I had a meeting/tutoring session with a client a couple days ago. She needed two things. A bit of work done to trace/vectorize a painting that she did which was to be put on t-shirts and other items as well as tutoring on how to go about doing that. She is retired but has a history in art, a mix of sculpting and some painting. But nothing digital. So, no experience with Adobe or any other. I suggested she start with Affinity’s Designer and Photo apps. After a bit of discussion she agreed and we purchased both for her. Then we spent the next 2.5 hours turning her scanned artwork into a primarily vector-based file using Affinity Designer. At the three hour mark she was ready to end the session and seemed very happy with the work we’d done. She wasn’t confident enough with the app to finish the job but we’d been doing the work on her laptop. In the past this would have just been an email with an attachment. But that seemed silly as I was right there with my iPad. An iMessage would have worked pretty well in this scenario too.

I viewed it as an opportunity to show the client AirDrop because I correctly guessed that she’d never used it and was unaware that it existed. I used the Finder on her Mac to select the file on the desktop then clicked the share icon and pointed out the AirDrop option. She asked what that was for and I quickly explained as I carried out the action. I was prompted on the iPad to select iCloud as a save location which I did. The whole action was just a couple clicks and even easier than email. Of course I could have also accepted and saved the file via my iPhone. Really, this is a post about AirDrop and the benefits of a tightly integrated ecosystem. I’ve used AirDrop enough to know that it will always just work. There may have been a time in the early days when the process wasn’t so smooth but these days, at least in my experience, it always just works.

Many folks still insist that the iPad needs more convenient ways to attach external storage. I’ve never needed it. Between iCloud, DropBox, and AirDrop I have everything covered with cloud storage and ease of transferring files. If I’m working with someone that uses Windows or Android we can use other methods. But, really, it’s not been an issue. This is the sort of thing that is easy to take for granted. As someone who has long worked with multiple devices, flawless peer-to-peer sharing is amazing and so convenient. I have no interest in USB ports for attaching external drives.

A bit of an aside regarding this specific project that is worth mentioning. Ideally I would have liked to continue working on the file on the iPad and hopefully in the not too distant future that will be possible because the makers of Affinity Designer do have an iPad version in the works. When or if it will be available for purchase is unknown but I think this falls into the category of “Pro” apps that we really need more of for iPads. That said when I returned to my Mac I opened Astropad and had a go of using the iPad with a generic stylus in conjunction with AD on the Mac. It worked very well as a see where you are drawing style tablet, much better than the Mac with a mouse or trackpad. Going forward, I suspect I’ll make good use of iPad as a graphic tablet compliment to Mac-based work that involves drawing or painting.