Force Some iPad Into My Life →

When I think about all of the hardware I have owned over the last few years there are far too many in that list that I care to admit. I do switch around phones every so often for reviews, but my personal computer life takes on huge dramatic swifts every now and again. Since prosumously ditching the iPad after more than 5 years as my computer I have gone backwards and forwards switching out laptops, for iPads, and back again. I think it’s time to stop.

In fact I think it was time to stop a while ago. I am really starting to struggle with work and life separation due to only having one Mac now. So much so I don’t want to open my laptop at home. I know that I will dive in to things that I, granted need to do, but don’t need to do when I wanted to write a journal log.

I have some inspiration to thank for my meandering thoughts. Jack Batty wrote about wanting to try and make the iPad his everything, and this part particularly stuck out.

But, iOS is calmer than macOS, and right now I need a little calm. – Jack Baty

To use the word that tech commentators hate to hear — when I am ‘working’ on an iPad (e.g. writing a blog post or editing a photo), it feels different. As Jack puts it, using iPad OS is calmer, it never feels like work. Granted sometimes it’s a full time job trying to work out how you do somethings that are simple on a Mac but the simplicity is so refreshing. The iPad feels computerish without feeling like the rest of my waking life.

So, here’s the ‘forcing’ part. I am going all in again. Apart from my work day, which I can do nothing about, I am using an iPad for everything else. I haven’t spent anything, it’s a 2018 12.9″ iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard I have had for a long time so I have nothing much to lose. I am actually quite excited.

The Simplicity Of The iPad Is Its Biggest Attraction

I seem to be writing about the iPad a bit more, simply because people are thinking and talking about it more following WWDC2021. You can guarantee this always happens at two points, following release of new hardware, and after software updates. Amplify this double of Apple have released a new iPad and then talked about a software update that hasn’t met imaginary predictions. So, currently we are in the middle of a perfect storm, or I guess an imperfect one.

The common consensus seems to be that the iPad needs to move forward and be more like the Mac. There is some long held belief that the iPad Pro must start to deliver everything to everyone, becoming more like a traditional commuter — when in fact the opposite is true.

I love having a iPad because it can do everything I need. If I want to chill out on the sofa and read a bit, or I want to scribble some notes in a meeting it is perfect. I also know that of I need to draw out some design concepts, illustrate a document or connect a keyboard to write out a blog post it can do all that and more — with ease, and most of all simplicity.

I can get in depth and have side by side windows, Slideover ones and picture in picture stuff going on, but I can also open an app in full screen by default and everything else gets out my way. No docks to hide, no menu bars or anything else to worry about — a procrastinators dream.

Some of these feelings come from working on a Mac all day. The iPad feels different and more relaxed, but even when I used an iPad as my main computer I just loved the way it was simple to understand and got where I needed it to go. I wasn’t trying to force a square peg in a round hole, I wasn’t expecting it to do anything more that I needed it to, because when push comes to shove, better tools are available.

I must applaud Apple for achieving this mix of power and simplicity for iPad OS. Every time “someone familiar with the matter” starts to talk about making the iPad like a desktop computer I feel a little bit of dread that the iPad will loose its charm. Push too far towards the work, and loose its way with everything else it is great at. I wish Apple would bring the iPad out into the sun with feature parody, but it doesn’t need anything else to be a great iPad. For everything else, there’s a Mac for that.

Will The iPad Ever Move Out From The Macs Shadow?

Before we get anywhere into this post, I absolutely refuse to start this stupid debate again. I love the iPad, I used it as my only device for years, and now I use a Mac because it fits my work life better. It is because I love it so much that I appreciate everything it can do for users.

As many others did, I sat and watched WWDC2021 and expected the iPad to go up a gear. It did in many ways, but the updates still left many wanting more. I don’t believe users should be up in arms at the exclusion of “pro apps” and screaming for the myriad of features that were never promised by Apple — but with that said the iPad still feels a little stagnant.

Apple can’t or won’t make the iPad too powerful because they want you to buy a Mac too. For proof of this look no further than the upcoming Universal control. A feature which feels like an extension of Sidecar, allowing you to move your mouse across the many screens you have at your disposal. Be those Macs or iPads. Yet even this feature isn’t universal at all.

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You can only use this control from a Mac. So if you were thinking you could use your iPad and move your mouse across to grab a file from a Mac, you have another think coming. Unfortunately Apple still view your iPad as Mac adjacent. A supplementary device that is amazingly powerful but just not quite there.

I worked from an iPad for around 7 years, since before the iPad Pro was even a thing. So I know what an iPad is capable of and I know where it’s limits are. You will get no wild claims from me about where you can and can’t work. Yet the iPad still seems to exist in the shade of the Mac. Not quite achieving its potential.

Seemingly for the fear of cannibalising Apples computer market. The taste left in many users mouths is one that all the moves Apple make are to entice customers to purchase more devices. Hey, they’re a company, that’s the way companies grow. But after years of users waiting and wishing for things I am starting to get the feeling that the prayers will always go unanswered.

Undeniably the iPad makes strives forward each year – some small, some large. Yet the potential is never met, and perhaps never will be. I dream of a world where the iPad steps into the sun and becomes its own thing, because it’s only Apple holding it back now.