Why Apple needs an ‘iPad Pro’

“The iPad — and tablets in general — are usurping the Mac/PC space,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for MondayNote. “In the media consumption domain, the war is all but won. But when we take a closer look at the iPad ‘Pro.’ we see that Apple’s tablet is far from realizing its ‘professional’ potential.”

For example, can I compose this Monday Note on an iPad? Answering in the affirmative would be to commit the Third Lie of Computing: You Can Do It. (The first two are Of Course It’s Compatible and Chief, We’ll be in Golden Master by Monday),” Gassée writes. “I do research on the Web and accumulate documents… On a PC or Mac, saving a Web page to Evernote for future reference takes a right click (or a two finger tap). On an iPad, things get complicated. The Share button in Safari gives me two clumsy choices: I can mail the page to my Evernote account, or I can Copy the URL, launch Evernote, paste the URL, compose a title for the note I just created, and perhaps add a few tags.”

Gassée writes, “For starters — and to belabor the obvious — I can’t open multiple windows. iOS uses the ‘one thing at a time’ model. I can’t select/drag/drop, I have to switch from Pages to Evernote or Safari, select and copy a quote, and then switch back to the document and paste… Things get worse for graphics. On the iPad, I can’t take a partial screenshot. I can take a full screenshot by simultaneously pressing the Home and Sleep buttons, or I can tap on a picture in Safari and select Save. In both cases, the screenshot ends up in the Photos app where I can perform some amount of cropping and enhancing, followed by a Copy, then switch back to Pages and Paste into my opus.”

“The best news is that Apple has, finally, some competition when it comes to User Experience. For example, tablets that run Microsoft or Google software let users slide the current window to show portions of another one below, making it easier to select parts of a document and drop them into another. (Come to think of it, the sliding Notifications ‘drawer’ on the iPad and iPhone isn’t too far off),” Gassée writes. “This competition might spur Apple to move the already very successful iPad into authentically ‘Pro’ territory.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: The problem is iOS, not the iPad, insofar as its progress has been retarded by, we surmise, Scott Forstall’s little exercise in fiefdom building or maybe just complacency in the face of inept competition. If the former, that’s been dealt with; if the latter, that should have evaporated by now.

We sincerely hope to see iOS progress much faster going forward. Push the envelope, Apple! The leap from iOS 6 to iOS 7 should be closer to the leap from iPhone OS 1.0 to iOS 4 than it was from iOS 5 to iOS 6 or we will – as most competent iOS users should – be displeased.

If the OS can multitask (it can), how about letting us really multitask, Apple? Four-finger swiping between open apps is cute and all, but the fact that we still reflexively turn to our Macs just to do mundane things like compose blog posts that contain anything more than simple text with one or two hyperlinks is a neon sign that basic iOS functionality needs work. Yes, as Gassée says, You Can Do It, but until Apple makes us Want To Do It, iOS won’t have realized its full potential.

Currently, as Steve said they would be, iOS/iPad is the car and OS X/Mac is the truck. iOS/iPad needs to become more of an SUV, so that we don’t want to park it and jump in our trucks just to accomplish some rather simple work.


    1. I think you will see some very soon but it takes time, patents have to be made and approved before implementation can be arranged. Additionally the software and or system they are going to test needs time as well.

    2. The complaint voiced above by Gassee also complicates moving between Mac and iPhone or iPad and iPhone.

      Rather than a complicated fix, Apple could create a giant ‘clipboard’ or ‘filing cabinet’ in iCloud where a user can share/move content on the fly either between Apple devices or between applications on the same device.  This would be done with a keystroke, multi-finger gesture or menu choice.

    3. One big step forward would be to make updates more granular. Rather than update the entire system, why not update Apple apps, a more recent framework here and there (I am sure much of the conditional code is present to actually make this run or compile under another target system).

    1. Yes agreed. Please Apple allow a customizable desktop on the ipad, I’m bored with static icons that can’t be moved in anyway I want them to. Allow multiple windows, drag n drop, a file manager would be nice. The ipad in my observation has such potential for on the go mobile computing but iOS of late is lagging. A micro sd slot on the ipad would be welcome.

  1. Everyone’s computers are still decently good. It’s not that people don’t need computers, is that everyone already has one that works well, and people would rather spend money on something they don’t have for now: an iPad. Eventually people will still need to replace their computers too, but the incremental changes we have seen recently in PC’s isn’t enough for the average user to need an upgrade. Computers from the last five years are still good Facebook machines, for example.

    1. The fault is a lack of true innovation on the PC’s capabilities. Microsoft tried but failed with Windows 8, but I think Apple hit the hardware side on the head with the retina display MacBook Pros. The software is little to get excited about, and it needs change, but Windows 8 is not what people want. We don’t want our desktops to be like tablets, which is the misperception Microsoft has. We want our desktops to be better desktops.

  2. Given the shakeup to Ive from Fortstall.. I wouldn’t begrudge apple an initially long period in getting iOS7 ready. However, I think it’s fair for apple consumers to expect something far better that made the wait worth it.

    IN the least, I am curious to see how things evolve now. And with that, cue the whining and bitching that comes along with every major apple overhaul.

    1. Just know that product cycles are longer than that. The definition of what iOS 7 would be predates Ive taking over, and so the software engineers have been hard at work producing that functionality in time for a summer 2013 release. Ive’s influence may be in graphical look (window dressing if you will) for iOS 7, but not in core functionality like Gassée is asking for. That’d be iOS 8 or more likely 9, with 8 starting the ship in that direction.

      1. I agree. As someone who has worked at software companies for a long time, it can take years to outline the requirements for a major update, determine what can be done within the time frame for each major release, do the programming, testing and debugging. We all want it now. But software development doesn’t work that way.

        Look for iOS to evolve over several left-dot releases, not all at once. Fundamentally huge changes take time to envision, program and test. That said, the competition is growing. Google moves at a rapid pace. But remember: it’s not about how many features you cram in – that turns you into Microsoft. It’s about elegance, about simplicity, about melding needed advances and function into the user interface that evolves in a way that doesn’t break what is fixed, but fixes what we never imagined we would want or need.

        When the iPad was first envisioned, Steve Jobs and others never imagined that it would cause the groundswell that it has. The iPad is moving from being a consumption-only device into a full-blown replacement for the Mac. We want to do more and more. We want more flexibility and function. It will be a challenge to Jonathan I’ve and the iOS development team to keep the iPad and iPhone’s intuitive ease of use while adding power functions that Mac users expect. But I’m optimistic. The next few years could be amazing.

        1. Agreed. Further, they need to fix the problems in ML before adding new stuff. Look at the comments on Apple’s support site posted by users. It’s troubling. There are still a lot of folks having problems with one thing or another. All these different problems make for a very long list of ‘stuff that needs to be fixed’. For example, Notes sync, WiFi, overall speed, (Snow Leopard was still faster for me overall.), etc. And get back to the intersection of liberal arts and science because at presence designis trumping function and therefore, common sense. Big Apple fan here, just saying…

  3. I’m an Illustrator user. I’m again at the point of needing to purchase a new machine that will effectively run the program. I use an iPad for my computing needs 90% of the time,.. but am forced to lug around a $2,000+ laptop just to run Illustrator & Photoshop. How I would LOVE an iPad with the ability to “dock” to my keyboard, mouse and large monitor that would competently run those programs. It would simplify things so much for me. Much like my iPhone replaced multiple devices (phone, watch, gps, iPod, etc.)

  4. I think many of my “back to the computer” moments would be solved by a good wysiwyg html editor and the ability to work with .rtf files.

    OH yeah, and two windows next to each other in pages would also be handy.

    BUT… now that I’m thinking about it … the big killer for me is TEXT SELECTION IN THE BROWSER. In my business I often work with web apps, and many times ios either will not select the text I want, OR won’t give me the option to copy, OR takes a zillion tries to work.

    Anybody else find these annoyances send them back to their “trucks”?

    1. I haven’t even jumped for an iPad yet. My creative work is in music, and only Notion has made me even consider an iPad thus far. My iPhone is an iPod and a phone – otherwise, I live in my “truck”.

      This “Pro” iPad idea is intriguing, but I’m still not sure I’ll ever go there.

  5. The frustration with the iPad comes when you need to do some detailed thing that your fingers are too fat for; selecting and copying text, grabbing end points of a curve in a drawing, etc. These tasks require a near-pixel precision pointing device.

    The tiny screen of the iPad is also a hinderance – windowing or not. It’s just not big enough when working on certain tasks; technical drawing, coding, etc. With both of those I tend to use full screen mode on my iMac.

    Even with a better pointing device the iPad just wasn’t designed for that type of work and putting a full OS on it isn’t going to help AT ALL. You need the right tool for the job.

  6. I am frustrated when I want to make a cake using the iPad. I can pull up the recipe on it but when I try to put the ingredients in it, they just run off the side and it takes forever for the iPad to bake it. I have to put it in an actual oven and when I take it out, the iPad is ruined.

  7. I see iOS at a crossroads.

    These are things that have kept it from becoming a more complex operating system: Processor power and battery life.

    As both have gotten better over the past half decade, we should begin to demand more from our devices. I have always trusted Apple to make those decisions for me. With Android, I think they pushed some of the limits with things like “true multitasking” and 4g radios to the detriment of battery life or smoothness in the OS.

    I wouldn’t have wanted that tradeoff in the past.

    Now that we have the A6 and better coming up and batteries are improving or able to take up more space within the shell due to miniaturization of everything else, the time is coming.

    Apple is smart. They’ve always designed for these little truths and brought in features when CPU/GPU and battery life allowed. Time is coming to see what’s next . . .

    1. Yes as Steve Jobs said the best stuff from Apple is yet to come. Now that Apple has removed the Scott Forstall iOS governor effect we should see rapid improvements. (I still can’t for the life of me understand what the hell Forstall thought he was doing with the Apple Maps debacle and kid himself how that would turn out. A colossally dumb self-defeating, Apple-hurting move.)

  8. Apple has a productivity-oriented “iPad Pro”. it’s called the MacBook Air. It is not encumbered by iOS or tablet limitations, and it can logistically do everything that a tablet can do.

    The downsides? You pay more, and you carry several ounces more. Users have to use the touchpad instead of fingerprinting up their screen. If you actually do work, none of these drawbacks would prevent one from choosing the Mac over any tablet running any other OS. Period.

    attempting to do serious productivity work on an iPad or any tablet remains absurd. Apple itself does not intend the iPad to be a fully capable computer — witness its own crippled applications. The iOS version of any desktop software is primarily oriented toward reading & consumption, with highly constrained editing options. Chaining iOS devices to the damn “iCloud” is a sure way to prevent efficient file sharing amongst multi-platform organizations too.

    1. +1 A MacBook Air/Pro laptop or an iMac/MacPro desktop is a fully functioning truck. An iPad is a sports car. Both nice to have, but hardly interchangeable.

      (Would that make a Windows PC a rusting truck that spews smoke and noxious odors?)

  9. You guys are comical in the belief that cult of personality figures like Scott Forstall have any real impact on these issues?

    The roadmap for the growth of the OS has been plotted for several years. Apple knows where it’s going as a company. Features are vetted well before you hear a rumor disguised as

    iPad Pro. It’s here. IOS has some limitations for me as an information worker, but they’re not difficult to overcome. Multitasking is far down the list on things I want. A file manager would be a nice addition for the times when you want to move data between apps. but, I think that’s what computers are for.

  10. I strongly suspect there needs to be a Pro version of iOS; iPOS would sound nice but invite revulsion, so maybe iPros or similar.

    People who have worked on Macs for decades for business use half a dozen apps at once and become masters of the Finder (database) of files they construct to manage their life.

    Dropping into the iPros should allow addtional functions so that structure and operations can proceed more freely. That might entail addition a dedicated type of Touch Macro which lets you easily manage multi-document operations and file storage or linking.

    I just think the logic from the past 40 years is that iPros will happen, so let’s get on with it.

  11. Sigh … People have been given a new slate to imagine with and what do they do? They take the past and plaster it all over the new slate and then complain that the new slate isn’t doing it the way the old slate did.

    Steve gave you a clean slate stop living in the past.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.