Back in 2012, I bought my very first iPad, the iPad 3. Since then, I have owned 4 more iPads namely iPad mini 2, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 2017 and now iPad Pro 2020. Having used iPads for years, I can tell that Apple has come a long way from where it started with its iPads.
In the initial days, iPads were not powerful enough to compete with traditional computers and hence were limited to being entertainment-centric devices. But with time, the iPads became capable and made the category famous enough that traditional PC makers had to embrace the value of the tablet, and have made it a part of many new laptop designs. Microsoft’s Surface, for example, and several other two-in-ones, sport a tablet mode as well as a complete computing mode, allowing you to turn the keyboard out of the way or completely remove it.
Today, as iPads have become such powerful machines, with some models like iPad Pros competing with a lot of traditional computers in terms of power, it’s the perfect time to get some professional work done on them. So, we will mention some of the additions, both hardware and software, that can make iPad your only blogging device.
But the major upgrade to iPads came with the introduction of iPadOS. iPadOS brought a couple of useful additions to the iPad, like cursor support, a better multi-tasking and a well-crafted Files App. Also the ambitious developers are continuously bringing in a lot of apps (like LumaFusion, Pixalomator Photo, Affinity Photo etc.) which can stand close to the traditional PC apps, to utilize the massive power of new iPads.
Note: Everything we are suggesting below are the things we have tried ourselves and hence feel confident in recommending them.
1. Apple Pencil
The Apple Pencil, is of course, the natural choice of stylus for iPads. Apple Pencil feels comfortable in the hand, and Apple has done a great job in implementing palm rejection. With Apple decreasing the latency from 20ms to 9ms, using the Apple Pencil gets so smooth and it feels like you are writing onpaper (a bit slippery though). This experience has been taken to another level on iPad Pros due to the 120Hz Promotion Display.
The astonishing pressure levels mean that your gestures are perfectly replicated by the Apple Pencil, even at the most acute angles, and it boosts all your favourite innovative iOS apps. The bottom line is, if you can afford, Apple Pencil is the best option to go for.
2. Logitech Crayon
Although Apple originally revealed that the Logitech Crayon would only be available to schools and educators, it later changed its tune and made this cheaper Apple Pencil substitute. available to all (although at a somewhat inflated price point). When comparing it against Apple Pencil, the lack of pressure sensitivity hurts this one a little, but it packs many useful features such as palm rejection, instant wireless access to compatible iPads and tilt support, allowing you to change the thickness of a line by altering the angle at which you are using the Crayon. It’s nothing revolutionary, but, with a good 7-hour battery life, it’s inexpensive and reliable.
NOTE: Logitech Crayon doesn’t support iPads launched before iPad 6th Generation (2018).
Keyboards and Pointing Devices
1. Magic Keyboard
Magic Keyboard uses the much better feeling scissor-mechanism keys unlike the dreaded Butterfly keyboard or the fabric keyboard found on the Smart Folio Keyboard cases. The keyboard has a good key-travel and a satisfying thunk to it. The keys are backlit too. The brightness automatically changes depending on the conditions of ambient lighting, and most of the time they are exactly at the right brightness.
The trackpad is good, a bit on the smaller side though. You may click anywhere on the trackpad, and it will register the click. Using it is a quite smooth experience and there’s no input lag on iPadOS.
The features that make the Magic Keyboard stand-out are the floating design, and the extra USB-C port in the hinge.
Still it’s not perfect owing to imperfections like the lack of esc and shortcut keys, and the clunky design which makes the overall package quite heavy.
Note: Magic Keyboard only supports iPad Pros released after 2018 and iPad Air 4th Generation.
2. Logitech Folio Touch
Logitech came with a much cheaper alternative, $160 compared to the starting price of $299 of the Apple Magic Keyboard. The complete package includes a case, a back-lit keyboard and surprisingly, a trackpad. The keyboard has a good amount of key travel, a little less satisfying when compared to Magic Keyboard but feels good to use. The trackpad is also surprisingly good. It’s responsive and registers click very well.
The keyboard is connected to the iPad using a smart connector, so there’s no need for you to charge it. The added advantage that it has over the Magic Keyboard is that it has both the esc key and shortcut keys. Also the kick-stand provides more versatile choices of angles as compared to the Magic Keyboard.
Since the keyboard is inclined towards being a case too, it makes your iPad more bulkier than the Magic Keyboard.
NOTE: Logitech Folio Touch only supports iPad Pro 11” and iPad Air 4th Generation as of now.
For all other iPads the best keyboard case is the Logitech Rugged Folio Keyboard. It’s quite a capable keyboard with typing experience similar to the Logitech Folio Touch. The only downside is the lack of trackpad.
Also, if you already own a Mac, the combo of Magic Keyboard + Magic Mouse/ Magic Keyboard + Magic Trackpad works good with the iPads.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using iPads as computer alternatives was the lack of multiple usb ports. But soon companies came up with solutions such as USB Hubs. The USB Hubs along with the newly updated Files App gets the work done.
Certain USB Hubs provide the additional functionality like multiple USB ports including USB-A ports, card reader slots, headphone jack and even HDMI cable outputs.
Our personal picks:
1. Google Docs (On Safari)
Google Docs App works much better than it used to. Initially, the app was quite painful to use, but due to some recent updates the app has become quite good in what it does. But still the app looks alot like a mobile phone version app and offers very limited features when compared to its desktop counterpart.
But with iPadOS Safari offers adesktop-grade web browsingexperience making Google Docs as capable as the desktop version of the app.
Google Docs on Safari is a fully functioning document app, even offering the right click for options functionality. An amazing feature that we love on Google Docs is that it allows more than one individual to work on a document simultaneously. The best feature about Google Docs is that it provides a ‘suggestion feature’ which helps you to get suggestions from others on your document, without altering the original document.
The native Notes App on iPad has come a long way. It has almost all the perks and features for someone who makes casual notes. Also, scribble makes the app quite interesting to use. The iCloud integration also makes the app really convenient to use. But still, for someone who uses the iPad a lot as a notes taking tool, the notes app can be a little limiting.
For extensive use, the app that shines the best is Notability. Notability is an app which has been on the App Store for a quite long time, and has become almost perfect in the time. Notability does everything that the native notes app does, but is better in all those tasks. One of the best features is the Record and Annotate. When playing back audio, Notability will animate when the text was added to the page during the recording so that it’s easy to know what prompted you to write something down.
All these features make Notability our choice of note-taking app.
Being a blogger, the cover images, posters and social media posts are crucial elements of work. The cover image is what attracts the readers to click on your articles. So, designing an attractive cover image is important. This is where Bazaart comes in the picture.
Bazaart is an award winning Editor’s choice photo editor and graphic design app on App Store. After using almost all the possible apps for the same purpose, we found Bazaart the most effective, features-packed app. Bazaart also offers a lot of templates to decide from, which makes our work quite easy.
Other important tools like smart cutter, scissors tool, shadow tool, etc add the professional flavour to the app.
4. Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo can manage RAW images, handles infinite layers, refined selection methods, modes of layer blend and adjustments of opacity, masking, all familiar layers of adjustment such as curves, heights, HSL, exposure, brightness, black and white, and many more. Via channels that allow luminosity masking and other advanced editing techniques, you can make refined selections, or you can pick objects using selection brushes, freehand selection, rectangular marks, and more.
For a lot of photographers’ needs, the features provided in Affinity Photo will be enough. You can create panoramas, merge HDR, and merge focus. The layering options offer countless possibilities for refined changes or even for more innovative tasks such as image compositing.
There comes a time when the bloggers need to add motion photos/gifs to their work. There are a lot of gif maker apps on the App Store, but most of them are very limited in functionality. If you are looking for a gif maker app for professional work then, ImgPlay should be your go-to app.
ImgPlay allows professional features like cropping a video, selecting fps, selecting quality, and colour manipulation too.
So, we have shared all our tools for blogging with the iPad! Now it’s time for you to start using these tools for your blog.
Please write to us, if you think we missed your favourite tools.
Liked this piece? Also read: Play These iPhone/iPad Games For Console-Like Experience
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