Looks like I’ve ruffled a few feathers again.
In my latest YouTube video, I talk about how boring the M1 iPad Pro is. I’ll hold that opinion until Apple does something interesting with iPadOS.
Some people agree with me. In fact, far more than the number who agreed with me about the Apple TV, which was, precisely, one person.
Regardless, I think there’s a consensus about the iPad and its operating system, regardless of which side of the fence you occupy (I’ll get onto that later).
What interests me right now is what the iPads means to us all. So, I ran a simple poll and asked my YouTube audience what they use their iPad for the most.
Of the 1,000 responses so far, 85% have confirmed that it’s a consumption device.
I think that’s a large enough pool of smart users to make the result interesting.
What does this tell us?
I could have gone a lot deeper with this research and made it more granular. A poll for each iteration of the iPad, maybe, or perhaps a segmentation of the audience by user type and workflow.
Alas, I couldn’t really be bothered. Plus, I’d much rather get a high-level overview of how iPads work themselves into people’s lives.
I’m not surprised by the result at all (I can’t imagine many people would be). The iPad remains the best handheld consumption device money can buy. If you ask me what tablet you should get, I’ll always point towards Apple’s tablet.
What else are you going to buy? A Samsung Galaxy Tab?
We’ve discussed this topic pretty extensively on my Discord server, and my differing views to those who are rather more adventurous have revealed that I sit among the crowd who simply can’t be bothered to force the iPad wholeheartedly into their daily work.
I’ve tried. Before I bought my M1 MacBook Air (and, yes, the arrival of the big ‘C’), the iPad Pro and its Magic Keyboard travelled everywhere with me. It did a superb job as a mobile writing tool and email device. But I’d always find myself having to leave certain tasks until I returned home. Photo editing, certain web apps (hello, Salesforce) and general file management always felt incredibly cumbersome on iPadOS.
As for video editing – that was a non-starter. I’d have to transfer my entire workflow from Final Cut Pro to something like Lumafusion.
But it was often the simpler tasks that felt impenetrable on the iPad. For instance, if I needed to build an email campaign that called on a web-based marketing client, images sent via email from a content creator and copy held in a word document… I’d simply find myself dying to reach for my Mac.
I know that task is possible on an iPad (and believe me, I’ve undertaken it), but iPadOS makes such an arse of the entire process that I can’t think of anything more welcoming than that old, comfortable pair of slippers known as macOS.
My simple research demonstrates that most people probably feel the same. I’m part of an outgoing generation that has grown up using physical input devices and windowed operating systems. It’s comfortable, familiar and ideal for lazy people like me. I greatly admire those who delve into iPadOS and make it work for them, just as I’m jealous of the people who give features like Shortcuts the time they deserve.
As one poll respondent noted, “I bought my pro [sic] with the intent of using it as a production tool. Turns out, not so much. I still go to the computers for that.”
Does this mindset make us unadventurous, or does Apple simply need to work harder?
The consensus seems to be clear
For some, the iPad will perform handsomely as a consumption device for the rest of their lives. In fact, I suspect that might actually be the majority if we consider the consumer user base as a whole.
But there’s clearly a common desire among those who take a little more interest in their tech. They’re all saying the same thing: iPadOS needs to catch up, and we need to see the likes of Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and proper development environments on the iPad.
WWDC is looming. There haven’t really been any meaningful rumours about the aforementioned pro apps coming to the iPad, bar the usual rumour mill whispers, half-truths and chin-strokes. But, then, I’m taking a break from that stuff, so let me know if I’ve missed something, please.
Only Apple knows what it will announce at WWDC in June. I remain to be convinced that we’re suddenly going to see a wave of pro workflows and apps hit the iPad. I think it’s more likely to be the start of a gradual transition.
The only ‘leak’ we’ve had so far about the next version of iPadOS is a marginal tweak of the home screen. They’re going to add widgets and upgrade notifications. Great.
Let’s hope Apple goes a little further than that, because its most loyal fans clearly want an awful lot more from their super-powerful iPads.
What I want from the iPad Pro
I’ve had more time to think about this, and I think the answer is pretty simple.
As previously noted, I’m oddly dinosaur-like when it comes to my approach to computing. I need serious convincing and incredibly compelling reasons to make wholesale changes to the way I get stuff done.
But if it were possible, say, to grab my iPad Pro, head to a coffee shop and finish off tomorrow’s video, I’d be interested. It would, however, need to benefit my business and enable me to remain profitable, rather than lose time to a device I have to work around rather than with.
I’ve heard suggestions that the future for the iPad lies in far more wholesome interaction with the Mac. This interests me, too, but it needs to go far beyond the gimmicky Logic Pro Remote app (which is, basically, just a second screen).
The fact remains, however, that if the iPad remains a consumption device, I won’t feel like I’m missing out.
The reason for this is simple.
When I only had a desktop computer, I knew I was missing out on a laptop. When I was still rocking a flip phone, I knew I was missing out on an iPhone.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything right now. The M1 chip has changed computing for me, the iPhone is as capable as I need it to be, and when I want to consume content on something smaller than my TV, I reach for the iPad.
What should I be missing, Apple?
What do you use yours for?
This topic absolutely fascinates me. But I’d love to go beyond my rudimentary poll and discover how you use your iPad.
So, get involved in the comments. What role does the iPad play in your life, and how do you want to see it evolve?