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My iPad Pro Desk Setup - What's a Computer?

iPad Pro desk setup

The last time I owned and used a traditional desktop computer daily in my home setup was sometime after 2010 when the first-gen iPad was released. With the iPad, I had a device in my setup that can handle all the basic tasks I used on a traditional computer.

Over the years, the iPad slowly started to perform more of my daily computing tasks with the growth of workarounds to bypass the limitations of the OS. However, shoehorning my way around the iPad started to become a chore. I didn’t have the nerdy energy in me at the time to keep up with it, which threatened the existence and joy of using the iPad as a primary computer in a desktop environment. Eventually, my dependence on the iPad dropped significantly. I longed for a powerful and capable OS that enabled me to do more. An iPad-specific OS that helps enhance my productivity and be more efficient in handling a multitude of apps at the same time on the same screen.

iPadOS reigniting my love for the iPad and enticing me to buy the 2018 iPad Pro seven months into its life-cycle was just one part of the story. It also made me go out and buy an office desk and chair to return to the desktop environment I previously had at home.

Accessorising - What’s on the desk?

I was lucky to acquire an iPad that came with the second-gen Apple Pencil. I also got the Smart Keyboard Folio along with a simple magnetic case cover for times I feel like using the software keyboard. The all-in-one case and keyboard combo provided great ergonomic comfort in terms of portability. The ease of connecting the case to the iPad with the smart connector design, eradicating the need for Bluetooth connection made the Smart Keyboard a very compelling accessory to have, especially when on the go. I was instantly a fan. It took a little a bit of adjustment typing on the Smart Keyboard because I primarily used the software keyboard on iPads. I eventually got acquainted, and it was a breeze.

iPad Pro

Using the iPad with the Smart Keyboard attached in a desktop environment peering down on the screen for prolonged periods started to cause a little bit of pain at the back of my neck and shoulders (I’m 6’4”). I decided to nip things in the bud and reconfigure my setup into a more ergonomic structure to avoid pain in the long run. 

I’ve always admired a lot of the iPad desktop setups I see shared online regularly. None more so than Andy Nicolaides’ configurations, which have always been simple and gives off an effectiveness vibe that caters to his use case. I decided to follow the same approach. I started looking into the many options to improve my setup. I considered going down the route of connecting the iPad to a 4K monitor with keyboard and mouse but decided to keep things even simpler with just the iPad as the monitor. I got a universal tablet stand to help raise the iPad to eye-line sight (My neck thanks me for this), a Magic Keyboard and the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse to complete the input peripherals. 

Without further ado, here’s a photo of my iPad Pro Desktop setup: 

iPad Pro desk setup
Current iPad Pro Desk Setup

The setup is not yet complete as I’m currently looking into a base to elevate the iPad stand to an even better eye-line level according to best practices. Until the next iPad Pro gets announced and released, I intend to stick with this setup whenever I am at the desk. Might you wonder the fate of the Smart Keyboard Folio? I like it a lot, so I’m keeping it for when I need to use the iPad away from the desk; indoors or outdoors.

More angled shots in delightful black and white mono as I was reconfiguring the desk setup. 

Sharing an iMac-like iPad set up with the use of peripherals, i.e. keyboard and mouse, I can almost feel the glowering faces from the ‘why not just get a mac?’ brigade.

My answer to the question: I prefer iPadOS.

Keyboards and mouse are not exclusive to Macs only. Regardless of the fact the iPad was birthed as a touch-input device, it is no less deserving of utilising existing compatible peripherals as an input tool than any traditional computer before it. 

I’m happy in the iPad camp right now and hope to continue to be going into the future. I’m hoping in another ten, twenty years from now I can look back in fond memory the iPads journey as a primary computing device, just like those that witnessed the birth and growth of the Mac to what it is today.