Returning to a MacBook Pro as My Primary Development Machine
If you’ve followed me on LinkedIn or through my other Medium articles, then you’ll know I’ve made a bit of a name for myself in using an iPad as a primary development machine. In fact, if you Google “iPad data science” right now, the top hit is this article where I talk about how I used to use my iPad to complete data science work. The reason I originally did this is because I really loved using an iPad for personal things, so I wanted to see if I could use it as a legit development machine. And it surprisingly worked out okay…
For a while.
While it’s still completely possible to complete data science work, it was frankly a pain in the neck. I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get anything done, so over time, I tried a number of different setups which all had their own benefits. But in the end, I decided to finally return to a 16" MacBook Pro as my primary development machine. For this post, I’m going to chronicle my journey from setup to setup, noting what went well until things ultimately got derailed by what went wrong. We’re going to start this journey in 2020 when I sold my 2018 13" MacBook Pro and started all these unique setups until I finally settled back on just getting myself another MacBook. My honest hope is that Apple will read this and decide to create a legit 2-in-1 tablet / laptop combo, because spoiler alert: that would essentially solve all my woes. 😂
Let’s go on my weird journey!
Setup #1: Just an iPad Pro
Our journey begins in April 2020 when Apple announced the Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro. This would be the first major time when Apple would really embrace having a cursor-based interface on the iPad. I had already been considering what it would be like to use an iPad Pro as a sole machine, and given that I could already write blog posts and perform graphic design with the Affinity Designer app, the Magic Keyboard sealed the deal for me to sell my 2018 13" MacBook Pro and go full in on the iPad. Moreover, excellent apps like Textastic and Juno were already showing great promise from being able to do things on the iPad. So I jumped in with both feet, and I almost immediately started having issues…