Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Oct 2017 16:42 UTC

In the summer of 2017, I wanted to know what it would be like to use an iPad Pro as my main computer. I found out that it can actually work, thanks to an iOS app called Blink, an SSH replacement called Mosh, iOS 11 and running stuff on a server.

You could argue the title is a tad bit misleading - there's a lot of thin client DNA in his setup - but it's an interesting look at how to achieve this, nonetheless.

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"Of course you would need to search a bit for a laptop with a great touchscreen that runs silent and has 10 hours of batterylife but those DO exist nowadays for the same pricepoint as the iPad Pro.

Much, much less than the iPad Pro, more like the basic iPad. The current crop of ultra low power Atom and Pentium branded SoCs from Intel offer phenomenal battery life and good everyday performance, certainly enough for a dumb terminal setup. Laptops based on those configurations start around US$200, and it's rare to see one over US$500. In fact, at that latter price you can get something like the Asus Q304UA, which ticks all of your boxes at half the cost of the iPad Pro.
Let me state that they are not my boxes, they come from the original article:

Pros 🤠
This setup is highly portable, you don't even have to join a WiFi network
Battery lasts forever and the iPad runs absolutely silent
Screen is absolutely gorgeous, it really is
Doesn't fry your thighs because docker runs somewhere else
Apple keyboard works as well as the one on the MacBook Pro
Touch screen and a pencil
Cons 🤔
Unless you have a spare one, this setup comes with a monthly spend for a server
You can't work unless you have LTE or WiFi
It's not for people using graphical IDEs
You can't connect an external monitor (don't mention airplay)
For that matter, you can't connect any hardware

I don't think you can get a highly portable machine with an absolutely gorgeous screen, absolutely silent, LTE-support, touch-screen for 200 or even 500 Euro. So either you should think about increasing the price close towards that 1000 dollar goal and get all the pro's and many less of the cons, or you can lower the price and give up some of the pro's but also have less of the cons. Either way the iPad Pro doesn't seem like the best way to go.

That Asus does look like a nice machine and I agree that you could get a decent amount of work done on it, especially with the remote development environment. However it has a 5400 RPM HDD so it will not be as quiet and fast as an iPad Pro. Same for the graphics-card, webcam and weight-thickness that are all worse than the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro is simply way overpowered and overpriced for what is needed in this setup.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Morgan Member since:

I was only meeting the requirements of what I quoted from you, and that point stands. :-) Though I should have mentioned, there is a version of that Asus laptop with solid state storage, that would alleviate any noise issue. I will say too, having owned a convertible laptop with a spinning hard drive, it's not as loud as you would think. It's noticeable in a completely silent room, but the unit I owned had the drive set to a "quiet mode" that only spun up when it needed uncached data, or was writing a ton of data to storage. Cloud computing situations would mean that drive stays quiet most of the time.

As for the article itself, yes there are laptops that meet all of the author's requirements including LTE support, and they can be as expensive as US$700 or more. Still, that's a few hundred less than an iPad Pro, and that's before buying the required keyboard for the iPad.

Reply Parent Score: 4