My daily mobile work rigs — all iPads, all the time

Mobile guy that I am I prefer to carry the smallest rig possible that will do everything I need to do. While I work out of my home office I don’t like the isolation that enforces, so every morning I head out first thing to work in public. This has several benefits: I get exercise as I live downtown and walk for transportation and I get inspiration watching how people use their mobile devices.

Light rail 600Most days I work in several coffee shops, sidewalk cafes, and a host of other venues. I move around frequently to offset the hours of sitting and writing. I walk 5 – 10 miles a day this way. Occasionally I’ll take the light rail to Houston’s great museum district. Museums are fantastic places to work for an hour or two. I always change up my work environment to keep things enjoyable and to keep from getting bored.

Daily rigMy primary daily work system is the iPad Air 2 with the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard (pictured right). This pair allows me to use the iPad as a pure tablet, which is about 50 percent of my work day. The iPad Air 2 is wearing an Apple Smart Cover. When it’s time to get busy writing I open the keyboard which powers it on and connects it to the iPad.

The Microsoft keyboard has a stand for the tablet that enables positioning in two different viewing angles. This works in either landscape or portrait, but I usually stick to the common wide screen. I can open the keyboard up and be writing in seconds.

EcoCity bag 300This combo is very small and light and my bag stays that way as the only other device that comes with me is the iPhone 6 Plus. All of this fits in a surprisingly small bag I found a few weeks ago that I absolutely adore. The EcoCity Crossbody bag is a sling type that can be worn across the back (my preferred method), across the chest, or slung over one shoulder. This bag was only $20 on Amazon yet has a lot of compartments and pockets. The main compartment will just barely hold the iPad Air 2, even in a keyboard case. It easily handles the Microsoft keyboard and the iPad Air 2.

This system works so well for me due to the versatility it offers. I can just pull out the iPad and use it as a tablet, or I can get the keyboard with the iPad and have a functional laptop replacement. For light work I can use the iPhone 6 Plus which is surprisingly capable given the big screen.

iPad mini 3 LogitechThat’s the rig I use 90 percent of the time, but if I don’t plan on writing much I occasionally carry the iPad mini 3 with either the Logitech Keys-To-Go (see image right) or the Microsoft keyboard. The smaller iPad is more comfortable for tablet stuff given its lighter weight and smaller size than the bigger iPad. The mini has an Apple Smart Cover which can serve as a stand when using with the Logitech keyboard. While I wouldn’t bring this combo if I had lots of writing planned, it can handle a decent work load in case it pops up. Of course the iPhone always comes along.

That’s what I carry every day, and both of the combos are great mobile systems that do what I need. I haven’t carried a laptop in months except when I am testing one for review. That doesn’t happen frequently so the iPads are the core components of my go-to daily systems.

My philosophy for mobile gear hasn’t changed in years. I want the smallest, lightest kit that can do everything I need to do. I won’t compromise my work as I take it very seriously, and I want to go as small as possible. I write at least 10,000 words a week and these systems handle it with ease.

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