From Paper to Iron – Is the iPad Mini a useful work device?

image: Apple Canada
image: Apple Canada

I am thinking about upgrading from my ancient iPad to a new iPad mini 2 or 4 for work purposes — specifically taking notes at meetings and in the field. Wondering if anyone else is using a tablet in this manner and what I should be considering?

Mostly I want to skip the step of transcribing notes from paper into digital form from meetings, and not worrying about the rain when I’m out on a video shoot on a typically damp Vancouver day — and ending up with a soggy notebook and blurred, hard to read text (my cursive is idiosyncratic enough without becoming a watercolour!).

I am hoping the smaller tablet will be more convenient for holding in one hand and note-taking, as well as fitting in a jacket pocket when carrying video gear. I can also use it to monitor and control GoPro cameras, which we use extensively at Metro Vancouver.

image: New York Public Library digital collection (
image courtesy of New York Public Library digital collection (

I love my ultrafine sharpies and could easily develop a Moleskine habit (resisting this ex$pensive option to date), but the luxury of good pen and paper must play second fiddle to efficiency and effectiveness in this instance. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Having said that — sticking with Apple for reasons of compatibility and don’t confuse me with your odes to lovely white, white pages and black, black ink. I get it and have the bookshelf of old notebooks to prove it. :-)

Key issues I am trying to decide:
  • Version 2 or 4? (does faster wifi warrant extra cost?)
  • Is it really one hand (held) in real life?
  • Has anyone gone whole hog with a cellular equipped version to replace phone as well?

The old XTC song that inspired the post title: