For many weeks and months before WWDC I was worried. I had a fear for a piece of technology I have used for more than 5 years as my computer and it didn’t feel nice at all. My fears grew larger and larger the closer we got to the event, as leaks came out and people theorised what they wanted from the yearly software update cycle I hated it. I was really worried Apple were going to ruin my beloved iPad.
What makes the iPad so special to me is that it is first and foremost a mobile device. It is an extension of a simple OS, but one that is ridiculously powerful and evolving into a device to admire. I have been using an iPad every day since the iPad Air, and almost every update since has been transformative and made my life easier. Yet this year, more than any other, people were calling for a semi convergence – desktop class this and future of computing that, it all had me worried that the days of my iPad being my mobile computer were dying.
I couldn’t get excited for Springboard updates and multitasking overhauls because I could see a future in which iOS on the iPad was too complicated and at which point I would just go back to a Macbook. Everything that makes the iPad great is its roots in iOS, it’s touch first like the iPhone but powerful enough to take most of the heavy lifting of a macOS device without all the complexity that goes with it. Many people wanted all sorts of upgrades in iOS13 to make the iPad more of a computer but I was happy as it was, as I always had been.
I trusted Apple though. Trusted them to make the right decisions and land on a happy medium. I couldn’t get excited enough, or have the imagination to solve issues I pushed up against myself, but was confident that people smarter than myself knew what they were doing – and thankfully my trust was well founded.
With iOS13 my iPad Pro feels more like a computer than ever before, but still retains its iOS DNA. Sure Apple have renamed the operating system to iPadOS but this is in name only. It’s still a mobile operating system that almost everyone knows how to use, but by diversifying a little it’s now ok if swipes do different things. It’s acceptable for home screens and UI layouts to look different because its still quintessentially an iPad. It feels more computerish than ever but its the same device I fell in love with all those years ago. Bravo Apple.