Apple’s iPad Pro as main computer for coding

“In the summer of 2017, I wanted to know what it would be like to use an iPad Pro as my main computer,” Jannis Hermanns blogs eponymously. “I found out that it can actually work, thanks to an iOS app called Blink, an SSH replacement called Mosh, iOS 11 and running stuff on a server.”

“I pretty much spend most of my programming time in the terminal. I use zsh as a shell (although I’ve been interested in elvish lately), tmux for window management and neovim as an editor,” Hermanns writes. “I program mostly in ruby, go and node and run everything using Docker.”

“Apart from that, I use Inbox and Slack for communication, a web browser for my googling, dash to look up documentation, 1Password to manage my passwords and Alfred to be fast at all of that,” Hermanns writes. “In conclusion, I guess you can say that my workflow is suited perfectly for this experiment. I’d be out of luck if I relied on a visual IDE or proprietary software as is the case when you’re, say, an iOS developer.”

iPad Pro, in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, introduces the world’s most advanced display and breakthrough performance
iPad Pro, in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, introduces the world’s most advanced display and breakthrough performance

Hermanns writes. “The iPad Pro with Apple’s Smart Keyboard in conjunction with a server running ZSH, tmux and neovim makes a fantastic portable development machine that leaves very little to wish for.”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Very cool and even more proof that, yes, Apple’s iPad is very much a “real computer.”


  1. I can also get to the grocery store on a tricycle, but probably not a good choice.

    You will inevitably run into something (likely on Fay 1) that is either impossible or very inefficient.

    iPad is not meant to be a replacement for a computer in most industries unless your job revolves around a web browser and office suite.

    I don’t get the point in trying to convince people its (or any tablet device) a good desktop replacement. Its good at what it is, which is the best tablet money can buy.

    How do I create and iOS App from this “developer iPad”?

    1. Great analogy, to be fair the iPad outclasses the Macbook in things like watching videos and reading books (not to mention the Apple Pencil), but when it comes down to it you aren’t going to choose an iPad Pro as your go-to machine when you can have a Mac.

    2. I agree with your points, here. Then again, Apple could decide to really put some weight behind their “do anything with iPad” argument by making Xcode for iPad. They should be able to to do it, it’s just a question of how much they believe in iPad themselves.
      I developer in FileMaker Pro, and I can imagine a day when FileMaker Inc (wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple) makes PRO for iOS (at least iPad), not just the run-time FileMaker Go. There’s a lot that I can imagine being more efficient in developing on an iPad, if the app is designed well. I don’t expect that in the next couple of years, though.

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