Rethinking the iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement

Posted on July 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, iOS, Mobile with 91 Comments

Rethinking the iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement

For the past month or so I’ve done everything reasonable—and some things unreasonable—to see whether Apple’s new iPad Pro could be used as a laptop replacement.

But I’m starting to think that this effort is missing the point. That is, yes, for a significant number of people, an iPad Pro—and probably a normal iPad, frankly—could perform the duties that most people currently do with a traditional laptop. I’ll even go so far as to say that an iPad Pro could even work for certain professional writers.

What it doesn’t do, of course, is meet my needs. Nor do I believe that the iPad Pro would meet the needs of many power users. The experience is just too constrained, and too compromised, even with the coming benefits in iOS 11.

The primary issue, of course, continues to be the lack of an on-screen pointer and a mouse or trackpad. Even for something as basic as writing this post—which, yes, I did with the iPad Pro—being able to position the cursor exactly where you want it is crucial.

But let’s get past that. A lot of the complaints that I, and others, have made about Apple’s post-PC efforts are built on tradition, familiarity, and, let’s be honest, PC bias. It’s important to remember that most of the activities we used to do on a PC are more efficiently done on mobile devices now. And that writing and other productivity tasks are, for many, the exception not the rule.

It also occurred to me recently that some of my complaints about iPad Pro productivity are a bit unfair. For example, with iOS 11 and an iPad Pro, you can position two apps on screen, side-by-side, in a simple form of multitasking. On the smallish 10.5-inch iPad Pro I’m using, those two apps are not full-sized, and are in effect the iPhone versions of those apps. This is, I argued, problematic.

And maybe it is. But here’s the thing. I don’t even use this kind of feature on my PCs. So why would this matter on an iPad?

Consider a typical workflow for me. Microsoft publishes a blog post, and I want to report on it. So the blog post is open in a web browser window and I have my text editor—Markdown Pad on the PC, but it could be Microsoft Word or anything else—open in a separate window. I don’t actually—or ever—place these two windows side-by-side. Instead, I switch between them using the ALT + TAB keyboard shortcut.

Well, guess what? That works just fine on the iPad Pro, too. The only difference is that the keyboard shortcut for app switching is COMMAND + TAB. Whatever.

Of course, the real difference is that I can select a quote from a Microsoft blog post with my mouse very easily, copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it into my editor. This procedure would require some deft touch gestures on my part, thought the copy and paste part (COMMAND + C, COMMAND + V) would work normally. I bet you’d get used to it.

The one thing I’m not a big fan of, at least on my 10.5-inch iPad Pro, is Apple’s Smart Keyboard. It’s expensive, at $160, though its fabric-covered keys are actually fine. The issue is that it’s too small (and that it offers only one display angle). If you’re a smaller person—man, woman, or child—you might be OK with it. But I would need the larger 12.9-inch iPad for a satisfactory typing experience. And that version is more expensive and is overly large for a tablet.

If you can forget about the Smart Keyboard and move on to a more realistic typing experience—say, Apple’s Magic Keyboard or any other Bluetooth keyboard—things start to get interesting. First, any Bluetooth-based hardware keyboard will better than the Smart Keyboard. All you’d need is a normal Smart Cover to prop the thing up.

Of course, the Smart Cover also only provides a single viewing angle. If this is unacceptable, you could try a third-party adjustable stand. I bought a Satechi R1 multi-angle tablet stand from Amazon on the Twitter-based advice of Betanews’ Brian Fagioli. It provides different heights and angles, which I like. But you can also use the iPad in portrait mode. I always thought that configuration would make for a decent writing setup, and it does.

In case it’s not obvious, what I’m describing here is a bit complex and expensive: The Magic Keyboard is $99, for example, and the stand I ended up buying was about $35. But you could get cheaper variants of either. And it’s worth remembering that the Smart Keyboard costs $160 anyway. So, you’re saving money, in a way.

It’s a lot of trouble to go to, to make this work. You’d have to cart around all this stuff, and, of course, you still wouldn’t have mouse cursor support. But I feel this feature is inevitable, and that a Bluetooth-based touchpad like Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2, would solve the problem nicely. Maybe that will happen with iOS 12 in 2018.

In the meantime, no, the iPad Pro is not a laptop replacement. Except, of course, that it is.

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Comments (92)

92 responses to “Rethinking the iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement”

  1. Avatar

    Michael Miller

    "And maybe it is. But here’s the thing. I don’t even use this kind of feature on my PCs. So why would this matter on an iPad?"


    Isn't this the problem with your reviews Paul, i.e., you don't use some of the features that others--perhaps many--use. Because of this, sometimes your reviews are biased as a result of how you work and consume content.


    I, for one, love the ability to have a video of the news on part of the screen with work, i.e., Excel, Word, PP, on the larger part of the screen. This is a great feature of Windows 10--in tablet mode, and now with IOS--in tablet mode (this is another area where you show your bias Paul: you don't use Windows 10 in tablet mode; many of us do).


    I am thinking of replacing a Surface 3 I have with an IPAD Pro, simply as a result of having the IPAD as a consumption device where I can spilt the screen between video and whatever else I may be doing. With the speed difference between the new IPAD pro and the Surface 3, this may prove to be significant.

  2. Avatar

    steadydon

    And this is why I put much less time on your site and less attention on your views and reporting. I don't mean to be mean Paul But it's just the direction s your going are off track with where I remain. You were all Microsoft: WP, then you needed apps and went for an Android device, then you switched to an iPhone. I'll still stop by now and then but just for a glance.

  3. Avatar

    Ugur

    I feel like Apple misinterprets their own past hype talk about the iPad a bit meanwhile.

    I mean the part where Steve Jobs made that famous talk about how computers as we knew em are trucks and most regular people don't need trucks and the iPad is like the next gen computer for most users.

    Of course then for years there was the hype that we were in this post pc world now and it was just a question of time until it would be a rarity we'd see desktop s and laptops, right, most people would only use an ARM tablet.

    Until then more and more people noticed that that somehow didn't happen.

    Sure, lots and lots of ARM tablets were sold, until, well, not anymore.

    Once the market was saturated for the new product category, it became obvious that to many people these arm tablets were mostly seen as consumption focussed device with at most some very light creation work thrown in and for that use case with it's strengths and limitations, well, to most people it was then enough to have 1- a few in the house and no need to upgrade those anymore until the battery died.

    Some even argued that away with "hey, this device is just so good, most people feel like they don't need to upgrade them anymore!!"

    Well, sure, one could also see it as: the device and content for it has changed so little in the last few years that there is few reason to replace the existing one for the use cases one does on them often.

    With the iPad Pro i feel like Apple is trying to ape laptops/convertibles with desktop OS for desktop OS use cases, in hope to make way more people upgrade again.

    Which is ok, besides, wasn't the iPad supposed to be the post pc which makes those things not used anymore?

    Not the thing that tries to ape them as it's sales dwindle and then come off as the thing where then everyone points out how it is really limited when trying to compare against a laptop or desktop with desktop OS.

    Now i'm all for things getting improved and expanded capabilities, the thing is just: the more the iPads try to ape desktop OS workflows and usage ways, the more to me it just makes me ask for Apple adding touch and pen support and allowing to flip over or detach the screen for their laptops so that then one could do all those things on a desktop OS instead and use the pen with desktop pro software instead one having it on an iPad where i can't have most of my desktop applications and project files on there and it's generally a hassle to get big project files on and off and even people who "just" write a lot and don't use many desktop applications already moan at the no mouse and trackpad support to just position your cursor well in a writing app.

    I feel like it's a case where managers at a company are often not those anymore who do deep stuff daily in desktop applications for art, sound, animations, generally media and content creation.

    So then to them maybe it makes more sense that hey, isn't the iPad pretty close now to being your good laptop replacement?

    So they then decide things like pushing windows RT as laptop/desktop replacement OS thinking it's the computer for the majority of regular users.

    Or an iPad Pro.

    Whereas to me, as someone using desktop apps and games regularly and none of those pro apps existing on iPad, the iPad (Pro) is just as far away to replace my laptops and desktops as it was in 2010.

    Yes, i use iPads and other ARM tablets a lot, too, but for things i don't need a laptop or desktop for.

    Which are in 2017 pretty much as many things as in 2010.

    A limited file manager for the iPad Pro is a neat addition but doesn't change anything about that to me.

    The last iPad i bought is an iPad Air and i have no need to buy a newer one. I'd buy an iPad Pro if it was considerably cheaper, but since Apple thinks they can now ask way higher prices for the iPad Pro and pen and keyboard combo because somehow that all would it make like a laptop replacement for most people, yeah, well, then it's just way overpricesd for what it is to me, because it is in my eyes just as much a laptop replacement as it was a few years ago.

    Which is, to people who don't use/need desktop apps and games, it can replace a laptop of course, but there sorta a non "pro" named iPad could do that, too (like for my Mom, for her it does because she doesn't use desktop apps and even the amount she writes on it is mostly restricted to the google maps and browser and youtube search fields), and for other people like me who do use desktop apps and games, it can replace a laptop/desktop just as few as a non pro named iPad.

    I feel it's like really this conundrum where someone would have to tell those managers who have detached from regular computer users workflows that hey, no, in 2017, just like in 2010, people who use laptops and desktops and actually do that for the desktop apps and games and workflows can replace their laptops and desktops with iPads just as few as in 2010, nor would this change if we'd make the combo of iPad Pro+pen+ keyboard way more affordable.

    So we should make that combo more affordable to sell more iPad Pros (to also get more devs interested in creating stuff for that combo),but we should also add touch, pen (and maybe convertability or at least folding over the screen) functionality and support to our laptops, so for all those who still (also) need a laptop/desktop, we offer something lots of our users would use, too.

    Sometimes i wonder how it takes so long to grasp something for these managers, like hey, we got it, you said people don't want touch on the laptop/desktop, but meanwhile it's pretty clear that as peple get used to touchscreens on their devices, most just expect it to be there in between and use it in between when it's there.

    And also a pen with screen that can be folded over would be much more useful to desktop app art creation pros than an iPad where they don't have the desktop apps and hence have to move all the project files forth and back.


    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to Ugur:

      With the iPad Pro Apple is inching toward making the iPad more like a conventional "PC". But what's the end game here? Add a keyboard, maybe add a mouse later, some other productivity-friendly features. The fact is they already have a solution for productivity - it's called a Mac. What's the point of recreating a parallel OS with similar features just so you can say it's new.


      IMO Gates' vision was just incorrect, we aren't in the Post-PC or Post-Mac era. We are in an era where consumption of content is less focused on TV, DVD players, CD players, and yes, PCs and Macs. But that doesn't mean that the core capabilities that personal computers have always had is being usurped by phones and tablets. We don't need "all-in-one" devices and we don't need "all-in-one" OS's.

      • Avatar

        RobertJasiek

        In reply to skane2600:

        While we don't need the fridge-toaster, eh large-TV-standalone / small-mobile unification, there are uses for highly productive mobile devices. The Mac does not offer it because it does not offer tablet mode as hardware / touch-capable OS. The iPad does not offer it because iOS and (for many power users) iOS apps are not highly productive. (Similar restrictions still persist for Windows PCs or Windows mobile devices.) I for one want the all-in-one tablet that can be highly productive and replace my PC when docking to monitor, desktop keyboard and mouse, and can also be used as a tablet outdoors.

        The manufacturers' attitude that "we already have a solution for use X" is exactly what prevents my dream from becoming reality.

        Maybe you don't need the all-in-one device or OS. I do. Not to replace my TV, but to unify PC, tablet and ebook reader. Technically, it would be possible nowadays (especially since I need no workstation or 3D gaming) but reality is that I still need three different devices.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to RobertJasiek:

          I guess it depends on your definition of "all in one". If you have to hook a tablet into a lot of extra equipment to use it for productivity I wouldn't consider it an all in one solution. A laptop not being a tablet seems to be a less of a compromise that a tablet that you have to park on a desktop to use for productivity. Obviously if you use these devices primarily for the purposes they were truly designed for there's very little compromise.

          • Avatar

            RobertJasiek

            In reply to skane2600:

            For those needing a notebook, it might also serve as all in one device. For those (like me) not needing a notebook but a tablet, a tablet might also serve as all in one device. If it can replace a desktop, it need not be put on one but where it was when using the peripherals.

            Nowadays, silent tablet hardware could surpass my sufficient desktop hardware easily: Core i3-530, 2GB, SSD, USB 3.0. There would be no compromise in productivity.

            The only compromises still exist on the tablet hardware side: a current Windows tablet with matte 4:3 display, digitizer, handholding weight and long battery life does not exist, although such tablet technology has existed for ca. 3 years now.

            This is so mainly because mobile devices are not even primarily designed for what they are mainly meant: being particularly suitable mobile by having a good display in the sunlight, really long battery life and (still too often a problem) reliable and far-reaching WLAN.

            The iPads are a typical example: mirroring in the sun (the so called anti-reflection coating reduces but does not prevent reflection) and short battery life (some 5h) outdoors.

      • Avatar

        Ugur

        In reply to skane2600: I feel like the two paragraphs in your comment are not fully matching.
        In your first paragraph you talk about how Apple is now trying to ape laptops/convertibles with the iPad Pro and how that's not an ideal thing to do.
        There, i would agree with you, because with the current limitations of iOS (many of which are intentional), well, that just highlights the weaknesses of the device when one tries to use it as a regular laptop.
        It's not what the device (the iPad in general) was presented as at first, which was not a more cut down laptop/pc but something different with different strengths.

        But that brings me to why i disagree with some parts in your second paragraph:
        I agree with the part that yes, we are not in some magical bananas post pc era, nor will we ever be (besides if there would be a worldwide catastrophe wiping out all our computing devices, but then we'd have bigger problems to worry about), we're rather in an era where we have more computing devices than ever before and just more and more form factors get added all the time.

        Where i disagree is that we due to that don't need a multi purpose or all in one devices anymore.
        Those are two different topics to me.
        Looking at the iPhone and other smartphones, a lot of their appeal to many comes exactly from the aspect that they do a lot of things. In fact so many that using them as phone is actually the thing most people do least on them. What would the first iPhone have been without google maps and email and browser and youtube? And the next iteration without app store enhancing the capabilities of basically adding way more devices' capabilities in it even way more?
        So, even if Tim Cook for example makes fun of multi purpose devices when he down talks the surface line etc, that aspect is one of the main aspects which made the iPhone so popular, and of course he is aware of it, it's just fitting marketing to him to down talk the competition when Apple does not have a similar device in that category (yet).
        Now one important point about devices doing more and more in one is just that it has to do them good enough for most people (or a large enough minority).
        Like the camera is not nearly good enough to replace a pro standalone camera, but perfectly good enough for most people to capture their everyday photos and videos, meanwhile even good enough for some people to shoot whole movies in.

        Now regarding such things, the iPad Pro still falls short to me when used as laptop replacement for someone who actually needs a laptop or desktop for the desktop OS apps and games.
        Because it just doesn't run them at all.
        Nor does it have mouse/trackpad/ball support, so even if one just wants to place a cursor quickly while writing it already struggles at that.
        And one can't get large files on and off there quickly in hassle free way either.
        Cloud services are fine for smaller things, but a major bottleneck when one has production flows where large files are to be exchanged often.
        In short: It is only good enough in replacing your laptop/desktop, if you in first place did not really need a laptop or desktop because you don't use desktop apps and games.
        So it is actually not good enough in replacing a laptop or desktop for most people who use laptops and desktops for the desktop apps and games on them.

        So due to that, then i also think convertibles with desktop OS make a lot of sense for lots of users, because besides holding them in one hand lengthy, one can use them pretty well as tablet one watches movies on (maybe even better due to a kickstand =) ) but also use them as quasi laptop with more desktop OS capabilities.
        One could argue whether an iOS device like device will first get all the desktop (apps and games running etc) capabilities to really be good enough for most people as desktop OS laptop/desktop replacement, or it will happen sooner that desktop OS running convertibles will become good enough laptops and tablets at the same time for most people.
        But i feel like it's more likely the later will happen, because it's a semi given, it's just a matter of time with moore's law.
        Whereas a mobile OS, other than via emulation, will always have issues running lots of desktop applications and games.
        And the nature of the mobile OS is also intentionally not wanting one to run desktop apps and games, at least on Apple's end.
        Like hey, in 2017 a basic stripped down file manager is celebrated as hot new thing for an iPad.
        A file manager.
        In 2017.
        One really should lean back in between and think about how limited it is as desktop OS replacement when in 2017 that is celebrated as big step forward for it =)
        And just how incredibly long in tech world time steps it took them to even get that going.
        Like 7+ years.

        Now that said, i feel like noone has fully nailed the desktop OS running convertible yet either.
        Like for example the surface pro is not well lappable (which i don't care about but seems very important to some tech bloggers), the surface book has a gap when closed and in between had all sorts of other issues due to the way the components are split up between screen and base part and the surface laptop can be drawn on, too but it makes few sense with one not being able to fold the screen over.
        The surface studio (not a tablet/convertible, but yeah, i talk about it since a many devices in one device, too in some ways), well, it's awesome from the outside but has weak sauce internal components, and it also can't be used as external display either, so no go to hook up a more powerful computer either.
        In general there are also various issues left to get passed for convertibles like a convertible being usually on the heavy side when wanting to use it as tablet and/or shorter battery life, but moore's law will solve most of that over time.

        In summary i think we'll see both happen, further getting more and more different computing device categories, but over time also many of them getting more and more capabilities and basically for many those will win out which deliver many of the features lots of people want in good enough way in one. Because even if we use our future AR glasses and smart watches and ambient room assistants, there will still also be a place for the laptop/convertible/tablet which allows to do a lot right under/in front of your hands on a bit bigger screen and if one of those devices can run all my apps and games in nice way with nice usability with all my input ways, sure, why not? =)


    • Avatar

      RobertJasiek

      In reply to Ugur:

      Right. And it is the same managers bulding a camera bump into current iPads thinking they were just overgrown smartphones for which laying flat on a table to get work done would not matter.

      • Avatar

        Ugur

        In reply to RobertJasiek: yeah, i think it really all boils down to at some point many of these managers are just so detached from every day user workflows and life that we get lots of mismatches due to that.
        I wonder if that will be reduced or get even worse when Apple then soon works out of their new flying saucer campus and so the whole staff basically then lives in their own microcosmos completely cut off from real world.
        On one side, maybe the managers then also see more the guys who still also use their laptops and desktops for desktops apps and games and what not all, or maybe they get secluded so much that we then see totally unfitting things to common workflows and usage ways.
        Will be interesting =)


  4. Avatar

    Baboo

    I'm always a bit amused by the comparison and requirements reviewers compare the iPad Pro with and seem to want. Apple produce laptops including the Air, the pro models etc for the full laptop experience and needs of professionals wanting that amount of features and ability. You are seemingly asking to have a small portable machine, with built in keyboard and mouse and to have a full set of multitasking abilities. Are you saying you want the iPad to become a surface pro? Once the iPad has metamorphosed into a 2 in 1 surely the current tablet Apps will prove to be inadequate in spec and with need to become laptop standard with an extended range of features and the tablet will cease to be a tablet, so what is the point? And why do reviewers insist on stating " this is the best iPad yet". Are we expecting to buy the latest worst IPad yet?

    • Avatar

      the_3rd_pedal

      In reply to Baboo:

      I think reviewers are making this attempt to view the iPad Pro as a Surface or a laptop replacement because Apple has implied that it's capable of attempting to do so. This kind of thing wouldn't be attempted with a non-pro iPad.

  5. Avatar

    wright_is

    Multiple displays? The thing I need most is multiple displays. I have 3 external 24" displays connected to my company notebook and a 34" extra-wide display connected to my private notebook at home.

    I generally have 2 Outlook windows open on the left, so I can monitor email, tasks and calendar. On the next a web browser for looking up reference material, the next has our ERP system running on it and the right hand monitor has a remote desktop management system with tabs for the servers in our network.

    A notebook with just the internal screen is okay when I'm on the move and need to do things in an emergency, a mobile device is really for the utmost emergency, where I don't have a proper tool available.

    I would say about 5% of my workflow could be done (comfortably) on a mobile device.

    • Avatar

      pesos

      In reply to wright_is:


      I am a fan of one large screen (32" 4k at home) vs multiple displays, but I did pick up an IPP originally in the hopes that the Duet app would work well enough to use it as a second monitor for my Surface Pro 4 when on the go. It didn't pan out - the output was fuzzy/artifacted and lagged. I haven't had a chance lately to try it out and see if the ios and/or windows side of Duet has been improved.

      • Avatar

        dstrauss

        In reply to pesos: I've had good luck with Duet Display between my iPP 9.7 and a Surface Pro 4. You need to set the iPP to as close to actual DPI as you can to avoid artifacts, but then I use the Windows display controls to up it to 150% and it is still sharp and easy to read.


      • Avatar

        jimchamplin

        In reply to pesos:

        Unusual. It works well on my mini 2. Note that I’m paired with macOS Sierra, and the Macintosh is a quad i7 Mac mini.

        • Avatar

          pesos

          In reply to jimchamplin:


          Not so unusual based on the feedback from many others at Macrumors who have had similar issues: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/is-it-just-me-or-does-duet-display-suck.1965588/

          Perhaps they've gotten their ish together and greatly improved the app - would be great if that were the case (but doubtful given the more recent feedback - definitely seem like a real mixed bag)! It's also possible that the higher res on the 12.9" ipp is part of the issue. I'll have to test again when I get back home.

  6. Avatar

    pesos

    Not being able to use a pointer is the main issue. Back when we were a citrix shop (and the same can probably be done for some of the newer RDP apps I assume) the citrix receiver was set up to allow an iphone to act as a tappable touchpad so that you had a manageable way to control the cursor when doing a remote session on an ipad. It was a great use of another device you're carrying anyway to turn the ipad into a full blown windoze machine. Too bad Apple doesn't allow this with native ios apps like Word etc.

  7. Avatar

    James Wilson

    People will use their phone to consume when out and about and prefer big screen and keyboards to create content at home. Now if only there was a phone that could be plugged into a big screen...

  8. Avatar

    Pargon

    I'm sure for many people the lack of placing 2 apps side by side to fill the screen is problematic. As an engineering student, I regularly run my Surface Pro 3 with excel and word side by side or word and an engineering application. It's basically required to be able to read out results from an experiment and be able to form a coherent sentence in my report in real time, not switching apps continuously.

  9. Avatar

    Daniel Gomes

    Yes this is definitely a tricky one. The iPad Pro can replace a laptop for many people, but as you say, not for power users or Enterprise.


    For home computing, it is excellent. I have the 12.9 version and it has an excellent screen, fantastic pen input, all day battery, great sound and tons of apps. It's lighter, faster and more versatile than any home laptop, hands down. As long as you don't need to read/burn a CD or use external hard drives for storage. Basically everything needs to be in the cloud if this is going to work. And for some that alone is a deal breaker. I can live with it, but each person has to decide for themselves.


    As for the workplace, I can use it in a pinch in IT, thanks in large part to Microsoft's Remote Desktop app and TeamViewer, but couldn't use it daily. Design studios, artists, game studios etc could definitely use it for creating their artwork because drawing on it is a real pleasure and very accurate. But they'd still have to export the output to the cloud and add it to their projects on their desktop PC's.


    But to be fair I think that's how Apple has done it by design. Their focus is consumers and creators not really power users or Enterprise. At least not with the iPad. They've got the iPhone and Mac for that.

  10. Avatar

    Angusmatheson

    My father bought a iPad Pro 10.5. In the past, I’ve tried to use an iPad 3 and iPad mini 1 at work, and failed. I used vis iPad Pro for a day, and it worked great. Citrix receiver is a pain to set up, so I couldn’t use it. And there is no dragon dictate, which I admittedly rarely use (there is a web version of dragon dictate that would work on iPad, but it was bought down We by petra encryption attack). But I think I could use Ann iPad Pro instead of my laptop. And it is a lot lighter. I carry my 3 lb laptop all day, 8 hours. It would be nice to carry something lighter. Maybe when my laptop dies...

  11. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Pretty ironic, if you ask me...

    You put the "Monitor" in portrait orientation...and now it LOOKS like a superior version of the old Xerox Alto....

    But...lacking a mouse...it is INFERIOR to a Xerox Alto :)

  12. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Microsoft found out the hard way with Windows 8 that you can't mix and match touch and productivity features into one user interface. So they (correctly, IMO) settled on an OS that has two distinct working modes. I think Apple will eventually need to do just that with the iPad, in addition to adding full trackpad and mouse support. I don't see why they can't Just make a distinct desktop mode, either automatic or user-switchable (or ideally both) that looks and feels a lot like MacOS when engaged, but is really just iOS in a business suit. Throw in some desktop-ish productivity apps out of the box and you're DONE as far as a lot of people are concerned. With this "hybrid" device, if you really want to open up iOS apps in "desktop" mode, you can, with perhaps a pop-up message reminding you that the app you're about to open isn't ideal for the current mode.

    It's really frustrating to me that the only "main player" that sees things this way is Microsoft, but they have/had no choice but to do it in the reverse order (Desktop>>>Tablet), and without a workable App store. So there was no way that was ever going to work.

  13. Avatar

    Minok

    my iPad was effectively killed by Apple when they shoehorned the last iOS version they supported for it into the thing. The result of which is overly slow response on any loading activities and work, as if its running on beach sand. I'd have been fine if the iOS version had stayed with the prior one. Yes, the iPad 2 is old, but it worked just fine the way it was, until in a moment of not paying full attention I accidentially let the thing upgrade to the newest version of iOS.

    • Avatar

      Ugur

      In reply to Minok:

      Yes, more and more people realize this over time, it's been like that with iOS devices since the very first ones. Basically the last iOS upgrade your device still gets is almost always one which will make your device run way worse since the newer OS version is made and optimized for the newer devices and hence will let your old device with fewer ram, slower cpu etc run very poorly.

      Basically Apple only fixes that sometimes for some devices when the uproar becomes too loud and so they then release another dot update for the OS for those devices to make it halfway usable again.

      But basically you're best off to not install the last OS update anymore on your oldest iOS devices or revert back from it to older iOS version (if you can get the older iOS version again which is actually not that easy if you're not a dev since not officially supported to downgrade)

      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to Ugur:
        ...this is just one of the reasons why I will never buy an Apple device. I want my device's longevity to be determined by the hardware itself, not the vendor.
        • Avatar

          Ugur

          In reply to JG1170: basically it's different pros and cons on iOS and Android and neither of them handles OS updates ideally for users.
          Yes, an iPad 2 or 3 will not do so well with the last few OS updates it received, same story for older iPhones, but on Android one gets obsolescence in other way, too.
          On iOS the last OS updates an iOS device gen still receives has already in several cases made that device gen then run so poorly it was basically a useless brick besides for the most basic tasks (unless one could downgrade again somehow).
          On the other side on Android one does not receive OS upgrades in official channels at all for many devices quite quickly after the device's release, which has it's own share of issues and in a way means obsolescence.
          So just regarding that point alone, i don't see a big advantage for either side right now.
          In the long run i do see an advantage for iOS device users though regarding that point, because the newer iOS devices have a solid amount of ram finally, so that a bit more heavy OS updates in the future will not lead to older devices not being able to run it well that quickly anymore.
          Whereas on Android, not sure if Google will get a handle anytime soon on most users being able to receive OS updates for a good while as it's outside of Google's control whether manufacturers and carriers roll out such things timely or not (and up to now in most cases not).
          (Google tries to counteract that some by pushing more and more aspects into google play store services updates, but it's still not the same as receiving full upgrades to the OS)

          I also see the built in obsolescence argument in general a bit more differentiated meanwhile.
          I mean yes, one can see it in more and more devices that obviously they are built on several ends to have obsolescence built in to some degree. One can see it positive and say no, that was not the aim, they aimed for more portability, slimmer form factors, being water proof or whatever, and the built in obsolescence of not being user serviceable came with such pros, or one can see it more negatively and assume it was the intention to make it less user serviceable and obsolete sooner, but in either case, yes, it is happening.
          But in case of phones and tablets it also comes with noticeable pros on other ends usually so one has to consider what one prefers more.
          So it's a pick your preferred poison thing.
          For example me personally, for my desktop, i buy a desktop tower pc most times which has upgradeable standard components. It's not the most beautiful nor the most portable, but it serves me best in terms of power and upgradeability for the longest timespans.
          That's great for my bound to one location main workstation right now.
          And i have mixed feelings of buying or recommending anything as desktop computer which does not have standard and swappable parts.
          It depends on if it has enough benefits coming from that on other ends in my eyes though.
          For example a surface studio, if it had way higher end internals, i'd be ok with it not being easily user swappable parts for most parts because there is a clear different usability gain in being able to use that screen at any angle and draw on it etc.
          (I'd still prefer a bigger base with standard components though)
          On a mac pro trash can edition, well, besides looking like a fancy trashcan there was zero user benefit to that failed close to not upgradeable hardware mis design, so i was very much against that one right away.
          On laptops i have a bit more understanding already for many aspects not being user serviceable, again, because it brings considerably portability wins in many cases.
          On the mobile devices, i find it much more sense making that they became less and less user serviceable and user upgradeable and so with that also with way more built in obsolescence.
          Like a phone or Arm tablet in most cases meanwhile is glued down and with nothing user replaceable in most flagship device cases.
          Which leads to weird issues to me for my phone for example: As developer i have many phones and tablets in my office, and as device by itself in most aspects i like the galaxy S8+ most of those right now. But i still often carry around my note edge with me instead of the S8+.
          Despite the camera and most other aspects are considerably worse than on the S8+.
          Why do i still use the Note Edge more?
          Because my note edge was one of the last good Smasung phones which still had a replaceable battery.
          And i bought a few spare batteries for it and that has been extremely mega valuable to me in all my longer trips where i often come to places where i use google maps a lot over the day to navigate around in the place i don't know and well, a phone without user swappable battery is then just done in a couple of hours leaving me in an unknown place without navigation, whereas with my note edge i just take a few spare batteries with me and can travel around for days and constantly use gps/navigation without ever having to worry about my battery running out.
          Which is actually a very freeing thing.
          On the other side, thanks to the S8+ (and many other newer phones) not having a swappable battery, and so yes, besides the battery then running out and one having no device to use until recharging it and the whole battery not user swappable part also leading to the device basically being done for good in 3-5 years, it has an a bit thinner form factor and it is also more resilient against water so i can use it more freely when it rains or at the pool/beach side, too.
          For the S8+ my workaround will likely become to buy one of those addon battery cases, which by itself is a bummer though, because i love the feel and slimness of the device in the alcantara case i got for it =)

          So, in summary, the built in obsolescence will just go on and become more and more widespread in more and more devices and in kore and more categories, but hey, on the upside, in some cases it also comes with noticeable usability gains on other ends, so each time a case by case decision to make what you prefer more in that case.


    • Avatar

      rgelb

      In reply to Minok:

      You hit the nail on its head. My iPad 3 was fast on iOS 6. There was a significant slowdown with iOS 7 and it got worse with iOS8 and iOS9. I am now on iOS 9.3x and the iPad is now basically a facebook/reddit/ibook reader.


      There is also a downside with not upgrading. For instance, I downgraded my iPad 3 down to iOS 6 but most apps are not even compatible with iOS 6.

      • Avatar

        Ugur

        In reply to rgelb:

        Yes, exactly it's sadly a bummer either way.

        On Android one does not receive OS updates that long on most (non Vanilla) Android devices.

        Sure, one can upgrade/downgrade manually oneself on Android but that is more hassle than most average users would do.

        On iOS, Apple hypes it up a lot that way more of their users receive new OS versions longer, but the downside is exactly like you and me said (and there are many many threads on this on the web proving it, too), the oldest devices still receiving an OS version almost always run way worse afterwards, in several cases to the degree where the thing basically became pretty much unusable afterwards besides for the most basic tasks.


        It is simple to explain really: When the OS and onboard apps take more resources in OS updates, older devices with fewer Ram and weaker chipset of course struggle more often and also have to close and restart apps more often when low on memory more often.


        That way more iOS users get OS updates automatically and quickly than on Android has the upside for developers that one can rely more on new OS features being available to most users quickly, so way more developers also make use of newer features way faster than on Android.


        That is great in terms of being able to use new OS features sooner in apps, but it of course has the big downside that when one has a way older device and the new OS version runs badly on it, so one best would actually not update to it, well, then one also gets cut off from app updates to many apps quite quickly as they are made for newer OS versions quite quickly.


        It's not an ideal situation at all on both iOS and Android.


        Where i do see a bit of an advantage there though for iOS in the long term is that at least as newer iOS devices finally got more Ram (years later than many Android devices hit those Ram amounts), it will take way longer until a new OS version and onboard apps would become too heavy for those iOS devices.

        Not like with an iPad 2 or 3 where it was already the case 2-3 years later or the early iPhones where it was the case in very few years, too.


        It still sucks though if one has one of the older iPhones or one of the older iPads. Me personally i have sold my older iPads due to this and bought an iPad Air then.

  14. Avatar

    Polycrastinator

    I was surprised that Apple didn't add Force Touch to the new iPads. On my phone, one of the big uses for me is to force touch the keyboard so I can move the text cursor, essentially a cursor of a sorts. It doesn't help if you're using an external keyboard of course, but it's still a weird omission.

  15. Avatar

    HachingMonkey

    As fond as I am of my old iPad, I always struggled to get work done with it; it was a combination of the lack of a file manager, full-screen apps and the absence of mouse or trackpad support. It was perfectly fine for composition, but--then again--so is any device with a text editor.


    As nice as the iPad Pro is, I bought a Samsung Chromebook Plus instead, which is much more conducive to work. Although my iPad lives on as an internet radio, video player and for all the music apps.

  16. Avatar

    jbuccola

    Use cases are everything. For the stationary worker, definitely: "what's the point?"

    For the individual that is more mobile, the battery life, always-on connectivity, lack-of-a-laptop-bag simplicity of the thing is a godsend. I don't even bring a charger with me and it tends to last two full days.

  17. Avatar

    MutualCore

    No mouse control == no productivity. Keep trying to flog the iPad Pro Paul.

  18. Avatar

    jaredthegeek

    Of course the comments are filled with people proclaiming that it will not work for them, and they are right. For 99% of people it would work just fine with the office applications being available. This is where Android excels. Sure most of the apps are not tablet centric but you can use a mouse and keyboard. They work very well. For a time I was getting by with just that. The reason I stopped was the Surface 3 with LTE. I grabbed one for a deal, 4 gig rams, 128 gigs of storage and full windows. I may go back to a Galaxy Tab S3 because its powerful, a good size and I can use a mouse with it when needed.

  19. Avatar

    Dan Smart

    I'm a longtime Apple fan. I've had iPhones and my iPad forever.


    I would never consider my iPad to be a tablet replacement for the type of work I do. I create a lot of technical writing as a business analyst. Work-typing on an iOS device is painful. Trying to select text is nothing short of horrific. First, just trying to get the cursor where you want takes concentration. Then, trying to select a word -- sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. And then you don't always get the "Copy" menu to pop up.


    Trying to select sentences can be worse. For reasons I've yet to discern, the Select interface will decide on its own to switch from Character Select to Block Select; so much for trying to be surgical and select only a sentence or two within a paragraph. The problem with the Block Select is that once you copy/paste, you now have to edit what you pasted to remove the part you didn't want.


    As of 2017, the mouse is still the best way to move a cursor around, select text, and paste. Microsoft has tried to goof that up with their "Smart Select". But it's still nowhere near as bad as Select/Copy/Paste on an iOS device.


    What I do use my iPad for is content consumption and social media interaction (light typing). I do use it for the occasional work task via Chrome Remote Desktop; this is generally an urgent situation where I need to remotely access my laptop or desktop, or a server-based document, and it's worth the trouble to spend 5 minutes doing what the good old "mouse and keyboard" would do in 30 seconds.

  20. Avatar

    crfonseca

    Uh, and not a single reference to gorilla arm.

  21. Avatar

    irfaanwahid

    We sort of have that precision/repositioning of the cursors in text editors on the iPhone.

    When you press hard on the keypad itself (3D touch) you're able to move the cursor around. I do that all the time.

    Though I get what you mean, in a laptop replacement scenario, we actually need a trackpad sort of a device doing the same thing. But I guess over time this feature is bound to make it to the iPad Pro.

  22. Avatar

    glenn8878

    The big issue is whether my printer and DVD writer can hook up to it. It's likely not so either you invest in all new hardware or stick with Windows.

  23. Avatar

    Bats

    So the iPad Pro doesn't meet Paul's needs? Exactly what are those needs? 

    A pointer? Paul can't function his on a computer because it lacks a pointer? That's it? Paul's main function when he works is typing. The action of moving the mouse to a position on the screen, then the action of clicking, and whatever thereafter is more tedious to to do then simply taking your finger, point, and touch the screen. The problem with Paul is that ...HE'S NOT USED TO IT.

    The fact of the matter, one day...some day....when can get rid of the mouse and perhaps the keyboard, because we will always want less space.

    I don't know when Paul has been experimenting with a new workflow, but clearly not long enough. 

    In all honesty, Paul's workflow is not hard. In fact, one can argue that HE is the one making it hard and his refusal to get with the times, is bit alarming since he does cover the fact moving tech industry.

    Soon, we may not keyboards anymore. We could just dictate what we want to write to an AI based assistant. Then what, Paul? He's gonna complain about that? 

    • Avatar

      RobertJasiek

      In reply to Bats:

      Currently, iOS cannot be compared well to desktop OS with respect to editing text because the iOS touch-orientated text editing is very flawed: many multiple attempts to achieve one single action (such as markup of a long text) can be necessary. This is so because iOS implementation of such actions is terrible. Compare LiquidText (a text editor app for iOS) to iOS: with LiquidText editing text always works immediately and correctly (unless we need to mark a very long text and scroll) proving the possibility whilst general iOS editing text is terrible. iOS ought to learn from LiquidText. Only afterwards can it make sense to argue that touch editing might equal mouse editing.

    • Avatar

      Jose Gomez

      In reply to Bats: I use a Windows 10 desktop, a Win 10 laptop with touch, a Mac Mini 2012 model, Galaxy S8 Plus, Nvidia Shield Tablet, & an iPod Touch. I have not used a physical keyboard on a mobile device since 2010. I do a fair amount of Facebook post, Twitter, online comments, work logs, reports, & writing documents. I can say for certain that touch based pointer systems on Windows, iOS, & Android are not anywhere near ideal. Not for the kind of precision pointing necessary when using a document creation or when executing a journalistic workflow. It can take 3 up to 10 times or more to get the right angle with a finger. It's the same on any touch device regardless of the OS. I'm using the most modern versions of Windows 10 Creators Update, Mac OS 10.12.5, Android 7.0, & iOS 10.3.2.

      Paul's arguments are 110% valid. Especially for journalists, managers, students, teachers, & many professionals with time constraints. Touch copy & paste is just as clumsy as touch pointers. We simply don't have the time to fumble with immature touch pointers when time is a factor. A mouse is the most ideal peripheral needed when you're trying to write even in 2017. Gamers will tell you that touch is no substitute for a mouse & keyboard.

      I frequent establishments that use tablets. Even with a stylus, people are fumbling around with touch. There is no genuine substitute for a keyboard & mouse. Until Apple solves this problem? Until touch becomes as precise as a mouse? The keyboard & mouse will always point in the right direction.

      Also, Thurrott's a writer/blogger. It's his job to complain. Tech writers often represent many users that work in a similar direction or workflow. If people don't complain? Things don't get better. I'd say a lot of things in Windows, iOS, Mac OS, & Android got better because people complained about it. I'm still waiting for the perfect piece of hardware or software that didn't merit some kind of complaint. Just sayin...

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to Bats:

      Except when you touch the screen and you miss the position you wanted to point to. It can take multiple tries to get it right that exceed the time it takes to use a mouse. Of course, if you make the font big enough you can avoid the problem at the expense of wasting screen space.

      • Avatar

        jimchamplin

        In reply to skane2600:

        That sounds more like a lack of hand-eye coordination, sir! :D


        I prescribe 12 hours of Galaga, eight hours of Bosconian, and eight of Super Mario Brothers.


        (This is a joke, for anyone who is incapable of humor.)

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to jimchamplin:

          If I had good hand-eye coordination I might have become a surgeon instead of a software engineer. :)


          Perhaps advice for people considering a career in software development should be similar to the common advice for going into the arts - if you can do anything else, do that instead.

    • Avatar

      Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to Bats:

      I don't think it's fair to criticize Paul for not preferring the iPad for his way of doing things. Sometimes we must adapt to new things, but it's silly to do so if a valid alternative is the better option for someone. For example, iPads can't drive a second display (at least not to display additional content), so right there some folks would really have to adjust their expectations and needs in order to adapt.

      • Avatar

        curtisspendlove

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad:


        I think it is perfectly fair to criticize the article.


        I give Paul credit for at least slanting the article toward the “not sufficient for *my* needs” angle.


        But the persistent statement that you can’t get accurate, precise cursor positioning on a modern iPad is inaccurate. And it is even easier with a hardware keyboard. (Hint: arrow keys and modifier keys).

    • Avatar

      Daekar

      In reply to Bats:

      I'll agree about everything except dictation. It's going to have to improve A LOT for that to be an option. An incredible, unbelievable amount. Every dictation experience I've ever had, even Google's latest offerings on Android, has been awful, and nowhere near as precise as typing. You can forget about any specialized language, too, or unusual acronyms, or non-standard joke spelling... it's just a non-starter.

  24. Avatar

    Bdsrev

    I want an iPad Pro with a USB-C port and a trackpad on the keyboard but there's still huge problems. Like Safari on the 12.9" iPad Pro: it doesn't go to the desktop version of websites!!! That's absolutely ridiculous for such a big display. You have to tap "request desktop site" every single time and even then, some websites deny the request. Hearing that split screen on the 10.5" iPad gives you 2 iPhone apps is also shocking. Please don't tell me that's also the case for the 12.9" iPad? Imagine 2 gigantic iPhone apps side-by-side on the 12.9 iPad? It's so strange to me because the iPhone is almost perfect, it's just so well done. And you look at the iPad Pro and it's almost like it's from a different company

  25. Avatar

    curtisspendlove

    Of course, the real difference is that I can select a quote from a Microsoft blog post with my mouse very easily, copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it into my editor. This procedure would require some deft touch gestures on my part, thought the copy and paste part (COMMAND + C, COMMAND + V) would work normally. I bet you’d get used to it.”


    It took me a double-tap, a drag, and a tap to copy that to the comment editor input field. I wasn’t even being that careful. It would have been similar to initiate a drag/drop between two apps in side-by-side mode.


    I also edited this this text a bit (quite precisely) by pressing two fingers down on the software keyboard, which triggers a trackpad-like cursor movement mode. A double two finger press enters into a more precise selection mode.


    It it takes a bit of getting used to. But it is essentially like having a trackpad. It is my understanding that the physical Smart Keyboard can be used similarly. But I don’t own one so I’m not sure.


    I have no issue with this feature being added across the board. But I really find that I don’t need a mouse to use iOS efficiently. But I’m one of the seeming few that think Apple’s insistence that Macs shouldn’t be touch-screen is short-sighted.

    • Avatar

      Chris

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      I'm not trying to nitpick, but it isn't quite as precise as you make it out. "I also edited this this text a bit (quite precisely)". Note the double "this"...


      I'm not saying with practice you, or anyone else, couldn't become proficient using an iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, but without a mouse/touchpad/trackpad/whatever-else-is-mouselike, it's not easy for most people to use. I can use a touchpad, but I much prefer a mouse, and without one, I can't even consider an iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. In saying that, I do have an Android based tablet that I use with a bluetooth keyboard, but I only use it for basic web browsing, and only when I am away from home, which is pretty much 3 weekends a year.

      • Avatar

        curtisspendlove

        In reply to c.hucklebridge:


        “I'm not trying to nitpick, but it isn't quite as precise as you make it out. "I also edited this this text a bit (quite precisely)". Note the double "this"...”


        I guarantee you it wasn’t a software feature that added the extra “This”. So that is irrelevant.


        Incidentally I’m reading a novel that I spent a decent amount of money on. It contains typos and grammatical errors. And I’m guessing it was probably written on a traditional computer, in a word processor, and professionally edited. A far cry from a comment on a news site. :: shrug ::


        Also (and I am trying to nit-pick), grabbing a small, irrelevant flaw and trying to base a debate on it is, quite actually, the literal definition of “nit-pick”.


        I understand many people are used to using a mouse. Although I can’t speak for you, I’m an old man. In the sense of technology anyway.


        You should take a look at how quickly anyone not bogged down with the technology tropes of the past can manipulate a device with touch-only.


        And when you’ve examined that, you should watch a teenager. I’m constantly amazed by my children and their friends. Honestly, a mouse or a trackpad tend to slow most of them down.

        • Avatar

          Stooks

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          I will guarantee you that if a test with a certain set of tasks that required multiple manipulations like highlighting text, selecting multiple photos, copy, paste (forget cut Apple does not believe in it) etc were setup and the iPad had mouse/trackpad support the mouse user would not only finish faster but make less mistakes.


          It is just pure ignorance on Apple's part for not have the OPTION of mouse/trackpad support.

          • Avatar

            jimchamplin

            In reply to Stooks:

            Immaterial. UI already exists for both selecting multiple items, for initiating drag, and get this... adding items to what you’re dragging after you’ve started.


            A damn pointer is NOT required. Stop getting the vapors about it. Go back to your computer and feel comfortable. Nobody is coming to take it away.

            • Avatar

              Stooks

              In reply to jimchamplin:

              Immaterial? Lol! I never said there are not ways to do it on the iPad. I know there are.


              I am just pointing out the fact that a user with a mouse vs a user with just touch will be much faster and make less mistakes and be less frustrated when doing a wide range of UI manipulation.


              I am also not asking they they get rid of or change touch, just add mouse support. It is crystal clear that their current path is doing nothing for the declining iPad sales. Even schools are starting to go back to traditional laptops (form factor) and getting rid of iPad's.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          Seems kind of strange to criticize someone for a making what you saw as an irrelevant comment and then follow it up with an anecdote that is even less relevant. His comment was on your "demonstration" of how easy it was to edit on an iPad Pro, so you having failed to perform it perfectly is entirely relevant.


          Obviously everybody makes mistakes no matter what tools they use, but that doesn't mean that all tools are equally easy to use.


          As far as teenagers are concerned I think most people would agree that they have a much higher tolerance for error in their personal communications than they do in school or work. If you don't go back to correct mistakes, I agree that a mouse or keypad isn't so important.

          • Avatar

            curtisspendlove

            In reply to skane2600:


            “His comment was on your "demonstration" of how easy it was to edit on an iPad Pro, so you having failed to perform it perfectly is entirely relevant.”


            Again, taking the time to proofread != iPad being an inferior writing tool.


            When the iPad uses AI to proofread for us, then the criticism becomes valid.


            The anecdote is entirely relevant. Those people are paid to proofread. And they still miss things, very similar things to what I missed.


            The extra “this” was entirely my lack of proofreading. :: shrug ::


            ”As far as teenagers are concerned I think most people would agree that they have a much higher tolerance for error in their personal communications than they do in school or work. If you don't go back to correct mistakes, I agree that a mouse or keypad isn't so important.”


            I wasn’t talking about personal communications. That stuff actually scares me. I’m talking about schoolwork. Or work-work.


            I’ve watched them bang out a term paper, resume, and job application on a touch interface faster than I can on my Mac or PC. And I’m a software developer, so I know my way around a machine and am a reasonable typist.

  26. Avatar

    Lars lalaa

    I really like the iPad Pro 10.5. The screen is amazing. 120hz refresh rate, colors as well as the overall performance. I can’t complain. I do lots of photo editing, every day office and media consumption on it. For someone who just writes…well, maybe not the perfect device. Just to give one advice on the cursor. You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard. It helps a lot.

    The way of iOS will become very interesting in the near future and it can evolve in much more. Think about AR as well as some business use cases. Security is top notch on it. Three ways to improve the iPad Pro even further imo. 1) a redesigned and improved keyboard. Maybe with E Ink support which is supposed to come to the next MacBooks. 2) an even better screen ratio at the same size. with build in Touch ID and smaller side bezels it should be around 11-12”. 3) Final Cut Pro or Adobe Cloud

    The current iPad Pro already let people switch or consider buying it over a laptop. Improvements like this would put it over the top. I wouldn’t say as a laptop replacement but as a very great alternative for many people especially for portability and versatility. and sorry, no track pad or mouse with upcoming updates :) I truly believe this is going to mess it up. It’s basically Windows 8 then. On one hand great for touch while on the other lacks on software. People used it like always. Like a laptop with mouse and track pad. Nobody writes different software for it when 99% of the people are stuck at Win32.

  27. Avatar

    Daekar

    I'm kind of surprised that Paul doesn't use more multitasking features. When I'm stuck using a machine with only one screen, I absolutely do put windows side by side if I need more than copy and paste.


  28. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    The keyboards all appear to have cursor (arrow) keys, so positioning text insertion point should be as precise as it'd be with a mouse, though it may not be as fast.

  29. Avatar

    nbplopes

    Hi Paul, I bought the iPad Pro and still have not decided for the keyboard.


    Have you tried the cursor controlling gesture on the Smart Keyboard? It enables a kind of trackpad mode in text processors for better control.


    https://youtu.be/mt-BGbSFGsA


    How does this work for you?


    PS: Personally i find the screen size of 10.5" too small to work with for long hours. Even if it was running Windows would just be too small for me. I would say the 13" (12."9) would be more adequate.


    Than there is the MS Bluetooth universal keyboard. I've heard good things about that one.

    https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Universal-Keyboard-Android-devices/dp/B00GWGLUZ0


    • Avatar

      nbplopes

      In reply to nbplopes:


      I would like also add the following to my comment based on my experience with my iPad Pro 10.5". But first note that I am convinced that at least for the next 10 years that the iPad Pro line will never replace my Mac or a PC due to the simple fact that I'm a Software Architect / Developer and need development tools, large screen if not multiple screens.


      I mostly agree with Paul, except when he goes on buying external stands so on and so forth. Its an option amongst many in the iPad world and not a very good one.


      But here is why I see the iPad Pro soon if not right now to be a brilliant alternative to traditional work related computing when it comes to general productivity. Actually surpassing the Mac or PC in many ways. Little things really, but that both Apple and in particular Microsoft have been not achieved with either the OS X or Windows.


      This thing is fast, fast fast in many ways ... and more secure than "Standard PC". Time will tell if it maintains this speed for at least 3 years ... that would be awesome.. But right now opening, closing and switching applications, switching tabs its just faster than any other laptop I've experienced. Even opening regular files to edit or view is faster. I do some amateur photography and for editing photos, at least the level I do (exposure compensation, dodge, burn, with balance, a crop here or there, curves, even more advanced stuff such local edition with layers) this thing is fast, faster than a $1700 Core i7 laptop with integrated graphics (the standard for a ultra light PC laptop).


      Not only fast, but cheaper, more value per performance and per watt. So fast that you might as well buy a shell and turn it into a laptop altogether and still get a better deal in performance. This solution defeats the purpose of a tablet, but it is close to be a better laptop than the standard PC / Mac laptops in terms of performance for the price!!!!


      For entertainment and gaming well, we all know that. Not for the hard core XBOX One or PC gamer. But for me and most people its plenty, plenty.


      These are the things I feel that threatn the laptop PC or MacBooks Pro for general productivity. Yes, the iPad Pro 12.9" might be expensive for a tablet but for a laptop with 256GB ... its just mid range laptop price if not less, But with better responsiveness, brilliant screen so on and so forth. Why? Because vendor have been trying to make stuff more efficient with the PC Intel Architecture for more than a decade. The reality is that the core solution for battery longevity, performance and heat is only one, and its called Throttling. Meaning reducing the CPU capacity, ... it is not a good solution by any means. The iPad Pro exposes this problem in its entirety.


      The lack of trackpad support or better keyboard its merely conjuntural I feel and Apple is dangerously close to sort that one out without a doubt.


      Will see how this turns out. But I see even a more aggressive push in the following years from Apple. Everyone else will be playing catchup in terms of performance at lest.


      Look at Google. its already trying to bake touch UIs into Chromebooks because only one thing. What they saw with iOS11.


      Will see.


      Cheers.

      PS: I understand that Microsoft with Windows have been trying hard to come up with efficient solution. I would say that they came up with workable solutions for the PC. But the bottom line I think we all feel that its just that, workable and I am staring to doubt that they will ever manage to make the a very significant leap forward considering better use of resources, at least with Intel Architecture.






  30. Avatar

    skane2600

    "It’s important to remember that most of the activities we used to do on a PC are more efficiently done on mobile devices now. "


    Like what? In addition, I'd say that most of the activities that are done on mobile devices were seldom or never done on PCs.

    • Avatar

      Daekar

      In reply to skane2600:

      I agree. I think we can say that "...most of the activities we used to do on a PC are often done on mobile devices now." Efficiency has nothing to do with it, it's a poorer experience in every way except portability.

  31. Avatar

    Stooks

    Ummm.....duh. iPad sales have declined every quarter for 3+ years now. Introducing the "Pro" model has done nothing to change that.


    For those that can replace a laptop with a iPad....they never needed the laptop in the first place but had no choice.


    I don't know if it is arrogance or stupidity that Apple does not add mouse/trackpad support? In either case it is costing them. I bet just adding mouse/trackpad support would stop the sales decline. Heck I might even replace my iPad Air 2 for the ultimate in a ultra light weight laptop stand in.


    For those that think they should NOT add mouse support as an option?????? Seriously WTF?

    • Avatar

      BrianEricFord

      In reply to Stooks:


      So, the argument is now shifting from "an iPad can't replace a laptop" to "anyone who is replacing a laptop with an iPad never actually needed a laptop" in an effort to move the goalposts?


      Also: If you have no choice but to use something, that is pretty much the definition of "needing" it. If you now have another choice that fits your needs, that is pretty much the definition of something being "replaced."


      And, ultimately, I bet that describes a huge segment of the population.

      • Avatar

        Stooks

        In reply to BrianEricFord:

        No effort to change anything. That was the only option they had. Their needs are better filled by a tablet and now they have that option.


        It is NOT a laptop replacement for them.

        • Avatar

          BrianEricFord

          In reply to Stooks:


          You're being obtuse.


          They used to buy laptops (and likely still would be but for the new alternative) and now they buy iPads. Saying that's not "replacing" a laptop is shaping the narrative to fit your argument, out of some odd loyalty to a type of device.


          Which is a bizarre sort of loyalty even above and beyond loyalty to a brand.


          (I'd love to see you advising the CEO of Brand X laptop. "No, no sir. This dip in sales isn't real because most of these people never needed our laptops, they were just buying them because we didn't offer them what they DID need. Nothing to worry about, here!")


          • Avatar

            Stooks

            In reply to BrianEricFord:

            I have ZERO brand loyalty. I NEED a Laptop and I have a iPad which I use for 98% consumption and very light work because it might be what I have in my hand at the time and it can be utilized to reply to an email.


            My point is simply that lots and lots of Joe consumers have a computer, which they use for Web Browsing, email, light photo organizing/editing and possibly some lite document work. All of which can be done via a Web browser honestly if they use Google or Microsoft web products. For years all they had was a computer as an option.


            Then they got a smartphone and did most of that on a smartphone, switched some of what they did in a browser to dedicated apps, like facebook, netflix etc. Then tablets came out and now these type of computer users no longer need a computer.....because they barely used it.


            Had the iPad or Android tablets been available from day one of their computing experience they would have never gotten a full Laptop.


            Yes they are replacing their laptops but it is all about right sizing their hardware to match their needs now that they have options.


            There are a group of die hard Apple/iPad fans that would be better off with a laptop but they make it "work" using and iPad to prove a point. They have to change many things and compromise in various ways but they can say "I can replace my laptop with a iPad".

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to BrianEricFord:

        It seems to me that it's essentially the same argument in a different form. The point is that smartphones and tablets excel at activities that are fundamentally different than what laptops/desktops excel at. Obviously there is overlap, but for example, if all I want to do with a computer on a plane is watch a movie, I'd rather do that on a tablet than a laptop. Likewise, if I want to work on a spreadsheet I'd rather do it on a laptop than a tablet. You can add a physical keyboard to a tablet, but the non-integrated configuration is a bit of a kludge. This applies just as much to Surface devices with a detachable keyboard as it does for an IPad Pro with a keyboard. It's not about the brand, it's about fundamental ergonomics.

        • Avatar

          RobertJasiek

          In reply to skane2600:

          It is first of all a decision about whether to use portrait or landscape position. If portrait position, then notebooks or 2-in-1s with directly attached keyboards are unsuitable but detached keyboards are viable. Only if one always chooses landscape position, an attached keyboard should be considered and then it becomes a matter of ergonomics and use. For travel in cars, buses, trains, planes, an attached keyboard (if needed) is more ergonomic than a detached one. Otherwise, a detached, desktop-like keyboard can be more ergonomic for extensive typing, regardless of landscape position.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to RobertJasiek:

            Certainly a laptop with a portrait display and an attached keyboard could have been made if there was a market for them (obviously with a more narrow keyboard). I used to have a rotatable display for my desktop PC but eventually concluded that the portrait mode didn't really add much value so I left it as landscape. While I'm sure that some people would find a portrait orientation useful, I doubt that the majority would favor it.


            Yes, a detached keyboard similar in size to a typical desktop keyboard is often better than a laptop keyboard but that's not really a mobile scenario. If you're going to park a tablet on a desktop you might just as well use a desktop machine. Of course, a laptop can also use a detached keyboard easily in a non-mobile scenario.

  32. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    While there are some things iPad can't do, it actually does a lot of things really well. It has a great display (and an OS and apps that scale appropriately for it), fantastic battery life, weighs very little, has good everyday performance, is passively cooled and completely silent, has fantastic stability, and has a pretty healthy ecosystem around it.

    They keyboard almost misses the point, as it interferes with the great touch interface. Task switching is painless with the four finger swipe right and left. No, it's not perfect, but I think it offers a good alternative to many people. It will never be a good solution for those that use legacy applications, but it certainly could be a "post-PC era" computer for some. I don't think Steve ever expected everyone to like or want it. That's never been Apple's approach.

    • Avatar

      RobertJasiek

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      You are right that it can do a lot of things well (but it also can't do a lot of other things at all) and you mention some important advantages. However, I disagree with "great display and battery life". For me, a display can be great if I can use it everywhere (mobile!) and it displays contents very well everywhere - but it does not as long as the glare display mirrors sunlight, window light or lamps very much despite significantly reduced mirroring compared to ordinary glare displays; one solution would be a matte display. For me, battery life is great if I can use it all day (which in practice is up to ca. 16h without recharging, that is, 24h of a day minus 8h for sleeping and eating) - but iPads only last ca. 10h indoors and ca. 5h outdoors with maximum brightness, which are not enough for whole day reading or working.

      Yes, Steve / Apple have not designed iPads for everybody, but this must not be an excuse. It ought to be designed for everybody. Sure, absolutely, keep the advantages. However, also do not insist on any unnecessary restrictions (which we all know) that can be removed and then do not abandon any of the advantages. (GUI simplicity is not lost by removing certain restrictions but would only be lost by then making the mistake of forcing features on everybody including those not needing them or being careless about code implemention and losing the advantage of a reasonable degree of stability.)

  33. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Where is Paul and what have you done with him?

  34. Avatar

    psh_vt

    I’m trying to use an iPad Pro as a laptop replacement during a 1-month language-study vacation in Spain. This is possible only because I decided to take a break from my normal work, which includes activities like music production/notation, multi-media work, programming, some vr work, etc. “Desktop” software is needed for about 90% of what I do, but — taking all that off the table for a month, is the iPad Pro a laptop replacement for me?


    The answer is — no. There are numerous things that Paul mentioned — not having a pointing device, for example. I find the “multitasking” to be primitive and useless much/most of the time because the windows are inflexible and clumsy to launch, especially if the second program isn’t already on the small dock. Having windows of fixed size is often a problem for seeing what I need to on one or both of the screens. So I’d call this multi-tasking-ish, at best.


    Even taking the desktop software off the table, my iPad Pro still seems like an auxilliary device for “consuming” media, and it’s also fine for things like drawing and photo editing in a pinch (in the sense of “it works fine” but not in the sense of “it’s equivalent to or better than my laptop.”) So, two weeks into my experiement with the iPad Pro: I like it a lot, but only in a limited secondary role.




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