iPad or iPad Mini for writing?

Hi. I like to write using my iPad 2 and a Bluetooth keyboard. Since my iPad is getting long in the tooth and the new iPads will be available shortly, I’m thinking of replacing it with an IPad Air or iPad Mini.

The key question is, “Which iPad?” My knee-jerk reaction to the Mini is that the screen is too small. On the other hand, the new Mini with Retina display is supposed to be incredibly clear and crisp.

Does anyone here use a Mini for writing? Is the screen size adequate for writing extensively? Anyone planning to get a new Mini?

Thanks for any feedback.



I use a Mini for writing. The Mini simply strikes a compromise between portability and functionality that is closer to the portability end than the compromise the iPad strikes. You don’t say how much portability you need, what ‘writing extensively’ means, or indeed how good your eyesight is for small screens. Without that information, it’s hard to advise you. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t want to use a Mini for writing all day - but I wouldn’t want to lug my wife’s iPad everywhere I lug my Mini.

How quickly we adapt to new standards of inconvenience!

My advice: check them out yourself if you can. Almost nobody has seen the new models. Maybe the new full-size model is light enough to make the mini superfluous; maybe the mini screen is so clear and sharp it is a joy even at the smaller size.

You really have to judge for yourself and that means waiting until both are available and on display somewhere near you so you can feel them, look at them, heft them. Unhappily this means waiting until December or so…

  • asotir

Another thing to consider besides screen size is keyboard size. If you plan on still using your current keyboard, then you’re fine, but if you want to get a keyboard case, the Mini’s keys will be a lot smaller. I was considering the Mini until I realized this; now I’m planning on getting the Air. It’s smaller than previous iPads and shaves off almost half a pound from the previous generation.

A review of the Air in the UK media today suggests that the 20 per cent shaving in its weight makes the Lug Factor significantly more tolerable.

I cannot help, since I’ve always used my iPad 2 for writing (and will still use it: it is still working great as a wordprocessor - plus, that da*n video adapter is not compatible with newer models).

However, please let me address those who refer to a keyboard/case: if you can, detach your keyboard from the screen. Screen and keyboard joined together where a necessity of the notebooks, and are all but ergonomic.

Placing the screen away from your fingers is much better for your neck, and will let you have a much better sight on your text.


My iPad 4 is essentially a field tool and, as such, is enclosed in an Otterbox Defender case. This trebles the thickness and doubles the weight, but even so, it still remains a very versatile and highly portable piece of kit. So, no planned upgrade on the horizon for me this year; I am intrigued by the idea of a Retina Mini, but am studiously avoiding Apple Stores to try and avoid giving my wallet any nasty surprises.

Gentlemen (Ladies?),

Thanks for the feedback and good questions.

Right now, I’m working so much with my current customer (I’m a contract software developer) that I have little time for writing of any kind. My writing is limited to responding to emails and posting on forums. Like right now.

I very much like using an iPad for writing because I can more easily write in a venue that supports creativity. “Easily” means being able to easily carry the device and write quickly without much hassle.

As I’m writing this, it forces me to think hard about what I need for more productive writing. Unlike some of my activities (like photography and video), writing doesn’t require much computer horsepower. But (for me) it requires decent screen real estate and a good keyboard. My workstations and laptop have large, high-resolution monitors and mechanical keyboards. I think I’ll need the same for writing on an iPad.

It now seems obvious that a full-size iPad Air is the better tool for me. The key (pardon the pun) remaining issue is what kind of keyboard/case is best. For portability, a keyboard/case combo might be best. OTOH, I’d like to remove the iPad for simple reading. Any recommendations for a keyboard/case combo?

I use and love mechanical keyboards, espececially the 88-key versions. Does anyone know of a good 88-key, wireless, mechanical keyboard?

Thanks and regards,


macstories.net/stories/ipad- … -creation/

If you have the cash, I’d at least look at Sony’s Tap11. It’s a full Windows machine with an excellent keyboard, one of the best screens out there, and a tablet size / form factor.


Again, thanks for the feedback. I looked at the Windows RT based tablets and they look interesting. However, there are a couple of issues.

The first issue is relatively minor - the widescreen format. I’m a software developer and hate that format for creating any type of text. The iPad’s 4X3 format is superior for writing, in my opinion.

The second is Microsoft. I spent 13 out of the last 20 years at Microsoft as a contract software developer, so I understand what the company is like from the inside. While Apple has lost it’s “oomph” since Jobs passed away, in general they still have a pretty clear idea of what customers need and want. On the other hand, Microsoft doesn’t quite get “it”. It is too ethnocentric and too focused on short term results. Their software has nasty, unfixed bugs that are years old. And their stack-ranking employee rating system is extremely destructive to building quality development teams - a key requirement for quality products. The bottom line is that I don’t have faith in Microsoft anymore.

Last weekend, I stopped by the Apple store and checked out he iPad Air. It’s very impressive. The overall quality is very high. It’s fast and has a great screen, and battery life is supposed to be very good. However it was the size and weight impressed me most. I’m going to wait until the Mini 2 comes out, but I’m about 90% sure that I will get an iPad air.



Young Master Dan,
Shame on you… you hedonist!



Not wireless, but a wired Das Keyboard might work…

daskeyboard.com/blog/how-to- … your-ipad/



That’s brilliant! I don’t have a Das Keyboard, but I do have four MajesTouch TenKeyless mechanical keyboards. And I have that iPad USB adapter. I hooked up one of them and it worked!!!

A wired keyboard is not as convenient as a wireless, but it does connect to the iPad, it gives me another option, and most importantly it allows me to type faster with less strain.

Many thanks,


May I ask: I know that Scrivener isn’t available yet for iPad. How do you write on an iPad and sync with your Scrivener app? Cut and paste from Pages somehow using Dropbox or is there a less manual approach? Obviously I am attempting to justify the purchase of an iPad but won’t do it unless I can use it for writing. Thanks for any thoughts–except waiting for Scrivener iPad. I hate waiting. Thanks very much.

Simplenote works well…

literatureandlatte.com/video … ouTube.mov

Matias is my favorite (maybe because I’m firmly situated in the Mac ecosystem and take full advantage of that). They make a couple of wireless keyboards, but the one I have is the “laptop pro”. They also have one that can switch between a computer and an iOS device with the press of a button, so you could control both. I don’t know if I trust the quality of that keyboard though, as it’s not really mechanical in the same way as the laptop pro and the wired “tactile pro” keyboards.

Thanks very much. I now have no excuse for not buying an iPAD–except my marriage.