iPad air, mini or pro?

Duet works very well, probably because it uses cable and not bluetooth or WiFi. I’ve even used it with an iPad 4 without problems. To prevent the iPad from trying to do other stuff while I use it as an extra display I turn of its WiFi and cellular connection.

Just to bring up the caboose after fine and interesting comments, I am using an old iPad 2, and Scrivener works just fine with it.

Only assure that you’ve upgraded to latest iOS 9.3.3

I was overjoyed to find that Keith had provided fine side-by-side texts (or pics, or pdfs, etc.) even without the latest hardware, which work very well indeed.

If you don’t know how yet, the Tutorial is your friend :wink:

Whatever you get, think you’ll be happy with it. That said, as Katherine, I have a truely experienced ex-NZ journalist friend who is extremely happy with his mini. Write on it he does – and sans Scrivener so far, if I think he’ll see the way to be converted, once shown now.


I second these remarks; I’ve used it on an iPad 3. You can fine-tune it for performance – every time it’s seemed laggy, I either needed to a) stop it from doing other tasks, as lunk suggests, or b) adjust at the parameters I’ve set in the Mac side preferences. One thing that’s not obvious – if you have your iPad automatically backing up to iTunes, best to wait until the backup is complete or turn off backup while you’re using Duet on a slower iPad.

Being a glutton for gadgets, I’ve got one of everything. No, really. And the unpalatable fact is, no one size fits all needs.

Aside from email and web, I’ve got four key tasks for an iPad that occupy about 80% of my use time: reading ebooks, reading comics (in ComiXology), writing in Scrivener, and marking up page proof PDFs (currently using GoodReader, looking for a better app).

The iPad Mini (specifically the new mini 4, which has a much better colour gamut than earlier retina minis) is best for portability, and definitely wins as a device for reading ebooks on. It’s less good for creative work because it’s relatively cramped, and even the best keyboard cases are a bit of a lost cause: you really need an external stand and larger keyboard, which defeats the object of having a small device. (It’s also less than ideal for reading comics in ComiXology, by the way.)

The iPad Maxi (ok, the 12.9" Pro) is bulky and cumbersome; with the Apple smart keyboard cover and back shell it weighs more than a 13" Macbook Air, and all the display elements look huge on screen. If I was going to tote such a huge machine around to run Scrivener, I’d shrug and go for a full-power laptop. What the iPad Maxi is indispensible for is checking over PDF page proofs for errors and using Pencil to doodle red ink and marginalia all over them – a stage in production that is still normal in publishing (your managing editor emails you a vast PDF showing the final typeset image of your book, and you then go through it looking for typos and formatting errors and marking them on the pages: you then email the annotated PDF back to them). As I’ve got at least six books to do this for in three years, the Maxi iPad is earning its keep. Oh, and when it’s not working for a living, it’s a great comics reader.

The in-between size, the 9.7" iPad Pro, might be the perfect fit. It’s much more portable than the maxi, the keyboard cover gives just enough inter-key spacing to make touch-typing possible (with a bit of learning), the screen (with truecolor) is gorgeous, and the on-screen layout of Scrivener is just fine. It’s not quite as good as the larger iPad at doing the “big” screen stuff (work: displaying a full page image in PDF for markup; recreation: displaying comics) but is no worse than the iPad Mini at doing the “small” screen stuff (reading ebooks, running Scrivener).

So to summarize: If you have to get just one iPad, get the 9.7" Pro. (If on a budget, get the iPad Air 2; it’s nearly as good, and fits the same form factor.) If you don’t consume comics/visual media and don’t need to check page proofs but move around a lot, get the iPad Mini 4. If you’re a lawyer or have a job that requires you to work with lots of A4 or American Letter documents in PDF format, or if you’re really serious about feeding your comics habit, get the 12.9" iPad Pro.

Duet is wonderful. I use it with an MBA 13 and the big iPad Pro. Invaluable for Scrivener and TBX6
Customer support is superb - I got replies to a couple of queries by return.

Bonus: if you still have an older version of Tinderbox (5) you can use the Duet display as a touch screen for it. Watching nested containers opening up with a tap can keep you amused for hours.

Probably the best thing made for lawyers: http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/show-digitalpaper/resource.solutions.bbsccms-assets-show-digitalpaper-digitalpaper.shtml

Now if only Scrivener worked on one of them…haha…don’t mean to give you a heart attack Keith :mrgreen:

Can some of the “maxi” owners say something about the onscreen writing experience? Actually I don’t find it too bad on the 9,7" iPad. I really don’t want to carry an external keyboard - I can take a laptop then. I use the iPad air without a keyboard right now. But I think about switching to the 12" pro if writing on-screen is well and if it’s not too heavy. There should be a significant difference in weight and thickness to a MacBook air if not carrying an extra keyboard, shouldn’t it? Or is it that bulky? I’d love the large screen, but it wouldn’t make sense to me if I don’t notice the difference in my bag.

The 12" iPad weighs roughly as a 12" Macbook if you get the cover to the iPad. My main reason for getting the 12" iPad is because it is much better for reading and annotating scientific articles. I can have the whole page with reasonable text size. But for writing I prefer the laptops.

I’m using it with an iPad 2 and iOS 9: works great! Sync “just works”.

Congrats for this great work!

I’m considering getting an iPad Pro because of Pencil. I like the additional real estate on the 12", but am wondering if there is a corresponding horizontal stretch to the Scrivener keyboard there, same way as the standard iOS keyboard. (I have small hands, so something too large/wide can get actively painful.) Anybody out there with data?

The pencil is fantastic. It’s very close to using a pen and paper. Not quite, but almost, and in some ways better.

The keyboard stretches, but why tilt it?

Thanks for this useful set of comparisons, Charlie.

I have an iPad Air 2 with both a Zagg Folio and Zagg Slim Book keyboard case and its almost as good as my MacBookPro after loading Scrivener on it. The keys are nice and tactile like the Apple keyboards, and if I’m in an area of low light I can turn on the underlit keyboard lighting. It runs about two months on a charge (if I’m not running the keys lit up, or about 20 hours with the keyboard lit up, the newer non-lighting keyboard version of the Folio advertises a year between charges). and is comfortable to type on.

The iPad Pro is overkill for Scivener, though if you use the horsepower of the iPad Pro for other things when your not writing, I won’t complain that you use a Ferrari to run to the corner store for groceries…

I used the apple pencil at an Apple Store and found there was a noticeable delay in response; that is when you draw a line there’s a noticeable space between where you drop your pencil tip and where the line is actually drawn. Drawing still feels more natural with a pencil and paper. So I’ve decided to wait a few generations until they fix this; just don’t think the technology is 100%.

I have a Brydgeai Keyboard, combined with an original iPad Air.

Design is beautiful, it really looks like a small Macbook (check the pictures), it’s built in aluminium (some keyboards are lighter, but it’s okay with around 500 grams), it has backlights and typing is really like on a small Apple keyboard. Not really cheap though.
And it has built-in speakers that aren’t worth much.

I’m actually wondering if there’s a portable keyboard out there that feels like a traditional mechanical keyboard, and can be used for an iOS device. Everything out there seems to want emulate the typing experience on a MacBook; this is fine, unfortunately I tend to make more typing errors on the newer version of the MacBook than on traditional mechanical keyboard.

I use a Belkin

Traditional mechanical keyboards are inherently non-portable: that lovely touch comes from big clunky mechanical switches. However, if you don’t mind carrying a boat anchor around, you might try one of these:
wirelesshack.org/best-wirele … -2015.html

WASD is the gold standard in the mechanical keyboard world (a world populated by gamers, programmers, and a few writers), but they don’t make a wireless version. However, the keyboards in the article I linked use the same Cherry MX switches that WASD does.


It aint cheap, and it ain’t for the faint of heart… But go here: learn.adafruit.com/convert-your … d/overview from there you have a IBM Model M Bluetooth you can pair with your writing device of choice and fullfill your fondest dreams. Also you’ll have a keyboard that pulls double duty as a weapon in case of riots, zombies, or rejection letters.

I’m not connected to either company other than being a customer of the latter and a fan of the former.

This article may help. This one goes into some detail. And this keyboard might be what you’re looking for. Personally, I love slim, laptop style keyboards (and so do others in the same room while I’m typing) but you’re not alone in preferring the big clacky ones, which many swear by.

Thanks so much for all this guys! After some consideration I don’t think portability can ever be seriously achieved with a mechanical keyboard as Katherine states. I think I’m just going to settle with the future of keyboards…razor thin and error friendly!