The new laptop

It took a couple of Lego Star Wars games and a work policy modification to make me realize the extent to which the iPad has become my personal computer. The security configuration was changed to allow Universal Control to work at last, with the result that there is no personal anything on my work computer any longer – my RSS, Slack, Twitter, etc etc are all on the adjacent iPad mini and I can just mouse over. Then, after hours, it’s Lego Star Wars Castaways, which is a simple MMO probably aimed at a younger audience, but which hits all the marks for me.*

The thing is, this is such a more useful combination. I could have the 6.1” iPhone, a hair bigger screen than my iPhone X was, but it’s too much for a phone and not enough for an iPad. Instead, the iPhone 13 mini is perfect for everyday carry, but the iPad mini is ideally suited to travel in a way an an actual laptop would not be. I can do desktop-style browsing on it, up to and including actual work (I have done things from a tiki bar that prevented having to run right home, or worse, try to muddle it out on a 5.4” screen). And in a pinch, it fits into many of my jackets, and that ain’t hay.

The main thing, I suppose, is that I don’t pull up the laptop after hours. And I mostly don’t take the phone out on the couch either. I said a while back that it feels like the iPad has become Apple’s default solution, with the iPhone a subset and the Mac a superset that adds the command line layer – and lately, it feels like the iPad is the computer in a way that fits the same future-feel as the electric crossover in the driveway. Not for nothing, I can’t remember the last time I needed to get on the old iMac to do anything at all. (Having the ability to print wirelessly from the iPad is a significant thing.)

And the 8-inch display is big enough to be immersive. I’ve watched television on it without a fight. It’s easy to read with or without the glasses. It is the home pub night device for sure, with all the music and reading options available without the temptation and distraction of the phone. All by itself, it obviates the need for the phone and the Kindle and the scratch pad in one awkward heap.

So yeah, this was a good present. From London to Pismo to Disneyland, it’s gotten the job done and I’m grateful for it.

* Castaways is a Lego Star Wars game that takes place in what can only be described as a seaside village on a beach planet, in which you can run around doing simple tasks or play recreations of major settings in the original Star Wars trilogy – and you can do it alone or with ad-how groups, rather than needing the laborious “this is just a second job!”-type stylings of Work of Warcraft. You can’t beat two or three forms of escape at once, especially when it’s free with your Apple One subscription.

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