I am always upgrading my iOS ecosystem, from getting the AirPods Pro (and Max, which I’m surprised I haven’t blogged about??) and replacing my Apple TV, to now upgrading my Watch and iPad…again.

I work a warehouse job now, so it’s important that my Apple Watch can better stand up to the occasional smack on something hard. The display is way larger, though I usually only use traditional face displays devoid of all the widgets (complications??) on them. More stuff to read on notifications (which is what I primarily use my Watch for, since I am often busy, on my feet, and can’t always easily take out my iPhone to view) without having to scroll. And when I need to quickly respond to a text or email, there’s actually a keyboard on it to type, not dictate, a response!

As for my iPad Air…I initially thought about upgrading to the 11” iPad Pro. Fuller audio, improved game performance and experience, greater multitasking, better immersion when watching videos. Face ID for more a more consistent user-experience on my part, as I kept forgetting my iPad Air required Touch ID input after a day of using my iPhone. I’ve had netbooks, tablets, large phones, and used Dex since the late ’00s for the sake of ”portability”, so I’m accustomed to the smaller form factor.

Instead, this boy went ham and indulged himself with the big guns this time, trading in my iPad Air for the big boy, the 2021 12.9” iPad Pro, with the matching Magic Keyboard to boot.

Besides those just-mentioned reasons, I also upgraded for that bigger screen. This time, it wasn’t like when I had the initial, first generation iPad Pro, which I downgraded to the smaller size because I thought it was ”too big”, when the bezels were much larger than they are now. This time I wanted a better laptop experience, where I can view more information, read more tweets, see more whatever on a bigger screen. Where I can watch YouTube on a bigger screen with the better audio experience. Where I can see more Twitch chat activity while still having Discord or Twitter open concurrently, which when the chat is very active can be a pain to follow at times on the smaller 11” screen from my experience on the iPad Air. So when I’m typing, the tool bar on the bottom of the screen doesn’t take up as much real estate, and leaves much more room to compose.

iPads integrate much more with iPhones, even when comparing Macs. I can have the same apps on both devices, so when I need to transfer from one device to the other, I can easily pick up where I stopped. Many of the services I use have native apps on iOS and iPadOS, but don’t (or aren’t as frequently updated) on macOS. I can answer calls and iMessages more easily, which I know I can do on macOS, but the layout and UX are more consistent, which is key for me. FaceTiming is better with the front camera, which is eons better than anything on a Mac. I use Face ID instead of a password, my Watch, or Touch ID, for a consistent log-in and password experience.

iPads have touchscreens, giving me a third way to interact with my device after they keyboard and pointer, The Apple Pencil gives a fourth way to input with the ability to journal by hand, allowing me to scrapbook in the Notes app with links, screenshots, and photos in a way a real-world journal wouldn’t (I am not a memento person, so traditional scrapbooking isn’t something I’ve ever really done). Having access to these two input methods allows me to use iPad not just as a laptop equivalent, but also allow me to use in a wider variety of ways compared to a traditional laptop.

I also made sure I got the black Magic Keyboard, to match my black iPad Pro. So when the keys are backlit, they’re still viewable. I can finally compose again with a full-sized keyboard where many of the keys aren’t made so skinny that it messes with my typing. Having a functioning delete (backspace) key that I don’t need to press extra hard, because I accidentally spilled soda on it a while back on my prior keyboard. I don’t miss the lack of an escape key or row of function keys; I know many of the core Mac key combos instead (plus if I hold the command key down long enough, it will remind me what those shortcuts are). So I had a trackpad, but also a small footprint. And because it works with the smart connector on the back—as opposed to bluetooth—to skip input lag, forgo the constant double-lettering known to plague bluetooth keyboards, and not have to remember one more device to keep constantly charged; it also comes with a charge input, freeing up the USB port on the iPad itself should I need to use a peripheral of any kind.

With my iPad and Watch, each device had significant reasons to upgrade. As for my iPhone 12 mini, I plan on upgrading to the 13 Mini in time, for both the better battery and smaller notch. While I now use the biggest available iPad, I prefer the smaller form factor for my iPhone. I can use her one-handed, and I’m not the heavy-hitter with my iPhone like I used to be with Android when I was younger.

I just want devices, an ecosystem that just works. I finally have those devices, that ecosystem. 🍎

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