iPad mini Experiment: No Way, José

I am wrapping up my iPad mini experiment after only a week.

The goal was to see if I could possibly transition to using an iPad mini – paired with a Logitech mini Ultralight Keyboard Cover – as a replacement for my MacBook Air… and perhaps my iPhone too.


The answer is no. At least within a reasonable amount of time and effort.

Some of the failings of iOS are due to my writing intensive lifestyle, and the iPad + Logitech, while workable for email and other non-intensive writing may work out, for me, the loss in fluidity makes it a show stopper.

Consider just the issues with bookmarklets. On the Mac, I have a number of bookmarklets that I use dozens of times a day, for creating a Tumblr post, adding an link to Dispatch, or adding a task to Asana. The iPad Chrome equivalents are three times as hard to use (I won’t go into it here), and in some cases, I never could get the Javascript to work.

Also, the keyboard is workable though small, but working on my lap is an issue since the keyboard is so small I am forced to press my legs together tightly to create a platform, like I did in NYC at the Social Media Week events yesterday. And the pairing almost flew off my lap several times when I shifted my weight.

Second, connectivity. Since I was contemplating the truly radical step of doing away with my iPhone, and trying to use the iPad as my sole ‘proximal’ (mobile) device, I looked into VOIP options. And they aren’t good.

I had a Google Voice number, but it turns out that you can’t call out via Google Voice on the iPad. That’s because the app thinks you’re on an iPhone, and when dialing phones it calls you and the other person. It doesn’t operate that way on Mac, though. So, Google Voice would allow me to receive calls, but not send. (There is some way of doing this with two other apps plus Voice, but that seems so rickety.)

Skype allows you to call and receive calls from iPad, so I bought a Skype number. The problem is that when I am not using it, I keep my mini in a bag, and I hardly noticed when it was ringing yesterday. I potentially could cover that with a bluetooh headset, but my goal here was (ostensibly) was to decrease the number of devices I carry.

So: I have 14 days to return the smart cover and 30 days to return the iPad mini, so I guess I will be taking them in this week. The Logitech mini Ultralight Keyboard Cover I am stuck with, but I bet I’ll be able to sell on eBay pretty fast.

The real solution here is to make the iPad mini an iPhone, instead of a mini. Or at least make it an option.

One friend pointed out that I could put the iPhone and the mini on a shared data plan, and just keep the iPhone, as well, which takes the ‘using the iPad min as a phone’ out of the equation. But honestly, the iPad mini as a straight up replacement for my Air isn’t happening. The keyboard is small, but workable, but the thousand tiny things that don’t work make it a torture, instead of a boost. 

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Strangely enough, it turns out that I could do a better job dropping the iPhone with my Air, aside from the form factor. I’d definitely have to get a bluetooth headphone or a Pebble in that case. We’ll have to see. 

And thankfully, Apple gives me 30 days to return the mini, so no real expense involved.

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