My MacBook broke down recently and I had to take it to the Apple service centre. Before I could get spare Mac from my office, I gave a shot on using iPad to login remotely and work as most of my works are over remote servers.
I borrowed Apple magic keyboard from my brother for a week and connected it to the iPad. And it worked well. Except for the size of the screen and non availability of the mouse pointer, the experience was very similar to using a MacBook. Apple really has done some cool integration. They have made things re-usable in their ecosystem.
I want to share the different applications and tools which I used.
This was the life saver. With Termius, I was able to login to the remote systems easily. With keyboard, all the keyboard shortcuts which I use inside the terminal were working. Except for the iTerm specific key combinations.
One thing which irritated me was, frequent disconnections to the servers whenever I was using other applications like Safari etc. Even the more irritating part was — that I enable notification when the timeout is about to happen. It would send the notification but the connection would still break. This was probably because on switching the application for a longer time, the memory was released to other applications and Termius might not be maintaining the state of the active sessions.
Thanks to tmux. My works were not lost. And I could restore the workspace quickly.
I would be looking forward to having the original iTerm2 coming to iPads. As it has support shell integration (very useful for viewing the images / PDFs right there in the terminal), Tmux integration etc which saves a lot of time. That would be great. :)
Safari, Spotlight Application Search, Apple Eco System
When I use Mac, I do press `CMD+Space` quite often to go to spotlight search. I never expected that this would work on iPad. And Apple won my heart. I accidentally pressed this, and iPad spotlight opened suggesting me results similar to Mac results.
In Safari, all other commands to quickly open a new tab, private tab, closing tabs, opening history etc, all the shortcuts worked. I really appreciate this from Apple, who have ensured to give similar User Experience across all of its devices.
Not just Safari, all other applications like, iTunes, Notes etc which I use quite often — have very similar user experience with the keyboard shortcuts.
FaceTime and Messages — This is also one of the best things which I like from Apple. Access to Messages and Calls right there. Using this in the iPad while using it as development machine — made me feel like I am having a SIM card enabled laptop with me which has all sorts of features.
Application Switching & Locking the screen — Commands like `CMD+Tab`, to switch among applications, locking the screen with `CMD+Ctrl+Q`, were just amazing.
Having experience of such great integrations and uniformity across all the apple products, one thing which didn’t work was `CMD+Q`, to quite the application. I had to manually close the application through touch gestures.
I changed a few settings to make the keyboard work even better.
Keys Repeat — The default settings, for keys repeat is actually very slow. Under the Settings, Accessibility, Keyboards settings, I reduced the time for Key Repeat Interval and Delay Until Repeat to the minimum. May be, this is what I am used to with my MacBook. But, I liked it.
So, how my screen time looked like?
My usual screen time across my iPhone and iPad is somewhere between 2–3 hours. And day I started using this setup – my screen time went up by over 6 hours in half day time only. :P
The experience was awesome. It felt like you are using a touch based MacBook laptop with an external keyboard and no mouse. :)
If you have an external keyboard and an iPad, this will give you much needed breather when you do not have your MBP and you will like it.
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