Giving iPad fire to mere mortals: On myopia and elitism in computing
A couple of days ago my iPhone rang. It was 2015 and it wanted it's debate about iPad being a "real" computer back. (Seriously, I could hear Adele in the background, wondering if, after all these years, iPad Pro would like to meet…) At least it felt that way when a few tweets by Joshua Topolsky re-ignited the old is-it/isn't-it debate.
Couple of tweets about the new iPad and iOS 11. It is inferior to a laptop in almost every way, unless you like to draw.Couple of tweets about the new iPad and iOS 11. It is inferior to a laptop in almost every way, unless you like to draw.— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) June 27, 2017
Josh is a legend in this industry but Twitter is a platform that lends itself to in-the-heat-of-the-moment (or beverage) hot takes often absent the care and consideration they'd be given in a less real-time medium. It also lends itself to immediate hot take reinforcement and retaliation all over the internet, web and social.
I thought we got over this in 2015?
"iPad Pro can't be a primary computer" only means "it isn't for me and I lack any perspective taking."I thought we got over this in 2015?
"iPad Pro can't be a primary computer" only means "it isn't for me and I lack any perspective taking."— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) June 28, 2017
I dislike contributing to that kind of noise, all evidence to the contrary not withstanding, but there are a couple things I dislike more: myopia and elitism.
Being self-centric is natural and perspective taking is hard. I get that. For people who grew up on mainframes, the PC was a joke. For those who lived in the command line, the graphical user interface was a toy. For those who've spent the last couple of decades on Mac or Windows, the iPad is a playground.
Yet the PC untethered computing from universities and enterprises and put it in every home. The GUI opened it up to the arts and education. And multitouch has finally made it approachable to the mainstream.
For a long time computing only addressed the needs of a very few. Now, thanks to iPad and products that have followed its lead, computing is open to almost everyone with almost any need. It's nothing short of a revolution.
People who were, for their whole lives, made to feel stupid and excluded by older computing technology and some of its advocates now have something that's approachable, accessible, and empowering. From toddlers to nonagenarians to every age in between, and for every profession imaginable.
What Apple and iPad have done to bring computing to the mainstream is not only laudable, it's critical. And it's nothing short of amazing.
If I love the traditional computing environment, I can grab a PC and all the traditional computer apps I can handle. If I love the new computing normal, I can grab an iPad and dive into the App Store.
Both are valid. Both are real. Both are better based only and entirely on the needs of the person using them at the time.
It's human nature to think anyone with more computing needs is a nerd or a niche and anyone with less, a luddite or a poser, but that's our problem to solve. Not theirs. It has to do entirely with our inability to perspective-take, our lack of empathy, and our rush to judgement. It's our inability to truly understand that most primary of lessons — it's not all about us.
And that's where elitism rears it's ugly head as well. As much as some simply don't understand that a person can be empowered by an iPad more than they are a PC, others seem to resent it.
That's where "not a real computer" for the technology — and worse, "not a real pro" for the person using it, comes in.
It happened when the PC threatened the mainframe elite, the bean-counters, and the filing clerks. It happened when the GUI threatened not just the command liners but the typesetters and film-cutters. And it's happening now, again, with iPad.
It's taken people whose self-identity and sense of importance were tied to and built over years of work and study, over masting obscurity and taming complexity, and flattened them right down.
It's taken the fire of computing and given it freely to mere mortals.
And that stings. That irks.
But here's the simple truth: No one cares.
No one who is happy engaging the world more fully with iPad gives a hot damn if anyone else has their nose turned up or bent out of shape about it. And no one who still loves and cherishes everything about a PC should waste a a moment pontificating about what someone else is or isn't doing on a iPad.
Whether or not iPad is a "real" computer was a ridiculous, self-absorbed, contrived discussion back in 2015. In 2017, it's just embarrassing.
The news is, we don't have to care either. We can let go. You compute you. I'll compute me. If that's every intricacy of Unix, awesome. If that's all the interactivity of iPad, brilliant. And if it's either or, depending on the task, hallelujah. You've achieved zen in our time and all our feeds will be cooler and more peaceful for it.
Written on an iPad Pro. Edited on a MacBook.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
https://www.macstories.net/tag/pythonista/ My next "laptop" is going to be an iPad. The iPad's limitations are far less than you may think. For me personally, I have to switch to my iPad or iPhone to get to my Workflows. Case in point, I generate APA citations from Workflow, which understands articles as objects/classes. I had that done in less than 24 hours after the app went free. Today I downloaded 20+ songs from http://www.alienhand.dk/ in moments with a Workflow I made in a about a two minutes. The easiest way for me to code that was on iOS. There are still things I need a Mac for… like importing those free and legal MP3s into my music collection. :/ There are definitely limitations. Adding MP3s from Amazon, Bandcamp, and other legal sources is a royal pain.
Need to scan documents (yes, phone can do that, iOS 11's Notes scanner is just about the best I've used though).
Light word processing (yes, have the Smart Keyboard).
Accessing and downloading court-filed documents.
Using it to show whoever in court whatever on the screen -- you know, like what one would do with a paper copy.
So. What MacBook matches that?
Net, there is no question that what I have -- the 10.5 iPad Pro -- is the laptop for my needs, a better solution than any laptop, even the Windows hybrids.
Rene is right; to dis the Pro as a laptop says everything about the one doing the dissing, from which nothing of value can be extrapolated.
Clearly, Topolsky's fall from grace, as it were, and diminished prominence and rep has apparently been a little deranging. No good reason for his Twitter rant.
His point was: It sucks for me therefore it's a piece of crap that sucks for everyone.
There are, as you admit, a a sizable number for whom the iPad is the superior solution.
And I admit that I'm at the extreme: A MacBook is so inadequate for my needs that I would never consider one. As such, my choice wasn't whether I buy a MacBook or an iPad but rather do I buy an iPad or pass on buying anything?
"If YOU think You can replace YOU (sic) laptop...YOU can't."
"This doesn't come close to replacing YOUR laptop"
"OSX was made for computers, iOS was made for phones"
He is extending his personal feelings on everyone else. Exaggerated egos tend to do this, project their feelings on the world. For many, and some have posted here, the iPad serves their needs. Whether it is a 'real computer' isn't even relevant. The hardware has long ago surpassed what took us to the moon and back. UI has always evolved, so it not having an integral hardware keyboard or mouse doesn't matter. I've used computers where my only interface was a deck of punched cards. The iPad computes. If it meets YOUR computing needs, it's a computer. If it doesn't, it is no less a computer to someone else. BTW, adding mouse/trackpad support to an iPad would make it less an iPad. There are plenty of devices out there that already support keyboard, mouse, trackpad, and pen. They don't run iOS, or MacOS for that matter, but they are pretty darn capable, and many as portable as an iPad. Go get one of those. Adding those physical UI elements to the iPad will ultimately turn it into a laptop. You may believe you don't have to use the features, but developers will eventually assume you have them available, and you will wind up with yet another laptop/2 in 1.
I have the new 12.9 inch Pro with iOS 11 and love it, (even though it's in beta) The new Dock on the iPad puts it a little closer to the usefulness on a laptop, but still has a way to go. For the iPad, I think we'll see even more software enhancements over the next three or four years that will build on iOS 11 and then you will see some naysayers start to change their tune a bit.
Like what you like and don't condemn anyone else's choice of what platform they use, whether you agree with it or not.
My husband uses his iPhone for his only computer. He is on it almost all day every day for FINANCE(live stock updates and tracking with ifttt and other apps, taxes, budgets, notifications of purchases,numbers), COMMUNICATIONS(phone,email,msgs,Skype,FaceTime), ENTERTAINMENT(iBooks(with eye problems can set screen and text size), read news, podcasts-5+perday, iTunes and our own music plus pandora, streaming videos), EDUCATION(online classes, dozens of google searches with safari, podcasts), TRAVEL(comparisons, book flights hotels, check in, maps including national park maps, city maps etc., currency exchange, translations), SYSTEM (sandbox approach is really important no viruses , security is too, works with iwatch and Apple Pay, syncing to all our devices(photos,docs,music, calendar, reminders)cloud storage(iCloud and Dropbox), Super easy and fast interface.
Apps we want and use at really good prices. And Siri.
I use my iPad almost as much for most of the same things.
iMac edit photos on bigger screen with Pixelmator, stream tv shows, movies(we don't own a tv and cut the cord 6 years ago) use in evenings to watch shows, also for scripting numbers spreadsheets and really large spreadsheets.
Windows 10 laptop, use once or twice a month (at most)for excel features that numbers can't handle and printshop that I haven't found a good replacement for greeting cards, bulletins. Also for EDX class I took that needed VMware.
So as you say it depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it. We pick easy, convenient and secure.
Plus the iphone makes phone calls, takes pictures and videos and is so very portable and connectable.everywhere.