on the couch or a chair and use my iPad and separate keyboard like a laptop, but the narrow base almost can’t bridge the gap from one leg to the other. It required a still and awkward position.

The bluetooth keyboard was also small and super lightweight, so trying to use it in laptop mode was cumbersome. It moved too much when I typed due to its small base and the fact it has no palm rest.

Disconnected

The final issue was the worst. My bluetooth keyboard was paired only to my iPad. But without fail, the wireless connection would drop out during my writing – so frustrating! At random, it would often disconnect when I paused writing, like between paragraphs or while editing, then reconnect automatically.

The problem wasn’t just being unable to type any words for a moment. It was also that the iPad’s on-screen software keyboard would pop-up, shoving the content out of the way or covering half of it up. I’d lose my place in the text, wait a couple seconds for the reconnect, then recompose and refocus my stymied flow of writing. At times it was barely tolerable.


Searching for Clamshell

The iPad is a sublime tablet. But forcing it into laptop mode makes it a dysfunctional design. Tired of that sour set-up, I considered one that would be more elegant and functional. I would need a combo keyboard-case-stand with a reliable bluetooth connection. This meant looking at more reputable brands and spending more money.

Of course, for elegance and quality, Apple is at the top. It has designed a physical keyboard folio to work with the iPad without the need for bluetooth! But it requires a new expensive iPad. And by itself, the least expensive version of the Apple Smart Keyboard costs $159! I’m not searching for sticker-shock.

The best solution I found was the Brydge Keyboard. It exudes elegance, attaching to the iPad and matching the color and metal finish. Combined with iPad, it looks like a MacBook! It turns your iPad into a clamshell laptop, a unified and whole device – the opposite of clunky. Plus it has a good reputation for quality, so I was almost sure its bluetooth connection would be solid.

But I didn’t buy it. Why? Besides balking at the $99 price tag, I was afraid that my iPad would lose its pure tablet functionality, the very thing it excels at by design. I’d be making it more like a laptop – great for writing – but to have the greatness of a tablet, I would need to detach the iPad from the keyboard. So what’s it gonna be, a fantastic tablet or a pseudo-laptop? For a long time, I could not decide.

Then my wife bought a Chromebook.


Tablet or Laptop

Once my wife brought home her Chromebook, this tech-head was seeing a svelte new piece of hardware. I had my dysfunctional tab-top; she had her proper laptop. I tried not to covet her new tech. But I could sense some temptation. What would I do?

Check back here on the blog in the coming days for the next part of the story!


Do you prefer a tablet or a laptop? What’s the best tool for you? Sound off below, or talk to me here! Thanks for reading!

Going Chrome

Until recently, the computery things in my house were kinda simple. My wife and kids used Windows machines; I use an iPad. This made my job as household I.T. guy not too hard. But now a Chromebook has been thrown into the mix. So things are a bit more interesting.


Diversified Device-wise

Being a tech-geek, a new computer gadget excites me, like a kid getting a toy and a dad getting a tool. But my wife doesn’t geek out over computers like I do. She wants them to just do what they’re supposed to do. Simple enough. I’d say that’s why smartphones and tablets are so successful. They simply work.

So while adding a Chromebook brings more complexity to my family’s tech-device matrix, it’s interesting because Chromebooks are so simple. The virtue of their simplicity makes them virtuosos in the computing industry. Like the fact that people don’t search for something, they “Google it,” Chromebooks went from niche oddity to mainstream commodity.

Chromebook Strengths

The strengths of a Chromebook still surprise me since the “laptop form factor” usually makes me think of traditional Windows laptops and their drawbacks. But those don’t apply here.

Fast Boot

For example, on a Windows laptop, you get abysmally slow hard disk drives with their boot-up process that affords you time to catch up on reading that book you’ve been meaning to finish. But like a tablet, a Chromebook boots-up very fast – just a few seconds. You might have time to read a Tweet.

Long Life

And their battery life is seriously amazing! My wife’s Chromebook lasts over 8 hours on a charge, and in sleep mode it goes for days between charges, letting her use it here and there. It’s like using a phone or tablet with all-day power supply, unlike using a Windows laptop for an hour and then looking for an outlet.

Low Cost

Besides staying on forever-and-a-day, Chromebooks are very inexpensive. Because they’re so simple, they need only basic hardware to perform well. So they usually sport the cheapest Intel processor yet don’t feel sluggish.

Chrome Shopping

My wife ended up buying hers kind of on a whim. She was staying at her parents’ house trying to use her old Android tablet to do some simple Facebook Group coordination and Google Sheets and Forms collaboration. The old Samsung Galaxy Tab couldn’t do the job.

So she calls me up while I happen to be shopping at my local Walmart and says she’s thinking of running out to get a laptop so she can get her work done. We briefly discuss and rule out a budget or even mid-range Windows laptop. The budget ones are too slow and compromised; you’ll regret not spending more. The mid-range ones cost more than we could really afford on short notice.

Next thing you know, I’m selecting the right Chromebook for her to pick up in the town she’s at. And now, a week later, she’s really liking how easy it is to use her Chromebook.

Her case is not unique. Like many people, 95% of her PC desktop usage was – you guessed it – in Google Chrome. That’s it. So a Chromebook just fits. Most people often use online stuff like social media and Google Drive and Docs.


Throw Windows Out The Window

You have more options than just traditional Windows or Mac computers these days. And these options are better because they’re simpler devices where less is more. They’re even less expensive!

For iPad, get a bluetooth keyboard for it and you’ll have a tablet that acts kinda like a laptop and does most of the same stuff.

For a Chromebook, it’s a laptop that’s kind of like a tablet with its battery life and simplicity. They even have touchscreen Chromebooks now that run Android apps out of the box. So they can do a lot of what tablets can do too.

I won’t be switching away from my iPad back to a Chromebook, but I can’t say I’m not a bit tempted. I can say that I’m happy for my wife to finally enjoy being unchained from her traditional desktop PC, using just a Chromebook.1


Have you tried a Chromebook? What did you think? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. Never-mind the Surveillance Capitalism for now.

Apple Evolves New Computer Breed

Since Apple’s recent WWDC19 keynote, I’ve processed many web articles, podcasts, and tweets about all the iPad things. And although the idea in my head is still a bit fuzzy, I’m starting to see what looks like a growing distinction, maybe even a division, in iPad.


iPad Evolves

Apple’s avalanche of announcements made a lot of good noise in the tech-sphere. And among those who, like me, use iPad as their computer, the epitome of new features is summed up in the name, iPadOS.

Let’s back up a bit. iPad debuted in 2010. It defined what a tablet is and does. It went through a few iterations, but it mostly remained as the best tablet money could buy.

Then, in 2015, the iPad Pro was released. Having the “Pro” moniker plus the new keyboard and pencil accessories introduced a distinction. Apple was making a declaration: iPad is a tablet; iPad Pro is a…Pro tablet. Or maybe it’s a tablet computer.

Now for 2019, Apple once again is pushing iPad further into computer territory with iPadOS, since it brings so many definitive Mac-like features to the tablet form factor. In effect, Apple is pushing the distinction to a division.


Users and Power Users

The thing I keep noticing after WWDC is all the examples of features that enable iPad to do computery things like never before. Most notably, they’re the kinds of things only a certain class of people, power users, take advantage of.

For example:

  • App Exposé
  • Slide over app switching
  • Multi split-screen apps
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • New multi-finger gestures
  • Mouse support
  • USB drive support
  • Built-in Shortcuts app
  • Files app advancements
  • Downloads manager

In contrast, most users look at iPad and think, “Great tablet!” because iPad excels at web surfin’ and YouTubin’.

So if it wasn’t clear before, it’s crystal now: Apple is evolving iPad from mere tablet to the newest form of The Personal Computer.


Apple’s distinction of iPad between tablet and computer is also reflected in the blurred distinction between iPad or MacBook, as shown by the new Brydge Pro keyboard:


iPad Identities

I guess what I’m wondering about now is, what happens next? Does this mean the regular $329 iPad is a tablet and the iPad Pro is a touch-screen computer? Will Apple just shock everyone with the next iteration being a clamshell laptop running iPadOS?1

The debate about iPad being a good consumption device versus a productivity machine might continue. Yet that’s talking about iPad as if there is still just one version of it. There are now at least two distinct versions of iPad.

In fact, there’s enough distinction to make a clear divide: the low end iPad is a tablet for the casual user. And the high-end is a computer for the power user. Meanwhile, the recent mid-range iPad Air is the hybrid device! It serves as both a consumption tablet and as a productive/creative workhorse when you need it.

Our so-called post-PC era positioned the traditional desktop PC as your “truck” and the iPad2 as your “car.” But with the state of iPad now, your “truck” could be a 12.9” iPad Pro computer that lives on your desk with a keyboard at home, and your “car” could be an iPad mini tablet that goes with you everywhere.


What’s your opinion? How do you use your iPad? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. Would it be called “iBook” or “Apptop” or “AppBook” or something else?
  2. Tablets are the car. But what tablets exist besides iPad, really?

A Chromebook Experiment

Chromebooks are interesting computers – all-Google-or-nothin’ laptops. They’re popular because they’re simple and affordable. But some people still think Chromebooks are too limited because they’re “just a browser,” nothing more. But what more do you really need?

Simplicity is a strength.

If less is more, then a Chromebook is enough computer for most people. When you think about it, a web browser is all most people use most of the time. Besides, Chromebooks do have web-apps that run in their own windows.

But what about the other limitation that Chromebooks only work while online? Well, that’s not entirely true. You can do a lot while offline. Plus, you’re almost always online anyways.

With wi-fi and cellular data everywhere, you’d be surprised how seldom you’re without an internet connection. It’s practically a utility nowadays like electricity. If the power is on or your battery is charged, you are most likely using the web.


They’re Google

A few years ago, I was all into the Google ecosystem. I had an Android smartphone and used all of Google’s services online. So for me, a Chromebook was a nice fit. That’s when I bought a super affordable Samsung Chromebook 3.

So the biggest reason I chose a Chromebook was because I used almost nothing but Google stuff. You know, Photos, Maps, Docs, Drive, etc. It made a lot of sense. A Chromebook, like a nearly pure Android phone or tablet, is pure Google running Chrome OS.

I can say firsthand, logging into a Chromebook with my Google account and all my email, docs, photos, and music just being there was super nice! Like Apple’s own mantra, it just worked. I could even watch my movies from the Google Play store (streaming or download for offline viewing).

They’re Simple

Another reason I chose a Chromebook back then: they’re just so simple. The software is not not crammed full of accessory apps, antivirus software, or third-party utility programs. They have just what you need, the stuff you want, and that’s it. Imagine that!?

And on the hardware side, a Chromebook’s simplicity means you don’t need a power hungry processor, which in turn eliminates a noisy fan. This also results in lighter weight and longer battery life. Chromebook hardware is much like a tablet! But you get a built-in keyboard (no fussing with Bluetooth) and a “case.”

They’re Affordable

Chromebooks are amazingly inexpensive. I scored mine for less than $200 after tax, brand new, from a big-box retail store. And I never felt like I “cheaped out.” I got super value in a great deal.

Because Chromebook’s are so low in price, you can afford an upgrade to a new one every year if you wanted to. Or you can spend a little higher on one for a better screen and faster processor yet still save on cash compared to traditional fancy laptops or ultrabooks.


They’re Not Private

My Chromebook set up did not last too long though. My Android phone plus Chromebook combo, nice and simple as it was, was broken apart when I switched back to owning an iPhone. That, in turn, led me to go all-in with Apple stuff. So I ended up switching to a new and nicer combo – iPhone plus iPad.

I’m now about as Google-free as I can be. I deleted all my Google data and turned off or restricted as many of Googles services and features as possible. Nope, I don’t use Google search. I use Duck-Duck-Go. And no to Goole Maps too! I use Apple Maps.

One reason I prefer Apple over Google is because of privacy. Google wants all your data to throw ads at you and feed their machine learning stuff. Apple respects your privacy and would rather not have your personal data.

That said, if the privacy stuff does not bother you, and you’re really into the Google ecosystem but have never tried a Chromebook, I would recommend it. Seriously. But I would tell you to not get the cheapest one. Shoot for closer to the middle range to get a bit more memory, CPU power, and at least a Full HD 1080p display.


Do you like Chromebooks? Are you a desktop, laptop, or tablet person? Sound off below, or shoot me a message. Thanks!