iPad 3 and the Technology Buffet: Does Technology Help Creativity?

With the new iPad coming out in a few days I’ve heard a voice creeping up from inside me.

It says things like:

  • The iPad 3 will help you be more creative.
  • You’ll write more if I buy and iPad 3.
  • The iPhone and MacBook are just distractions. You can use an iPad 3 just for writing. It’ll help you focus. No, for reals Andrew. It will help. You won’t play Angry Birds, Words with Friends, or The Little Baby Chicken Goes to the Graham Cracker Factory. It will help you be more creative! Buy and iPad 3!!!

I want one. I confess.

But will it really help me at all. Even a bit?

Or am I just at an Apple-sponsored technology buffet?

Pros and Cons


  • Portable.
  • Cool. If I dress correctly AND have an iPad 3, I might pass as a hipster.
  • Less distracting than a laptop.
  • Price.
  • Don’t feel I need it.
  • More distracting than a laptop.
Hmmm. No real conclusions drawn from the pros/cons list.

iPad Creativity

How would an iPad help a writer? How would it help other creatives such as painters, dancers, actors, musicians and all artists?

So I dug a bit and found this (it’s long but perhaps it could help you decide if the iPad is right for you):

iPad for Creatives?

I’ve not drawn any conclusions just yet, but would really love to hear from other creatives.

  • How does an iPad help you create?
  • How has it changed your creative process?
  • Would you recommend it or not? Why?



Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Mark has an iPad. He loves it. The kids love it. I despise it. I can’t type on it. i can’t write with it (even with a bluetooth keyboard). All it does is keep me distracted from writing.

    That said, for visual creatives…the touchscreen is great for quick sketches, ideas, non-character-based brainstorming. Mindmapping software on it is easy to use and could probably help a lot of creatives. Just doesn’t fit my process.

    Isn’t that the case with any tool? If it fits into your process and helps push you along to create greater art, then get on it. If it’s yet another thing to help you procrastinate and get nothing done, then run. run far away.

    • Christine,
      Are you referring to the carry case that has a built in wireless keyboard? Is that the bluetooth version you mean, or are you talking about the completely separate freestanding keyboard?

      I was curious about that. I personally always choose the laptop over the iPad when it comes to lengthy typing.

      • I’ve used both freestanding and the ones that are in the case. I can see how others might love it. My brother-in-law is an application developer and has almost abandoned his laptop in favor of the iPad with keyboard…my boss has done much the same. Me…I still hate it. I guess I’m just a dinosaur.

        • Andrew Zahn

          Thanks for the input Christine. It’ll help me as I wrestle out the pros/cons.

  • I personally would have never purchased an iPad2, having both a MacBook Pro and an iPad touch. However, when I had my cancer surgery back in September, my buddy (making a 6-figure salary in NYC and being a VERY generous person) bought me one for a birthday gift, 1 day after surgery!

    Still, I would not buy one again knowing what I know now.

    PROS: Evernote, Noteablity, Instagram, (for creativity) and Chase’s deposit feature (the greatest thing so far this century…you can snapshot your signed check and deposit from anywhere!)

    CONS: Message pop-ups constantly, whether for Message app, Words with Friends app, etc.
    Also, I type 55-60 wpm, and the online touch keypad is cumbersome at best. For the money, I’d rather have an iPhone for an entire year.

    That said, you’d have to pry it from my cold, dead hands to get it away from me! Only because I can see the screen better than the iPod touch, and my wife and I don’t have to share the laptop as much!

    Also, Dave Ramsey would not approve of such a purchase!!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Good points… and I wouldn’t want to get on Dave Ramsey’s bad side.

  • I would say that the iPad does not directly help with creativity. We have one in the house and I’ll maintain it is a great consumption device. It will help for inspiration and short bursts of writing. You can also do light video and photo editing on it.

    The key component though is where are you and what mind set are you in when you are most creative? I’m old school and need a tactile keyboard for any long term writing. You can’t touch type accurately on a the screen so at best the my speed is about half of what it on my laptop. In some cases keeping the train of thought going really requires you to have that typing speed. It is however all about how you create.

    So the question I would ask is how do you create? What makes you free to put something to words, pictures, and video? I’m sure the iPad could be a fantastic helper device, but in the end all the creativity is about you and not what technology may empower you to do.

    • Andrew Zahn

      It is indeed a tool of sorts. There’s much truth in your last sentence… I suppose we can all use tools to help us or to hurt us. It’s how we use the tool that counts.

  • Yeah, I’d love to have one. However, I’m a cheap skate, so I convince myself it will not help me whatsoever, which is why I refuse to watch the video you’ve shared. 🙂 DON’T TEMPT ME, ANDREW!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Erg. I’m just as tempted as you bearded one.

      These comments give me some healthy perspective though. I think I can hold off.

      I think I can. I think I can. I think …

  • Daryl

    The iPad won’t do much, if anything, that your iPhone and MacBook already do. I have an iPod Touch and MacBook Pro, and they are only tools to help me store, process, organize & share my music. They are not integral to the creative process at all. For me, the electronics are a hindrance to tapping into that river. That said, I spend more time with the gadgets than with the instruments in hand… and the internet does provide inspiration and information.

  • As much as I think that I would love to have an iPad, I have to agree that it has nothing more to do with creativity than a pencil or a camera or a saxophone or ballet slippers. It is a tool and one that allows you to do lots of things (like playing angry birds) that have nothing to do with being creative. Creativity is created from within or inspired from without. Nothing you can buy will be able to do that. But don’t let that stop you from buying an iPad. Your hipster quotient will definitely rise with one of those in your messenger bag…

  • I do not have one, but would like to. Not sure if it would help my creativity or not.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I feel the same way… yet, I feel my ‘like’ might have crossed over into ‘lust.’

  • I have one for software development purposes and have tried to integrate it into my creative life. I haven’t been successful. Great for consumption like reading blogs and listening to podcasts but I havent done much creating with it. If not for the professional need, I wouldn’t buy one.

  • I don’t have an iPad so can’t answer your questions. I think some times the best thing can be a pen and piece of paper though.