iPad and Wireless Keyboard

In the last year or so, I’ve been working to reduce my computer inventory so that I spend less time administering things and more time actually using them. As part of that, Kathleen and I recently got new iPads (the retina display is amazing).

After a bit of tinkering around, it occurred to me to try pairing it with the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s clearly not the same as a laptop but it’s definitely a replacement for a netbook or low-end notebook. Kathleen took to it right away, so now we each have one.

It’s going to be interesting to see how much I’m able to do with an iPad, wireless keyboard, and decent Internet access.

About Jeremy Zawodny

I'm a software engineer and pilot. I work at craigslist by day, hacking on various bits of back-end software and data systems. As a pilot, I fly Glastar N97BM, Just AirCraft SuperSTOL N119AM, Bonanza N200TE, and high performance gliders in the northern California and Nevada area. I'm also the original author of "High Performance MySQL" published by O'Reilly Media. I still speak at conferences and user groups on occasion.
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19 Responses to iPad and Wireless Keyboard

  1. No multi-tasking, no local shell and very cumbersome copy-and-paste kills productivity for me on the iPad w/ keyboard. A tiny low-end notebook at 1/3 the price always comes out long before the iPad when I need a keyboard. I still use the iPad when I am travelling for maps, yelp, IM and quick email checks. I thought by adding a keyboard I could use it for stuff that required typing more than a couple of lines, but it never felt comfortable for me.

    • Agreed. There are times when nothing beats a laptop–and I have one for those times. For all the rest of them, though, I think the iPad could be pretty damned good. I’ll find out.

  2. karoshi97 says:

    I think you’ll find this article pretty interesting


  3. Trung says:

    Isn’t it a bit ironic that you are trying to reduce your computer inventory by buying a new computer?

  4. JMZawodny says:

    I’ve got the same setup and am as happy as I can be when there is an app for what I want to do. As for copy-paste, it works well since the keyboard arrow keys (with shift) does an adequate job selecting things. I’m about ready to dump my desktop at work and try to live off of my iPad alone.

  5. I’ll be curious what you think; my own experience was that iOS really just doesn’t work with a keyboard very well. Moving between the screen and the keyboard was awkward. I really hated how once a keyboard is paired, the onscreen keyboard is inaccessible unless you press a key. I haven’t tried in a year, maybe it’s gotten better? For me I just use the iPad for things that the iPad is good at, for those times you really don’t want a keyboard.

  6. MarkF says:

    I’m in the process of trying to do the same thing. It feels like iOS is still about one or two major revisions from being good for this. And the apps are still lacking. It’s definitely a little weird having to switch from the keyboard to the screen and back some times.

    These days I’m doing a bunch of stuff with Google Docs. Surprisingly, you can’t really edit Docs on iPad in the browser. You can connect Pages using WebDAV, but the formatting gets screwed up. So for that, I’ve settled on QuickOffice Pro HD, which seems to have decent Google Docs integration. I also use iZip and iHighlight to view code (CodeNavigator seems better, but doesn’t support a lot of languages like Python). My friend really likes the Logitech keyboard/case combo, but I’m a little unsure about the smaller keyboard.

  7. Aaron Schaub says:

    My experience tells me that the iPad is great for consuming data and services, but not so good for creating them. It will do in a pinch to create documents, pics, etc., but it is not the right tool for the job. Although I have been able to be reasonably productive using a VDI instance on the iPad while attending conferences.

  8. i googled for adding an rss news feed to my blog on a certain keyword and came to an old post of yours. but the form is down now i think?

  9. Pingback: iPad Annoyance: File Uploads in Safari | Jeremy Zawodny's blog

  10. As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Touch screen vs keyboard

    The touch screen is definitely my favorite feature of a tablet. After a few moments of navigating, I promise that you’ll retire your mouse once and for all. But typing on glass takes some getting used to, and the first long email or document you try to create one pecking finger at a time will leave you yearning for your keyboard. The Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg would have made my life a whole lot easier. This thin, lightweight case has an integrated Bluetooth keyboard that you can activate when you need it, but it won’t weigh you down when you don’t. The flat base lets you type on uneven surfaces, such as your lap, and function keys allow for easy music and volume control. The aluminum cover blends seamlessly with the iPad’s unique look, letting you gain functionality without losing your cool.

  11. mrbrettcc says:

    I agree Jeremy, typing on the iPad is not easy when using the screen. We were so frustrated with the typing until we found the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s full sized and super nice to use for typing and the 10hr battery life was super for traveling. However, I hated carrying two devices around with me.

    We’ve solved our problem with a case that holds both together like a laptop. Sorry for the shameless plug, but if you’re interested, we call it the PadTop and we are looking to crowd fund our project. Our site is padtopcase.com

    There are more and more productivity tools for word processing (and even coding) for the iPad. I subscribe to the prediction that we may move away from the laptop and into some sort of hybrid laptop/tablet.

  12. Kenny says:

    Before I buy a wireless keyboard for my ipad could someone confirm or deny this; I was told that you can’t scroll web pages from the wireless keyboard, that you still have to use the touch screen.

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