The iPad has grown a lot since its first iteration. That growth has been in Power, in size, and in functionality and has continued today with the new iPad Pros that Apple just announced. One constant in these changes has been that the iPad has got better at what it is good at.
From the off, the iPad was a great device for reading and the reduction in weight, a retina screen, and smaller bezels aided that.
The iPad was brilliant for writing with its minimal apps and with better file storage, the Smart Keyboard and keyboard shortcut support, this also improved.
The iPad was also wonderful to use for creative tasks like photography and drawing as you could interact with the screen directly without a mouse or keyboard. The Apple Pencil, Pro Motion and larger iPad 12.9 Pro helped here too.
Today, these features gained a boost with the new iPad Pros boasting
- Smaller bezels
- a thinner profile
- A more powerful processor
- A new Apple pencil
- and a new smart keyboard
- (oh and USB C)
These improvements looks sexy and I certainly would happily take one of the new iPads over my current one, but they aren’t the best improvements for the iPad. Those have been when the iPad got better at what it was bad at.
When The iPad got better at what it is bad at
When iOS 9 came out and brought split screen and slide over to the iPad, it helped the iPad get better in the area where it was weakest. Multitasking and using two apps. Sure you could switch between apps and copy and paste before, but it was cumbersome and added friction. This was a huge step forward for many people in using the iPad for “real work” and it certainly gave me extra reason to use the iPad instead of a mac.
iOS 11 continued this with drag and drop, files and the dock. All features which helped in areas where the iPad wasn’t the best.
For hardware comparisons look at the smart connector and keyboard. Again this helped address a key (pun not intended but always welcomed) area for the iPad with text entry.
These changes really took the iPad forward for “real work” and made it a more rounded device. These latest announcements don’t do that.
Only Half the picture?
There’s a good chance this is only half the picture, that the rumored features of iOS 12 that were pushed back to iOS 13 will reveal just what this device was supposed to be able to do and there are a couple of interesting indications we can see hinted at such as the possibility of adapting the device when docked thanks with the promotion of external screen support, or using USB C to support a wider variety of accessories and add-ons. But neither of these two items is guaranteed to come to pass and I feel my fears about what hasn’t been hinted at are heightened as well
- no solution to the problems with web apps and services (Yes this isn’t Apple’s fault but it hurts them not to solve this problem)
- No solution to the lack of proper Google docs (yes this is Google’s fault)
- The issues with audio between apps and recording on device
- The slow growth of power apps
Some can be solved by software, some can be moved along by Apple and others are much tougher to solve. But as great as these new iPads looks, it all feels familiar.
Yet again the iPad get’s better at what its good at, and that’s cool. But I’d really love to see it get better at what it’s bad at.