Respecting Tools

My 2018 iPad Pro with Magic Trackpad 2
My 2018 iPad Pro with Magic Trackpad 2

I bought an iPad Pro back in 2018, when I was studying for one of the AWS exams. It was both a reward to myself and a tool for taking notes on the exam topics. I have been using it heavily ever since. When the COVID crisis forced many of us knowledge workers home, I had to rework my home office configuration. That meant that my primary computer, my iMac, had to live someplace else. Reluctantly, I moved that to a desk in my boys’ room. I had always said they would never have a TV or computer in their room, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

When I lost my primary computer to my children, my iPad became my main personal computer. It’s a bit more limited than my iMac but I have long been adjusting to use it to get things done. It has helped a lot that Apple introduced trackpad support around the same time that I had to go all iPad. At first, I considered buying a more recent refurbished iPad Pro in order to get an upgrade and buy either a Brydge Pro keyboard with trackpad or one of the new Magic Keyboards with the trackpad. Andy Nicolaides from warned me away from the Brydge keyboard, as the trackpad from that seems made for the older trackpad support and is glitchy with the most recent changes.

Ultimately, I decided against even the newer iPad Pro with the magic keyboard. I just couldn’t justify spending the money on that at this time and fully recognized that all I really needed was a new trackpad. My old Magic Trackpad from Apple will work with the iPad, but won’t scroll, making it essentially useless. I bought one of the sleek Magic Trackpad 2’s and am very happy with my setup. While the cursor isn’t perfected yet on iPadOS (sometimes you have to double-click a link or button, sometimes single click is sufficient), the cursor technology seems in some ways so much more advanced than what has been the standard for the last 40 years. I can do almost everything that I need to on this machine. There are still some things I can’t do, like download songs from Bandcamp and add them to my Music Library. For those few things, I have to borrow some time from my kids. For most things, though, I’ve adapted.

I’m not regretting that I didn’t upgrade. For one reason, I wouldn’t want to have to deal with grimegate. If I spent that much on a machine + keyboard and then it looked worn after a week, I would be seriously frustrated. I’m happy with what Patrick Rhone refers to as “good enough tech.” Sometimes I do think about the fact that the much cheaper iPad my wife got for Christmas is essentially the same as my iPad Pro from a couple of years ago, but I’m okay with that. His and hers iPads suite us.

Robert Rackley @rcrackley
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