Remember back when I said I wasn’t going to buy an iPad Pro? Remember back in December where after taking a long look at what to get I opted to buy an iPad mini?


Say hello to my new friend. Yes, I’m now a multi-iPad owner, having picked up a “baby pro” 9.7″ iPad Pro (and, of course, a pencil).

Why I did this

I was never tempted by the larger iPad Pro, the size was a full stop for me. I primarily use my iPad for content consumption (and casual games), and despite many attempts and getting frustrated using many different keyboards, I just don’t feel comfortable doing heavy writing on an iPad. So for me, while I use an iPad typically hours a day, portability and weight were primary factors for me, and that’s why I went with the iPad Mini.

But still, the drawing capabilities and the Pencil stylus interested me. Just not enough for me to overcome the size of the device and pay the cost to get one.

And then Apple came out with the 9.7 inch “Baby” pro. I still had no intention of buying it, but I was tempted, and then Laurie and I sat down and talked and we both turned out to have uses for the iPad Pro for drawing and sketching, but neither of us felt like we needed one full time. So the answer was obvious….

We now have a shared, house-based iPad pro. We’ll see how often we use it and whether we decide we really do want one full-time, and if so, we can deal with that once we figure it out.

I love the Pencil, by the way. I’m just starting to explore it in depth, but it works beautifully, even with my lousy handwriting and crappy drawing skills. I don’t magically become an artist, but unlike other, non-Apple stylii, the Pencil doesn’t take a pretty crappy skill set and destroy it completely. I’m won over.

But I still really love the iPad Mini for carrying around and browsing Twitter and playing Sudoku…

So really, I think there are interesting arguments for having multiple devices that serve different purposes. To a good degree, my iPad mini is my Kindle on steroids and I use it like I would a Kindle, but one that does more things and gives me access to my social networks and twitter as well as my books and games. And the iPad Baby Pro is more of a work machine, where it’s set up more for things like drawing and writing — and yes, I have a keypad case on backorder, and once it comes in, I’m going to see how well that might turn into my coffee shop device…

What amuses me is after I bought the second iPad, I actually found out others are having this same discussion, and some folks are starting to consider options around having multiple screens available, the way some of us have multiple Macs. There’s a great discussion (well, argument) about these issues in Analog(ue) #78, where Myke has fallen into the Multiple Mac camp and Casey Liss is trying not to have him exterminated for it… It is well worth listening to, and I have to say I agree with a lot of Myke’s thinking, while at the same time being someone who’s attitude is more like Casey’s (“why screw around with it like that, when you can just haul out your mac?”) — and if Apple would just release the new Skylake Macbook pro units, I can make my life even happier and more complicated….

Stuff I like: My Charging Station

By the way, that picture is my home office charging station. I am — sigh — a bit of an organization nerd and things need to have their place and I like to minimize clutter where I can, and so I’ve dedicated some desk space to an area that stores and charged all of my stuff. And — sigh — because I’m a bit of an organization nerd, I’ve tried a number of different stands and holders until I’ve found some I’m really happy with.

Anker Multi-Angle Portable Stand

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Anker 6 Port USB Charger

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I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the gear Anker brings out, and so I’ve been finding myself more and more defaulting to their gear. Their chargers are good and automatically figure out what power a device needs so they can charge iPads more quickly. I currently use a 6 port charger on the desk, and all six ports are full (2 iPads, iPhone, Watch, the battery and the bluetooth earphones). With both lightning and micro-USB cables permanently attached, I can plug anything in for a charge whenever I need to — and it only needs one thing to plug into power, with no power bricks or wall warts. I keep one of these in my travel bag as well so I always have a charger and I don’t have to worry about whether I packed a charger for some specific thing…

Twelve South HiRise for iPhone

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Native Union DOCK

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I have seen so many unstable iPad stands, things that wobble, fall over, or collapse when you type on them. That includes many of the Apple solutions. The Anker portable stand isn’t fancy but it works. you can set it for different angles, and the area where you place the iPad is wide enough to allow for most covers, but the iPad is held fine. This is great for holding the iPad while charging, and I keep one in my travel bag and use it when I head off into coffee shops. The only things it doesn’t do: automatically plug in a charging cable when you place the device, and it’s not something you can really balance on your chest while reclining. I can live with that..

RAVPower Portable Charger

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Apple Pencil Case

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The iPhone dock I love is the Twelve South Hirise, which does automatically plug the phone in for charging. I’ve used it since it was released, it’s one of the few things I’ve tried where I haven’t been tempted to find a better option.

Not shown is my Apple Watch dock, which is the Native Union Dock, which is pretty, low-key, and supports nightstand mode. There are so, so many ugly, unstable or unreliable docks out there it’s sad. This dock holds the watch securely, charges it reliable, and it doesn’t scream NERD at me.

For extended use days or trips, I carry a big charging battery in my travel bag. The one I currently use is the RAVpower, based on suggestions by Wirecutter. It’s very nice, doesn’t weigh too much, and keeps my iPads fully charged while I’m using them, which is what I need.