It started out as only a tablet, but thanks to a number of hardware and software improvements, Apple’s iPad now is good enough to act as a notebook in its own right. And given how fast it works, its excellent battery life and very portable form factor (not to mention a base price that’s below Rs 30,000), using an iPad as a notebook is not as outlandish as it sounded a few years ago. Of course, you would need some accessories to help you along the way. We suggest picking up the following for your iPad, and before you know it, you will not be missing your laptop or even your desktop for that matter:
Prop it up nicely with a stand
Very underrated, but in our opinion, the very first accessory for anyone wanting to notebook-ise their iPad is a good stand. A stand on which you can prop up your iPad and even change viewing angles, and look at while typing away on a keyboard (more of which later). This could be part of an iPad cover or might even be independent. Make sure it is solidly built – you do not want your iPad falling off it.
Type away happily with a keyboard
Perhaps the one accessory that comes to most people’s minds when you talk of using your iPad as a notebook is a keyboard. Yes, the onscreen keyboard of an iPad is handy but for long typing sessions, you need a proper keyboard. While you could always pair any Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad, with new iPad OS, support for keyboards has further improved. So much so that you can even connect a wired keyboard to an iPad. If you are looking for portability, you can get a keyboard which is part of an iPad cover or just grab a keyboard and carry it along separately. You also now have the option of getting a keyboard with a trackpad as the iPad now supports trackpads too.
Point and click with a mouse
Yes, you can use a mouse (or a trackpad) to navigate on your iPad now, thanks to iPad OS 13.4. The iPad can now be paired with any Bluetooth mouse. So if you do not like to reach out and touch the display every time you want to scroll or navigate on the iPad, just go grab any Bluetooth mouse. Pairing is very easy through the Bluetooth menu, and yes, a tiny circular cursor will appear on the display when you pair your iPad with a mouse. Incidentally, you can also get a trackpad for your iPad if you wish, as those are supported as well – mouses are more popular, though.
Add ports to it with a multi-port adaptor
One of the biggest shortcomings of the iPad is the absence of ports. The iPad has only a single port – a lighting or a USB Type C one depending on the model of your choice. And that means you cannot attach devices to it easily, like hard drives, printers, microphones, wired keyboards, phones and so on, unless they support Bluetooth. So how do we add more ports to it? Simple, just buy a multi-port adaptor. This accessory adds USB ports, card readers and sometimes even ethernet and 3.5 mm audio jacks to your iPad. The important part to remember is that this accessory will also consume a lot of battery so use it carefully.
Get a card reader to use memory cards
Well, your multi-port adaptor might come with an inbuilt card reader, but in case it does not (or if it has limited card slots, as is often the case), it always makes sense to grab one independently. This will let you read and use memory cards on your iPad. So you can literally take the memory card out of your camera or your phone and view it on your iPad. You can opt for a card reader that connects directly to your iPad (through the lightning or USB Type C port) or through the multi-port adaptor. Just keep in mind that it should have slots for different kinds of cards, like micro SD cards (used in phones) and SD cards (used in cameras).
Add gigs of storage, with a memory card or portable hard drive
Another restriction of the iPad is the fact that it does not come with expandable memory (no memory card slot, and no ports, remember?). So if you find the storage on your iPad inadequate or just want to transfer data quickly from your iPad to another device, just as you do on a notebook, you can invest in a memory card (provided you already have a card reader) or in a portable hard drive – the iPad supports both of them.
Scribble and draw with a stylus
Initially, only the iPad Pro had support for a stylus. However, now most iPads do, and there is even support for handwriting recognition. So if you are the type that likes to scribble on your notebook or make a quick sketch, or even to quickly sign a document you can buy a stylus. You could go for the super expensive Apple Pencil or even other basic styluses, depending on what your requirements are.