Friday, December 27, 2019

The iPad’s Identity Crisis

Emily Lipstein:

Apple is pushing the iPad at people like me, people who have an iPhone, likely have AirPods, and are looking for a device that they can use at home when their only real computer is what they’re given at work. We’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, and have been for years, and here’s another opportunity to stay in it without paying too much of a premium. That’s the idea at least.


So from the second you sync your brand new device with your iCloud login, you’re left confused about why Apple’s replicating your phone on something bigger and with a keyboard. There should at least be an option to opt-out of getting all of the apps to immediately start downloading to the device.


Obviously Google wants you to be using Chrome OS. But even so, you want a Google Docs app on the iPad that’s a full-fledged replica of what you have in-browser on desktop. But that’s not what you get, neither here nor in the Gmail app either.


The attachable Smart Keyboard mostly gets the job done, but its flimsiness makes it nearly impossible for me to actually use it on my lap on the couch[…] It also tends to tip over when it’s not on a flat surface[…]


Update (2019-12-30): AAPL of Discord:

SJ introduced iPad as a new category of device. Now TC seems to be wedging it in as a PC replacement, ignoring the input conventions that define it as anything but. It will remain awkward under this new strategy.

Pata Ling:

While Apple is struggling to make the iPad a computer-substitute, there is no effort to make it a phone-substitute. A cellular iPad mini, especially if paired with an Apple Watch, would be my main mobile device if I still didn’t have to tether to an iPhone for full phone features

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

I think the iPad was/is best as a big iPhone, trying to turn it into some fantasy pro thing, marketing it as a computer, or turning it into a weird hybrid product is not working out well. Aside from the simplest tasks, the iPad is confusing to use and multitasking is a mess. And then there's the Smart Keyboard, which feels like a piece of cloth covered cardboard and has a dedicated Emoji button. I wonder, what profession uses Emoji with such frequency that it requires a dedicated keyboard button? It's the keyboard for the iPad "Pro" after all!

Even worse than all of the iPad confusion is how is it is all negatively impacting the Mac, which had the clearest and most natural path forward of any product: the best computers, that worked easily and well. But instead the Mac had been forgotten, then remembered it just enough to hobble it with a Touch Bar, soldered storage and memory, removal of ports, and now they're trying to make it run iPad apps. Ugh.

Apple is never going to get over the fact that they made what amounts to a Kindle with extra steps, a bookreader with a keyboard for “notes in the margins.”

I’m saying this as an iPad “Pro” user who also uses Shortcuts. There’s so much extra friction that having a doc reader that also does Twitter means that the Apple Pencil doesn’t get much use and the Logi Keyboard (still the spiffy K811) doesn’t get that much use at all.

Screentime just says that I’m on Twitter/Social and reading manga way too much. The iPad replaced me having a second monitor for anything and then just added tedium (Social) and boring (“not fake ‘curated' AppleNews”)

What’s Apple’s solution to this? Dumb down macOS to that of iOS so that there’s “equality” of the platforms. Cook can keep doing that, and then sell Apple to Oracle and go off and do media and services and whatever. It’s not like we haven’t see that before (with Sun, who also added friction, complexity and bureaucracy to its “workstations.”)

We had Peter Bright at Arstechnica. Now we have this.

Personally I like the new iPadOS, there is a lot of space for development and the small things can do a lot for increased acceptance. For example the text search possibility (magnifier glass) in iPadOS preview. Having a 300-400 pages pdf I need to share the file with iBooks to search for a word... The big improvement for iPad would be user replaceable batteries!

@Wu Ming
Um, can we get a clarification on your comment? You are referencing something completely awful that seems unrelated to the topic on hand?

Replaceable batteries will never happen. Apple and many other companies have abandoned sustainability with non user replaceable batteries. Yes, I am likewise disappointed.

Edit: The big improvement for iPad "PRO" would be user replaceable batteries!

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