The World is Flat: Writing for Extended Periods w/an iPad, Bluetooth Keyboard & Smartphone (as a second screen)

I bought an Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) Keyboard shortly after buying my iPad “1” in April 2010. And, being a creature of habit the first thing I did was position the iPad at a near right angle to my keyboard for extended typing use. There’s one problem with that configuration, however. The iPad, when placed on a desk or table, is generally too low to easily see at that angle. Some iPad cases provide relief for this problem by giving the iPad user several angle settings. However, most people who recently bought an iPad 2 also bought Apple’s remarkable Smart Cover for it. The Smart Cover only has two stand configurations: Nearly upright and nearly flat.

I decided to write most of a short (6 page) project proposal using an iPad 2 with Apple’s Pages word processor over the weekend. Experience with the first iPad had taught me that the right configuration for me was to have the iPad nearly flat (actually an approximately 15 degree angle) using the Smart Cover as a stand.

You can see what my setup looked like in the photo to the left. This is actually a much more natural configuration than you might imagine. It is relatively close to the position you might have assume if you were writing a long paper by hand with an pen or pencil.

That’s a Nexus One next to the iPad in the photo. I used it as a kind of second screen to look up or check information and images (diagrams and photos). Using a smartphone as a second screen meant that I never had to switch out of the Pages word processing app on the iPad.

After all the text had been written, I sent the Pages document to a Mac where I integrated budget tables from Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet (which had been prepared a few days earlier on the iPad), double checked the proposal, created a PDF file and emailed it to the client who had requested it.

I’ve found writing using an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard in this configuration to cause less muscle tension in the upper arms, shoulder and back. Your mileage may vary. But, you may want to consider this change if extended writing sessions sometimes leave you sore.

Publish date: April 11, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT