iPad Pro


I was on board with the iPad from the moment Steve Jobs announced it on stage. You mean to give me a whole computer the size of a book? That's amazing. I can read comics on it. I can write on it. I got in on the second version, because we were told that second gen hardware is always better (it mostly is). I was pretty happy with it for years, apart from the whole it not being retina thing. I sort of wished for a bigger screen and some form of multitasking. My next iPad was the first Mini, this time with cellular. I basically wanted to use it as my main machine on the go, obviating the need for an iPhone. People insist on calling you, though. Turns out I just needed to wait for the iPhone Plus size. I was all over the place. Bigger, smaller? What do I want?

Fast forward a few years and the iPad Pro is announced. This. Was. My. Dream. Turns out the best setup for me personally is a huge phone (iPhone 6S Plus) and and an even huger table (iPad Pro). I love the iPad Pro. It's a great mobile computer.

What do I do?

At least 50% of the work I do on games is done on the iPad Pro. I use Pixelmator and Apple Pencil to draw sprites. I use Garageband to make the sounds. I use Coda and Transmit to access my the project on a server and save audio/graphics there. I even write some code! Coda has Prompt built in, so you can feasibly write code locally, push it up and execute on the server. It's great. Obviously doesn't work for graphical applications like games, and it is a bit of a crutch. But better than nothing.

I also work as an admin for a small business, and I use Prompt 2 to do that on iPad. (If you haven't picked up on the pattern: I 💖 Panic.) It's a full-on SSH client, which lets you manage multiple connections at the same time. I also keep an installation of Dash around. It's an app that stores documentation for hundreds of programming languages. I use split-screen: One side is the remote connection, the other is either Safari or Dash. Makes it loads easier to write scripts in vim if you're not quite sure what a function in Python or something.

What do I recommend?

Get the Pencil and the Keyboard. You will probably find something to do with the Pencil, even if you don't plan on drawing. Download Workflow, which is the closest thing iOS has to a scripting language. Don't try to force your computer habits on the machine. Try to rethink what you are trying to accomplish and figure out how to do it in iOS. The single biggest thing for me was learning about Share Extensions. Workflow is extremely powerful if you combine it with Share Extensions: Ever wondered how to unzip a file from a website on iOS? Here you go. This is just a simple example. You could for instance alter that Workflow so that Transmit would save the unzipped files straight to your server.

What is missing (and probably will happen)?

A real development environment. XCode for iPad would be amazing. I will always love the Mac, but there are times when I prefer the lightness of the iPad. Compiling code on the go would be massive.

What would be super cool (but will probably never happen)?

Terminal.app. Make it sandboxed, I don't care. There's a glimmer of hope: Last year Apple locked down the system directories on OSX, much to the chagrin of old-school UNIX guys. I get it. It's not ideal. In my wildest dreams I see that as a model for iOS on iPad. Give us a developer mode! Do it like the desktop, where it's only unlocked if you're a registered developer. Then lock down everything but the iCloud folders. A command line doesn't make sense on a phone (although I use Prompt on there as well...), but it would be hugely beneficial on iPad. I can dream...