I've returned to using an iPad after a period of about five years. I don’t have any kind of a full-fledged review, but I do have a collection of thoughts that have come to mind in my usage.

The keyboard

I went inexpensive on this purchase, grabbing the base model of the new iPad. That means the Magic Keyboard was not an option. Instead, I purchased a Smart Keyboard and a Pencil.

While most people in my circles are raving about the Magic Keyboard, I’ll say I like the cheaper option. When I first took it out of the box, I was not so sure. But apart from its tendency to not sit totally flat, it’s been enjoyable. I find typing on it far better than typing on my MacBook's butterfly keys (thought not quite as good as typing on my external keyboard).

The Pencil

I have no idea when to use this — I’m not sure I needed one. I purchased a notes app that can make use of the Pencil, but I haven’t once found myself wanting to get it out.

The ability to focus

I love the friction of OS. Yes, I can do more now on an iPad with multiple apps than previously. But while the OS has expanded its capabilities here, it still feels so much more focused. When I’m in an app, there aren’t quite so many things ready to take my attention

Overall, there is a lot to like about working on the iPad. The improvements to the operating system, the inclusion of Files, and the third party applications truly allow one to do most of the things you need to on a desktop.

What to reach for?

After several weeks, I'm a little unsure how to fit the iPad into my workflow. I like working on it to write, largely due to the constraints of the OS. But after the first week, I found myself most often reaching to grab my MacBook to do work. That was unexpected.

I'm not 100% sure why this is the case, but it does have to do with some things being harder to do on the iPad. For instance, working with my Git set-up is something I haven't even considered trying to do on the iPad yet. So it may be related to the fact I haven't fully looked into how to do all the things that are a normal part of my workday.

I realized also that Roam Research plays a part in this. As I slowly adopt it for more things, this adds to the desire to work on the MacBook as Roam does not (yet) play super will with iPadOS. I hope that changes, as the prime activities I want to use Roam for benefit from a distraction-free environment.