Denny
Denny
A return to the iPad Mini For most of the past 6 years the vast majority of my computing has been with the 13" iPad Pro. Three years ago I bought an iPad Mini 5 primarily for reading and browsing. And it’s been perfect for that, especially books. So light and easy to hold. In fact, I was so enamored wi... beardystarstuff.net
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pimoore
pimoore

@Denny Great post, Denny. Admittedly this is one thing I miss about my old Air 2—ease of use while mobile. Ironically I took it out of storage recently while doing some purging, and was blown away how lightweight it is. Like yourself I love my full-size iPad, but there have been times I’d love to have a better one-handed device while sitting on the couch—bigger and more immersive than my phone.

Are you going to make me spend money? ;-)

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Denny
Denny

@pimoore Ha! Don't do it! Before publishing removed my last paragraph in which I speculated about future iPads. If the next Mini were to include an M series chip, more memory and full support for external displays I'd give some thought to that as my main iPad with the notion that I could do my Affinity design/layout work on the external screen. Though Serif would have to fix a few bugs with external display first. But for a lot of folks a more powerful Mini paired with an external display for more "computery" tasks would seem to be a good combination.

My iPhone is my camera and that's about it. My least used Apple device. Also, the iPad Air 2, an excellent iPad. I usually have mine going near my bed as a photo slideshow.

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pimoore
pimoore

@Denny That’s definitely some food for thought if a new Mini could power a desktop workflow. Add to your laundry list of features ProMotion, though—my wife’s phone doesn’t have it and the difference is jarring. If Apple brings  ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ pairing/syncing to the iPad, I’d seriously consider ditching my phone and just buying a camera for photos instead. The thought of having one mid-size device for mobile and connected desktop use is incredibly appealing.

My Air 2 literally owes me nothing. I used that device for everything, and I credit it fully for my switching to iPad full time. The first time I connected to my work via VPN, mosh’d into my Mac via Blink Shell, accessed the server in Jump Desktop, and mounted SMB shares in Shellfish—all while sitting on the couch—I knew that thing was the real deal.

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jsamlarose
jsamlarose

@Denny You're one of a number of people in my timelines/feeds over the past few days espousing love for their iPad Minis. No argument from me: there was a time when I felt like my Mini could be my everything. The 12.9 (or as I think you refer to it: the 13) has spoiled me though. I live on this thing. The Mini tends to come out when I need to pack small and light, or want something unobtrusive (meetings, workshops, etc). Grateful I've been able to swing it so that I have both.

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jean
jean

@Denny I had the mini 5 since 2015 and finally upgraded to the 6 last year when it was slowing down on my daily work. I do most of my Micro.blog work on the mini. If I had to leave the house in an emergency, I would bring only the mini. (The 13” MacBook Air and the 12” iPad Pro would get left behind.)

I don’t have an external keyboard, which might solve my nitpicks when using it as a text entry and editing device. Drafts is my text editor, plus Day One for journaling. Do you have a recommendation?

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pimoore
pimoore

@jean @denny Just to jump in with my two cents: YMMV of course, but I really enjoy the typing experience of the wireless Magic Keyboard (I use it with my work Mac). And you could pick up the Compass Pro Stand from Twelve South of you don’t have one already. These two things would make for a great and easily portable writing setup.

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jean
jean

@pimoore I’m using the Smart Keyboard Folio for my 12” iPad Pro (from 2019). I wish there was something like that for the mini, so that it wasn’t a separate piece to pack and carry around. You did remind me I can use my Apple BT keyboard with the mini if I need to. (But if I’m at writing at home, I have the iPad Pro and the MacBook Air.)

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BenSouthwood
BenSouthwood

@Denny The Mini is awesome.

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Denny
Denny

@jean Oh, gosh, I can't imagine not having an external keyboard! Dictation is excellent though and I find that really helps. As for a recommendation, for portabliity the Logitech Keys-to-Go is extremely thin and light, though it's not the best typing experience. The Logitech K380 is an inexpensive and relatively light full size BT keyboard that offers an excellent typing experience. It's my go to for an external keyboard. No backlight though.

Moft offers various lightweight stands. I've got the Snap Float Stand though I don't actually use it in the upright positions they are designed for. I mostly keep it folded down where the iPad is touching the surface of the desk or pillow or whatever I'm using it on. Very nice because it can be used in all kinds of angles, very stable even when resting on a pillow on my lap.

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jsamlarose
jsamlarose

@Denny @jean @pimoore I get the appeal of an all-in-one keyboard and cover, but I’ve traded off for a keyboard that packs relatively light and switches between multiple devices easily. These days, if I have a choice, I’m always going to choose a programmable keyboard (that doesn’t need an on-device utility app), and more often than not something split. Being able to set up a non-Apple keyboard in a way that works with iPadOS keyboard shortcuts has been good. And a small split keyboard can adapt well from the desktop to cramped transit… :)

Also: an origami portfolio cover. I’m six months in on a Nedrelow 12.9 portfolio: solid, affordable, allows for portrait and landscape orientation, and looks like it’s built well enough to last a good while longer. I’m considering a similar Nedrelow case for my Mini, but I like the way the front cover of the (landscape) case I’ve currently got on it provides a comfortable little grip for my left hand when folded back…

Speaking of programmable keyboards— it occurs to me that the only reason I’ve booted up a macOS machine this year is to flash firmware. It’s a small thing, but a little frustrating that i(Pad)OS used to be able to do this until recently…

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pimoore
pimoore

@jsamlarose @jean @Denny I really enjoy the Magic Keyboard, but am considering switching to a stand and external keyboard/trackpad. It would be good to have something I can place the iPad on in portrait mode, both for longer writing, and better camera position on video calls. One thing I do notice with the MK is the battery drain—not terrible but not great either. This is another reason I like Apple’s keyboard for its ease to pick up and move around, or take on the road if needed.

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In reply to
MitchW
MitchW

@Denny You’ve inspired me to go back to using the mini as my main iPad. Or at least trying that out for a while. Currently I’m using a late-model iPad Air with Magic Folio keyboard case.

I bought the mini on a whim late last year. A ridiculous extravagance, and I keep thinking I should sell/trade in/donate one of the devices … but which one?

(Late last year I was in a job I didn’t like, but which paid well. I am not the first person to turn to retail therapy as self-medication in that situation. At least it wasn’t a sports car.)

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MitchW
MitchW

@MitchW The Magic Folio keyboard case is one of the things that appeals to me about the iPad Air. Keyboard, iPad, and cover, all in a single unit. I take it you haven’t found something comparable for the iPad mini, and that it’s just not a big deal for you?

I think my ideal compute setup would be a MacBook Pro or Studio as my main computer, an MacBook Air or Chromebook as a couch computer, and an iPad mini for, well, other stuff. But I don’t see that in my near future—since splurging on the mini, I now find myself in a job and lifestyle where I’m happier but making less money.

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Denny
Denny

@MitchW I work from my tiny house and don't get out much. So, I tend to be happy experimenting with different keyboards and a stand as needed. Mostly I like the idea of the iPad Mini as a tablet first. If I need to use keyboards with it I've got one within reach. That said, I'm typing this on my 13" iPad. I have a hard time staying away from it. 🤣🥰🤓

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MitchW
MitchW

@Denny  Most of my traveling with the iPad involves carrying it from room to room.

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pimoore
pimoore

@MitchW @denny If Apple brings its silicon to the Mini, ProMotion, and the ability to drive the Studio Display, I’d likely ditch my 12.9 in a heartbeat. FaceID and the XDR display would be a bonus, but I’d be willing to let those go if the rest was there at least.

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jasonmcfadden
jasonmcfadden

@Denny Hey! That Eastsport pack in the photo looks exactly the same as the one I own. I think my wife got it in the 90s. Still holds up mostly. I used it as my EDC bag before I got my Tom Bihn Small Café bag. It's a great little thing. I'm guessing the iPad mini just fits in it.

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jasonmcfadden
jasonmcfadden

@pimoore That would be a compelling set up: a mini tablet for on-the-go stuff, and then plugin to "desktop" mode as tasks require it. Simple, yet powerful. I'm intrigued.

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jasonmcfadden
jasonmcfadden

@MitchW @Denny Brydge made a mini KB. I never tried it myself.

https://www.reddit.com/r/ipad/comments/qc2p2b/ipadmini6onbrydgesminikeyboard/

www.amazon.com/Brydge-Ke...

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Denny
Denny

@jasonmcfadden Yep, it's the perfect little pack for the iPad which just barely fits!

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Denny
Denny

@jasonmcfadden @pimoore Yeah, a Mini with an M1 or M2 and full Stage Manager on an external display would be a very cool, ultra portable option. It certainly seems possible with the next version.

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MitchW
MitchW

@jasonmcfadden I have a full-size Brydge keyboard for the 10” iPad. I do not love it. It takes a little effort to get the iPad in and out. For me, the iPad needs to effortlessly pop into and out of the keyboard, switching between keyboard mode and touch-tablet mode.

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jasonmcfadden
jasonmcfadden

@MitchW Thanks for that, good to know. I think I'd want the same, quick/easy pop in/out, switching from laptop to tablet and back. I'd like to try an iPad on the magnetic/smart connector Magic KB.

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MitchW
MitchW

@jasonmcfadden I have used the Magic Keyboard and I prefer the Smart Keyboard Folio. Cost is a big factor, though the Keyboard Folio is also pricey.

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jasonmcfadden
jasonmcfadden

@MitchW Funny you mention that! Yesterday I added an iPad Air 4 refurb to my wishlist and the Smart Keyboard Folio with it. 🙂 Cost was a factor, but I also don't need the trackpad (I'll use my BT mouse), just the keys, and I like the simple 2-angle design. Though in practice I'm concerned with glare stuck at those angles.

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MitchW
MitchW

@jasonmcfadden  I have an iPad Air and an iPad mini. Lately I’m using the iPad Air is a couch laptop. I think I might be happier with a MacBook Air, but that’s not in the budget. 

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