iPad in 2020

A couple of months ago, I switched entirely to an iPad Pro for about two weeks. I did not use my MacBook Pro at all, and forced myself to do everything on the iPad. After that experience, I planned to write some kind of review, but it turned out that my conclusions were pretty simple:

iPad Pro running iOS 13 can technically do almost everything a MacBook Pro can, but it is incredibly frustrating to use. Accomplishing anything other than trivial tasks takes 2-5x longer with 10x more cognitive overhead than on a Mac. iPadOS is simply an annoying operating system to use.

The iPad is amazing for content consumption and certain types of gaming, but no matter how much Apple pundits might try to say the iPad is a device well-suited for “creation,” it just isn’t – unless you are an artist using Apple Pencil.

And so, as the iPad turns ten years old this week, I agree with John Gruber’s assessment. In The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10, he writes:

[…] I don’t think the iPad has come close to living up to its potential. By the time the Mac turned 10, it had redefined multiple industries. In 1984 almost no graphic designers or illustrators were using computers for work. By 1994 almost all graphic designers and illustrators were using computers for work. The Mac was a revolution. The iPhone was a revolution. The iPad has been a spectacular success, and to tens of millions it is a beloved part of their daily lives, but it has, to date, fallen short of revolutionary.

[…] Software is where the iPad has gotten lost. iPadOS’s “multitasking” model is far more capable than the iPhone’s, yes, but somehow Apple has painted it into a corner in which it is far less consistent and coherent than the Mac’s, while also being far less capable. iPad multitasking: more complex, less powerful. That’s quite a combination.

Complex, but less powerful. The result is something workable but annoying to use. I hope that separating iPadOS from iOS indicates that Apple is going to devote more resources toward making iPad a more powerful, usable computing platform.

 
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