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iPadPro as a Laptop Replacement: 2 Month Report

The iPadPro with Citrix and the X1 Mouse makes it a real laptop alternative.

For the past 2 months, I have left my laptop in the office and used only my iPadPro for mobile work. On my desk, I still want a large display and multiple monitors. But when I'm roaming to office conference rooms, working from home or traveling, I switched over to the iPadPro-exclusively-to get the full experience.

Gear:

  • Belkin B2B064 Sleeve: Good iPad protection plus outer zipper pocket for accessories
  • Apple Smart Keyboard: Smallest, lightest integrated option
  • Citrix X1 Mouse: Essential for navigating Windows app hosted on XenApp
  • Apple Pencil: Works well for freehand drawing and notes
  • Lightning to HDMI: Good for presentations

Apps:

  • Citrix Receiver: Access to my XenDesktop Virtual Desktop and Windows work apps, SAP, etc
  • WorxMail: Secure work email, runs local and offline.
  • WorxWeb: Secure web browser
  • WorxNotes: Work Notes
  • Citrix ShareFile: For document storage, allows online or offline access with sync
  • GoToMeeting: Online meetings
  • Messages: For work and personal messages
  • Slack: For team engagement

I can say, unequivocally, that with this setup, you can definitely leave your laptop home (or work) and do everything you need. There are many pros and a few cons.

Pros:
Lightweight - the iPadPro is only 1.6 pounds plus another 11 ounces for the Smart keyboard. I tried some other keyboards, but liked the ease of flipping to tablet mode with the Smart Keyboard.

10 hour battery life makes all-day work easy. Also, having the lighting connector for power is great for any iPhone owner that already has lighting cables around the home, office and car. The cable and power brick is also smaller & lighter than any laptop power cables.

The option for built-in cellular data makes the iPadPro more mobile than most laptops.

Using the Citrix X1 Mouse makes all the difference when connected to a virtual desktop or windows app. Right-click, drag and drop, scroll, everything works as expected.

The Apple Pencil works great for native apps like drawing or photo edits. It feels better than any other stylus I have tried, although I do not find myself using it much. It also works well inside a XenApp session and can be used instead of the mouse. However lifting your hand to the screen repeatedly gets tiring fast. I haven't lost the Pencil yet, but it's crazy there is no magnet or slot for it (I have also had a recent problem where my pencil does not charge.. I get a "not certified" error).

The ability to easily rotate and sit back in couch surf mode with touch is something I do almost every evening and is preferable to a laptop.

The coming version of Receiver enables the Split View feature. I often have my Virtual XenDesktop in 3/4 of my display, and local Slack or Messages in the 1/4 sidebar.

Cons:
There are still sometimes working off-line is required. I can use the native apps but full feature Powerpoint is not an option.

The Apple Smart Keyboard keys are not backlit, this is a problem in dim light (Logitech and others have backlit keys but are heavier).

More Stories By Chris Fleck

Chris Fleck is Vice President of Emerging Solutions at Citrix Systems. Chris started his career at IBM working across multiple engineering and product organizations leading to Business Unit Exec of the IBM Industrial Computer Group. As a pioneer of new technologies, Chris founded an IBM spin-off to commercialize the initial Server Blade products as CEO of OmniCluster Technologies. At Citrix Chris is responsible for Emerging Solutions and is involved with or leading strategic initiatives at the company. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog at TechInstigator.com

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