Original Link: http://shawnblanc.net/2013/02/ios-empowered-by-apps/

Shawn Blanc:

It’s 7:00 am on a Saturday morning. Saturday, April 3, 2010. And I’m standing in line at my local Apple Store to buy an iPad.

Believe it or not, just two days prior, I had no plans to buy an iPad. But, be it gadget envy, a hunch, or whatever, I changed my mind at the last minute and I bought an original iPad on day one. And I’m glad I did, because looking back I realize I was, in a way, standing in line for a 9.7-inch slab of history.

For a year or two, my iPad primarily served as a “content consumption” device (ugh). Though mixed with casual email checking, to-do list management, and writing session, my iPad was primarily used for things like reading, watching videos, and surfing the web. Whenever it was time to get to work, I reached for the Mac.

The fact that I primarily “took in” content rather than “create” it wasn’t a limitation of the iPad so much as it was the software that accompanied it. The iPad shipped with a handful of creation-centric apps, but none that could fully replace my dependence on my Mac.

Moreover, when the iPad was new, things created on the iPad liked to stay on the iPad. In Pages, for example, the process of syncing a document was a joke. Notes were synced awkwardly over IMAP to the Mail app on my Mac. And Syncing my Things to-do list, though clever at the time, needed all devices to be on the same wi-fi network with Things launched.


My iPad workflow relies heavily on apps and services such as Dropbox,1PasswordTextExpanderPosterSimplenoteWritingKitOmniFocus,InstapaperReederTweetbotDiet Coda, and Pinbook. Many of these apps didn’t exist on the iPad in 2010. But now that they do, I can leverage them to get the same work done on my iPad that I do from my Mac.

Our iOS devices have been empowered by 3rd-party apps.

I wanted to comment on this post by Shawn as it’s close to my original use of the iPad and now. I use my iPad for so much more than just content consumption these days. It’s almost always got a keyboard with so I can write or do some quick coding on a web site, or throw together something quick in Pythonista or ScriptKit. I use Dropbox, Diet Coda, Koder, Poster, Pinbook, Byword, Netbot and Tweetbot daily, as well as using it for most of my spreadsheets and writing. In fact, I’m currently writing this post from my iPad.

The apps definitely make the device, and with the iPad, it’s also the connections. I store code on Dropbox, so I can use Koder (Diet Coda doesn’t have Dropbox support yet) to update it. I use Byword to take care of writing from Dropbox. Whereas when the iPad was first released.. You couldn’t have any of those connections as easily.