2021i12, Tuesday: Portrait, for preference.

Why do most iPad cases only do landscape? And bookshelves to die for.

Short thought: I’d be the first to admit I’m reliant on my iPad. I’ve owned 4 of them: a first-gen, an iPad 3, a 2017 iPad Pro 10.5”, and now a 2018 iPad Pro 12.9”. They’ve been first-line writing tools, media consumption devices, and portable libraries.

Now, as a barrister, more than ever I can’t imagine working without one. Particularly when, as is the case, I sync all my case files and background docs: I can essentially sit down in an armchair, read and mark up bundles, refer to authorities and practitioner texts, and scribble (literally or figuratively) notes into one of several apps which also sync beautifully, so everything is back on my mac when I’m next at my desk. And the 12.9” screen is big enough to be the bundle when I’m physically in court. Perfect.

But there’s one thing I don’t get. A good case is a must, of course - so why do so few hold your iPad in the portrait position? For reading, or typing, it’s perfect. A single page of a book or authority. A single sheet of a Word document. What’s not to like?

I only know of two manufacturers who do this well: Pipetto and Moshi. I’ve tried both, and favour Pipetto. There are others on Amazon, sometimes a good deal cheaper; but I’m not confident on quality. And some that rotate - but bloody hell, they’re bulky, whereas Moshi’s and Pipetto’s remain both sleek and light. Or you could have a separate stand - but haven’t you got enough bits and bobs already?

Am I the only person for whom this is a thing? And why do I never see portrait cases in best-buy lists? Seems bonkers. If you have an iPad and you’re a barrister, I do recommend you look into it. It’s a bit of a game-changer.

Someone is right on the internet: Even in this paperless era, books are special. The feel of the pages. The weight in your hand. A beautiful binding. For some, even the smell!

So there's also something magical about bookshelves. Admit it: we all scan someone else's bookshelves when we're in a room of theirs. We did so physically; and we're certainly doing it now, virtually, squinting behind people's heads at what their webcam will pick up. (Hands up: I've got the White Book carefully positioned behind me, along with a copy of the Employment Law Handbook I co-wrote. But then I've also got a book of Hiroshige's 100 Views of Edo, which is just as much a part of me as the law is. Or - for less formal occasions - an Asterix book...)

So this gallery of unique bookshelves generates pure envy. Some are slightly bonkers, certainly. But some are gorgeous. And some - well, let's just say we need new shelves in the front room. And I've got ideas.