The iPad Pro is a computer for everything — mostly
On Wednesday, MacStories's Federico Viticci published a retrospective on using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as his primary computer for a year:
As someone who also spent the better part of the year working on iPad Pro, I have to agree. The potential of the iPad platform remains huge, but Apple has made great strides in realizing some of that potential, giving its users more control over the last twelve months. Thanks to third-party apps like Workflow (opens in new tab), I've been able to recreate — and in some cases, better — daily work tasks. The iPad has also succeeded in focusing my productivity where the Mac scattered it, thanks to dedicated app windows for writing and other tasks. And I love being able to switch on a whim between writing on a keyboard like the Logitech Create and sketching with the Apple Pencil.
This is the big pain point I still have with working on iOS: For certain tasks, it's too cumbersome to use an iPad over a Mac. I feel lucky in that I can switch to my iMac or MacBook Pro in those cases — a 9.7-inch iPad is the perfect accompaniment with a MacBook or 13-inch MacBook Pro — but not everyone is going to have the luxury to own multiple devices. In truth, your primary device needs be able to do 99% of the work you need it to, not 50% or 65%. At this point, I find the iPad great for about that percentage of my daily activities, but certain tasks just aren't enjoyable on iOS. (Especially those that involve drag and drop gestures in Safari: Trello, whose app remains sub-par and lacking features on iPad, is a constant source of frustration when I'm working with iOS.)
I remain convinced that Viticci is correct here: I don't foresee the Mac melding with iOS as Microsoft has melded Windows with multitouch in its Surface tablets, and I don't want to go that direction. iOS and macOS may share more similarities as the years progress, but they're built for different interactions: iOS is direct touch, macOS is indirect input. As such, each will have its own strengths and weaknesses: The Mac will never be as good a platform for drawing or image correction as a tablet, and the iPad won't ever be the multitasking giant the Mac is today.
I'm okay with that. As users, we can want iOS to improve without championing the death of the Mac — I have use cases for both machines, and I want to see both succeed. And if we can get some of the Mac's brilliance on iOS and vice versa, it only helps both platforms move forward.
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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.
- Touch interfaces won't allow for showing a wide array of controls on the screen. Touch interfaces require bigger icons for touch, and that means less on the screen and more in hidden menus etc.
- Precision for stuff like video editing or music programs can only really be gotten by a mouse cursor, touch screens don't allow that level of precision without some workaround like zooming in.
- Touching a screen at a 90 degree angle isn't fun, if it were to be done on a Mac, the screen would probably have to detach, then you've got two tablet devices, creating more confusion for users I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head
iTunes - Get her Apple Music and have it all uploaded to the cloud? That's great until there's an Apple Music bug that makes her need to reupload or something, and that only works from a Mac.
Files - Pay for more iCloud storage for her files? It seems like for using apps and browsing, iPads are great, but when it comes to years and years of STUFF we have on our Macs, the transition process isn't clear, and you lose tight control of the media once it is only on iOS. And on iOS you are stuck paying for online cloud storage.
I love the iPad, but it's still mostly a consumption device for me. The iPad pro's pencil is great of creative on top of that, obviously. That's something that is not on an MBP by Apple's design. I think that's where MS surface has the right idea to bring that to the PC rather than require an either device situation, though MS's implementation is just not as good IMO.