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Issue #28: 2021 iPad goals

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Happy New Year!

It’s 2021, a shiny new year that will treat us all better, or so I hope. 2020 was hard for everyone, yours truly included, although I’m thankful for what I got. If you’re curious about such matters, I wrote a short blog post about my 2020.

2020 saw the launch of Switch to iPad, the newsletter you’re reading right now. I published 27 issues, one per week mostly. Most of those letters were for paying subscribers only, but some were free. Switch to iPad is a project I’ve been meaning to kick off for quite some time, so I’m glad I finally got around to it. The iPad’s been my primary computing device for so long, it’s almost weird that it took so long to get here.

I’ve spent the past couple of days contemplating my iPad workflows and usage. The relative downtime has made me both question and discover things. Like how I miss having an iPad mini around. I used to have one for light reading and gaming, 12.9” isn’t ideal for either of those in most scenarios. Likewise, working from home has made my workplaces static, which means I can always have a keyboard and trackpad, and sometimes an external screen, so the 12.9” size isn’t such a key factor anymore. At least not until I edit a photo in Darkroom, or create a social media post for a client in Canva. I’m considering going back to the 11” model just to see how it feels, but I think it’ll be too big too, it’s just not small enough.

I’ve landed in nine iPad goals for 2021. Some aren’t really actionable goals as such, more a starting point to what might become a goal. It’s not a New Year’s resolution, after all.

Here goes:

  1. Take more and better notes, using the Apple Pencil, and organize them properly. I’m already doing this quite extensively using GoodNotes, but I feel like something’s missing.
  2. I’ve resolved to write more fiction, which means that Ulysses, my writing app of choice at the moment, will get more use, so I’m going to spend some time getting it better organized.
  3. Experiment with peripherals, like powering a Raspberry Pi from the USB-C port to keep a development server available on a local network. Yeah, I know… The idea is to challenge the typical setup, if possible, and that means thinking outside the box a bit.
  4. Read on the iPad instead of the iPhone. A 12.9” screen is great for many things, but it’s cumbersome to read long-form texts. My iPhone 12 mini isn’t ideal for comfortable reading, but it’s preferable to the bulky 12.9” iPad Pro. Fingers crossed for an iPad mini with the Air form factor… Either way, I want to start reading primarily on an iPad again, so I’ll have to figure this out somehow.
  5. I’m going to get back to playing the guitar. There are great apps for that, I subscribe to the Fender Play one for example, but it’s definitely worth looking into other alternatives. I’m quite looking forward to this.
  6. On that note (pun intended), I’m going to dig into various music making apps, like Koala for example. Who knows, I might even actually learn how to use Korg Gadget properly this time around… All those music apps will surely mean I’ll have to get some nice accessories too.
  7. Re-evaluate more in-depth use of Shortcuts. There are some great sites, newsletters, and YouTube channels out there that provide excellent starting points so don’t expect me to go all tutorials on you, but I will get to Shortcuts in this newsletter too. A lot of you have asked why there hasn’t been a letter about that, and there’s obviously a reason for this. We’ll get there.
  8. Dig deep into widgets. In a way, I already have thanks to the iPhone’s quite superior use of them, but where — if at all — do they fit in my iPad workflow, and are they, like Shortcuts, worth the hassle? I’m going to find out.
  9. I’m going to finish Baldur’s GateBaldur’s Gate IIIcewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment on my iPad. This might be the hardest one to complete, actually.

That’s what at the top of my mind at the moment. Of course, things can change, and they can do so quickly depending on what Apple throws at us.

I’ve got a few Switch to iPad things I want to do too, like taking the 30 first issues and cram ‘em into an ebook. Paying subscribers will get access to that for free obviously, but I’ll put it up for sale through Amazon and Apple Books as well. I want to publish more letters too, and maybe get a proper site too ( points to the Substack archive). Speaking of Substack, the design options are sorely limited for these letters, but I’ll do what I can to spruce them up a bit more. I have no plans to move Switch to iPad from Substack though, despite this. Getting the infrastructure for “free” (they take a cut from the subscription fees) saves me time I don’t really have, although it’d be a small matter to set up a similar solution myself. Priorities…

There’ll be a subscriber survey in due time too, but I hope you all know that you can reach out to me by hitting reply, leaving a comment on the Substack post, or just tweet to @tdh with your musings.

I hope 2021 has started well enough for all of you. I’m easing into it myself, trying to get my bearings before I set out properly again.

Until next time!

— Thord D. Hedengren

In the wild…