Some people like a lot screens in their computer setup, others like to be glued to one and one only. In today’s featured computer setup, the user wrestles with the question of whether to keep his iPad Pro front and center, right in front of the external display, or just leave it out. Meanwhile, a MacBook Pro sits off to the side in clamshell mode.
Because the user asked for opinions on social media, he got them. Lots of them. But it proved to be a tricky question to answer definitively.
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Should the iPad remain in the middle of the computer setup?
Redditor pincoded (“Pin”) showed off the before-and-after shots in a post with a title that asked the question, “With or without the iPad?”
The photograph above shows the MacBook Pro-and-Dell-4K-display setup with the iPad right in the middle. It sports a Magic Keyboard even though it sits between another Magic Keyboard and the external display. The photograph below shows the setup without the iPad.
Commenter voting on the matter — according to our informal poll taken about eight hours after the post went up — was roughly 40% in favor of keeping the iPad in the setup and 60% against.
Among those “against,” reasons tended to dwell on the simplicity of a clean setup. People “for” the iPad mostly cheered the extra screen real estate. But plenty of commenters kept an open mind, saying it really depends on Pin.
“Do you use it frequently?” asked one. “Then yes. If not, then no.” Another agreed, specifying that the iPad should remain if it’s a valuable part of Pin’s workflow.
Pin had a response for that, however.
“Agree, the issue is that I sometimes use it, sometimes not,” he said. “I’m not convinced about having it there permanently. Wanted to get some objective feedback from everyone here.”
Key question: How is the iPad used?
Some commenters were thoughtful and thorough in their consideration of the matter.
“How do you use it? I think it looks odd in front of the monitor because it’s hard to imagine how it’s used that way,” one said. “If you’re using it as a second screen I would put it off to the side a bit. I use mine to take notes so I leave it laying flat in front of my keyboard or using a stand that tilts at an angle for writing.”
Pin replied that his desk is very small, so he find it awkward to lay the tablet flat.
Use it with Universal Control or Sidecar
Another person voted for the iPad to remain, but with caveats.
“With the iPad, but remove the keyboard and replace it with a tablet stand (lesser keyboards),” they said. “Use the iPad with Universal Control or as second monitor with Sidecar.”
Others agreed. A couple of people said Pin should run his MacBook open on a stand, too, for more screen real estate. But Pin didn’t seem keen on that, replying that his iPad use is personal and his MacBook use is work-related, plus his desk is tiny.
“Thanks for the Universal Control suggestion, will try it,” he added. “I hate switching between keyboards. My desk is very small and a third screen would be too much for me.”
In the end, Pin remained undecided on the iPad’s placement, but sounded like he leaned toward no iPad.
“I’m not convinced about it,” he said, referring to whether the iPad was really necessary for workflow. “I use the iPad for personal stuff and the MacBook for work, somehow this is how I keep things separated in my mind. I don’t use the iPad for any serious stuff, just for entertainment.”
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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.