Last week Apple took the stage at their yearly developer conference keynote and settled all family business. There have been many people, Apple fans even, who were becoming increasingly fed up with the companies direction. On one hand you had the Mac, which, as of late, has been getting slammed for both hardware failures, as well as a stagnating app ecosystem. Pro users have been lamenting the lack of a true Pro desktop ever since they released the underpowered and famously lacked the upgradability that defines what a true desktop should be.
On the other end of the spectrum there was the iPad, which Apple has been pitching as a laptop replacement for some time now. Those who actually work with the iPad as their main computing device have lamented that their daily driver should not share the same OS as a phone. Multitasking has felt like a hacked-in feature on the iPad for years now, and the lack of mouse support has drawn the ire of many, myself included.
There’s a reason why Apple has been slow to address the issues of both Mac and iPad power users. They have, sensibly, been putting most of their colossal creative and technical prowess into the iPhone. It’s the iPhone that has made Apple the biggest company in the world, and until recently, it seemed the like the growth of the phone market had no end.
Mow that the iPhone has seemed to have reached market saturation, Apple is taking a second look at their other products. In this year’s WWDC Keynote the company introduced a new OS to the iPad, a new way to bring iOS apps to the Mac, and, finally, a new Mac Pro. And while they did take about the newest addition of iOS, which is still the flagship software product of the company, I think it says a lot that it got less stage time than the Mac Pro.
If there is one thing from the keynote that has me most excited as an everyday user of Apple products, it’s the separation of iPadOS from iOS. Apple has gotten a lot of flack over the years for holding the iPad up as an iPad replacement, but there’s no denying the versatility of the product.
I’ve spent the last year as a stay-at-home parent, and if there has been a single piece of tech that I’ve relied on it’s been the iPad. Whether it has been productivity tasks like checking email, or writing notes, or trying to sneak in a couple of chapters in a book while the baby is taking a nap, I could not imagine how the past year would have gone without an iPad. I have not made the jump to being a full-time iPad user. I’m writing this post from a MacBook Air, but I can see myself making the jump now that Apple is getting serious about adding real multitasking and (gasp) mouse support to the iPad.
If I could dream up a future for technology, it would be using a product like an iPad that could work in almost any scenario. When I want to just do some web browsing, and light productivity on the couch, I grab my iPad. It’s already the perfect couch device. It would be amazing if I could use that same device as my main work computer. Hopefully Apple will continue to work on Mouse support and multitasking to the point where I feel just as comfortable writing and editing a long form article on that device as I do on a laptop. The last piece of the puzzle for me would probably be having the ability to connect the iPad to a large display and having full access to a desktop class OS that would allow me to edit photos, format websites, and do whatever else I need to do at my desk.
What excites me most is that we are not that far from a perfect, one product future that can do all of these things and more. With rise of game streaming platforms, I can even imagine the iPad as means to play games on the go and at home on my TV. I would absolutely love to not have to think twice about what device I throw into my bag whether I am going on vacation, or to the coffee shop to get some work done. I’d love to be able to cut down on the number of devices we have in the house to get similar tasks done. It seems a little silly in 2019 that there are still very specific tasks that we need for working on a desktop, laptop and a tablet. The iPad has the power to do any of these tasks, it just needed an operating system that could keep up.
For a lot of people their phone is the end-all-be-all of computing needs. For those who want/need a little more out of their tech devices there has long been a bit of a void. I think this a huge segment of the market and Apple is getting close to having an answer for these people. For years I had been excited, yet skeptical about the iPad morphing from my favorite consumption device, to the one device I used besides my phone. I can see that future now. It may not be here today, but it almost feels inevitable.