Why iPad Pro is a great device and one of Apple’s greatest failures

Ed Zitron writes for TNW, “The iPad Pro is a peculiar device. People don’t seem to know what it’s for. Is it a sketch pad? Is it a laptop replacement? Is it a big tablet? Is it a very small table?

MacDailyNews Take: Not iPad Pro’s fault.

“Turns out it’s all of these things and more. It’s a beautiful device, with a gorgeous screen, one that I’d argue outdoes the new MacBook. It has a responsive stylus,” Zitron writes. “When it works, I love this device so much. The problem is that I keep tripping over a string of dopey decisions.”

“Apple has completely screwed up with the iPad Pro, and it’s all their fault and it makes no sense,” Zitron writes. “Let’s break down the issues.”

• Inventory: It’s been reported widely how badly Apple stocked the iPad Pro Pencil and keyboard. The ones I ordered on launch day have only just arrived. How Apple, a company that has billions of dollars and is run by some of the greatest minds in technology, could screw up on this level again (Apple Music, though I like it, is buggier than a steak left inside a humid cupboard) is beyond me.

Software: The useful thing that people actually want is split-view, which lets you have two apps on the screen at once. I can’t use split-view with Google Hangouts. I can’t use split-view with Apple Music, which is kind of funny. I can’t use it with Amazon. I can’t use it with the Google app (Chrome works). Multi-tasking is half-baked if it requires every developer to add whatever it is to whatever app.

Customer Experience: Standing, for some reason, inside a Reno-based Apple Store, I watched a salesperson give an impassioned pitch of the iPad Pro, specifically the coolness of having the built-in cellular connection. He spent ten minutes giving it. At the end of the pitch the customer wanted one. Guess what? It wasn’t in stock. These theatrics were ultimately useless – a waste of the agent’s time, but worse a cruel waste of the customer’s time, one that will embitter him toward Apple. Chirpily, waggling something someone can’t buy in front of their face – when you can easily have said at first, “so, just so we’re clear, we’re out of stock of these ones, and the Pencil and the keyboard” – is just a shitty move.

The App Store: The App Store is going to be the first place many users go. Here’s an idea: Have a honking great ad that says “new apps for your iPad Pro.” A big one. Make it the first thing they see. There was one, don’t get me wrong, but it was buried within separate categories or within the strings of slideable panels that are there I assume to trick you into downloading Clash of Clans.

[Apple] will be forgiven for these mistakes, hell, even by me, the moment they’re fixed,” Zitron writes. “But they are on a worrying trajectory that suggests they’ll keep making them, and one of these days it’s going to be bad enough that Google’s Pixel C might have a shot at hurting Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As many of you know, we’ve been complaining of Apple’s readiness at launch when it comes to hardware stock and software quality for quite some time now. Hopefully, Apple’s executive reorg, which was just announced yesterday, will go a long way toward fixing many of these amateurish mistakes (not having enough stock, giving sales pitches for products you don’t have due to not having enough stock, UI issues, App Store neglect, etc.).

Developers simply have to do certain things to make sure their apps will work in split screen. That’s not Apple’s fault. More Split View-capable apps will come online.

As for the iPad Pro. It is a work in progress, as always. Certain complaints (“I want a cursor,” for example) are the result of users who’ve been steeped in a different way of operating and interacting with computers. iPad in the hands of the young are a completely different thing. They’d never think to ask for their cursor back, since they never had one to begin with; they truly know how to operate a multi-touch UI. They’re not stuck in old ways of thinking. When older users like Ed Zitron hit a minor roadblock (that isn’t actually a roadblock – there’s a way to do it, they just don’t know it) they immediately start screaming for their old tools. “I need a trackpad!”

Well, Ed, you already have one (this works for all iPads with iOS 9 and later): Turn your keyboard into a trackpad. Touch and hold the keyboard with two fingers until it turns light gray. Drag around the keyboard to position the insertion point. Lift, then touch and hold with two fingers to reveal the drag points. Move your fingers to select text. Tap with two fingers to select a word. Double-tap with two fingers to select a sentence. Tap three times with two fingers to select a paragraph.

The iPad Pro is not meant for older generations. Unless they are willing to completely unlearn and let go of old tricks and learn new ones. That’s very tough to do for some. Those are the people who ask questions like “Is it a sketch pad? Is it a laptop replacement?” iPad Pro and iOS are really for the young and for future generations. It is the future. Until the next paradigm shift, perhaps decades away, Multi-touch will be how most people compute, not with physical keyboards, mice, cursors, exposed file systems, etc.

32 Comments

    1. Part of it is that people seem to think everything was perfect under Steve Jobs and that no launch ever had delays, or that software wasn’t brilliant. Yes, there are problems, but Apple have grown massively since Steve Jobs died, he never had to face scaling issues on this scale. Things were not 100% perfect when he was around. This is not an excuse, there are things that frustrate me no end about Apple today, but you have to compare them in context.

      1. I agree with you sort of

        but I have to point out although Apple has more users and products it also has VASTLY more resources (money to hire staff etc).

        Personally I think Cook is focused too much on outside social issues (good as those things might be) and not clamping down on his execs hard enough.

        A lot of problems were just clumsy and not due to incredible technical difficulty : a PR/marketing message could have smooth over the confused Apr 24 Apple Watch launch (the date had become moot when the ran out of supply before then) , a couple of guys could have made the Apple Music instructions the Guided Tours (which didn’t come out until the End of the launch when there were lots of complaints of the interface). Many of the problems seems lack of focus and supervision rather than scaling or resources.

        1. The problem has never been that “Tim Cook concentrates too much on social issues,” it’s that homophobes and conservatives disagree with his views. He is verbal about his beliefs, but not distracted by them. No one would criticize him for running around talking about technology.

          1. criticizing him for spending to much time on social issues doesn’t automatically make me or anyone else a homophobe or even a conservative. I’m just judging him as a CEO of a public listed company.

            so if he’s NOT spending so much time on social issues how do you explain those snafus I described (which is just the tip of iceberg) — the only other reasoning is incompetence in supervising his execs ?

            1. That’s as silly as the woman who said “no-one can tell me solar panels don’t cause cancer”…

              Unless you know how many hours Tim Cook puts in and what percentage of this is devoted to “social issues” (which I am sure you don’t) then you are just being homophobic.

            2. “then you are just being homophobic.’

              because I said Cook is spending too much time on social issues I’m homophobic even if the many of the issues T.C was in were Women at Work, Diversity etc… Eh?

              AND…

              years ago I remember I criticized the RIM CEO for spending too much time on Hockey — he was trying to buy a Hockey team — instead of the impeding threat of iPhone does that make me a …. HOCKEY-PHOBE?

              you guys are ridiculous.

              and I even said the issues he discussed were GOOD.. I QUOTE my post “social issues (good as those things might be)”

              seriously dudes? I want to be polite but you LOW BANDWIDTH guys make it sooooo F@cking hard….

              So one more time : if Cook is NOT spending so much time on social issues how do you explain those snafus I described (which is just the tip of iceberg) — the only other reasoning is incompetence in supervising his execs ?

        2. Scaling up this much this fast is not as easy as it looks. Many managers would expand quick and hire quick. This may solve short term problems but brings with them long term problems that don’t show up right away.

          Add to that, Apple’s staff that is spread out in haphazard temporary offices knowing that they have a big move (organizational headache) just ahead of them.

        3. It would be nice if things were perfect, but I think Apple does really well in spite of the problems. The iPad Pro has been a little slow out of the gate but with few real problems. There was the issue of lthe black screen after a full charge. This had a workaround and was mostly fixed in a software update. Compare that to the ongoing bugs with the Surface or the Dell computers shipping with pre installed malware.

          Considering that the iPP screen and Pencil are new technology which has to be produced in at the rate of millions per month I’m willing to cut Apple some slack.

          1. so Apple has tons of money yet they have a proliferation of easy to solve problems (like those I mentioned, which are tip of the iceberg) So Can it be lack of focus of management as I said… ?

      2. So very true virtually every single product and launch was panned for one reason of the other under SJ. Such short memories not that that is an excuse for these recent balls ups but yes there is so much more going on in the company than under the Master.

        By the way does that text insertion work with all iPads its one of the big bug bears with me I struggle all the time with trying to select the right bit of text and in some Aps its impossible I find. A back forward key would be such a boon when you miss your insertion point.

      3. Thanks for the reminder. The new Apple mouse is
        excellent but the wireless Mighty Mouse with the
        scroll ball? What a piece of garbage. Things were
        never 100% perfect. The Apple Pencil comes the
        closest. Love it on my iPad Pro with the new
        Logitech keyboard case.

      1. Derek, he’s right.
        I have no idea who could fill SJ’s shoes, but I do know that Cook is a visionless numbers guy.
        Tell me how a company with such massive talent and resources can make the same rookie mistakes over and over.

        1. I’m so glad you all have your opinions. Everyone should have opinions. I never, ever pretend to know everything about anything. So all of you keep YOUR ‘I know everything about anything’ opinions and stop forcing them on others. I never do mine! I just share them as well as bowl over the blatantly ignorant and trolling who spread hate and FUD. They’re not nice people.

    2. * No separate OS version for larger iPad – not needed, and so not a problem.
      * No Desktop App support whatsoever – not a desktop machine; what are you smokin’?
      * No external ports – not needed
      * Poor, ridiculous, expensive storage selections – yep. Just like the iPhones Steve designed.
      * No external storage support – yep. Just like the iPhones Steve designed.
      * No adapters to support external peripherals – Bluetooth? Lightning port? Hello?
      * No mouse support – really? Again, what are you smokin’?
      * No file system support – I agree here. Totally. That has bothered me on my iPhone (designed by Steve) forever. Time for something just a touch different here.
      * No trackpad support on keyboard – it IS a trackpad. All of it.
      * Expensive, poorly built, limited appeal accessories that were not available at launch and that are as yet available – some of that is your opinion, some is flat wrong, and I’ve not seen availability issues recently. Ordered from Target and received very quickly.
      * Almost no supporting apps even from Apple (existing apps are simply blown up from the 9.7 inch iPad) – those are developer issues, not iPad issues. Yes, even Apple as a developer needs to get on board.
      * Almost ZERO developer support (what’s the incentive, charging 2.99 for an iPad app?) – again, not an iPad issue.
      * Usual Tim Cook botched launch – Agreed. But only on the missing Pen, not the Pad itself.
      * Deplorable pricing, almost double the 9.7 inch iPad – almost double the screen real estate, processor, memory, battery, etc. You thought it would be the same price? Hahahaha!
      * Buggy software, resulting in premature battery drain and hard reboots – haven’t seen or heard this, but if you are, okay.

      We all realize that we shouldn’t feed the trolls, but I couldn’t help it on this one.

  1. I’m using my iPad pro every day. Nothing half baked about it. If the iPad Pro is half baked than do was the first iPhone that didn’t have an App Store or simple things like copy/paste and required desktop iTunes to update software.

  2. Reno.

    So he blames individual problems that only he will have, as a whole failure for an entire product line for all the people. How self centered is he? Each of the problems he stated could be said about any other product, which does not result in “failure”

    A sales person failed to check inventory upon arriving in the morning, and pushed a product he didn’t have on stock. Sure they could have or should have had all models on hand. But who knows maybe the last one was sold and they didn’t get another of that spec in, on time. Too many variables to know. And so I would set that one aside, at least as an anomaly.

    Pen and keyboard. These are separate products. They are adjunct to the iPad Pro are are main selling features. But their distribution failure is not the iPad Pro’s failure. We don’t know what happened, and certainly it would be nice to to know. But let’s keep things in perspective.

    Google Apps – What, you want someone to wipe your butt too?

    App Store – Apparently this is being take care of with the executive shakeup. We can only hope… But what you want is the best App Store to be even better. I can deal with that, but certainly it’s not driving people away. Where are you going to go?

    I think this is just quota writing… Make believe, so others think you are actually doing work.

  3. They’ve taken there eye off the ball. To busy playing politics and gone off on personal crusades. That’s all well and good in your personal life but it ain’t the way to sustain a growing business. Can’t blame anyone except the man at top for allowing this virus to infect the Apple culture. Simple as that…

    Steve did a lot of crazy stuff in his day but nothing like we seen over the last few years. I’m afraid his successor had to many other things in mind for Apple and sadly it shows.

    I guess nothing lasts forever…not even Apple.

  4. The first metal case powerbook was back ordered for 3 months. I remember a colleague buying it and having to wait that long. That was back in the day that Apple would sell less than 1M macs a quarter.
    Volume production always has its issues and Apple are shipping millions of a product per quarter. They are doing this for dozens of products now.
    M$ can’t even get the Surface to work even after 3 generations and their production volume is in the 100s of thousands at best.
    I think perspective is important here and sure Apple do mess up but compared to the rest of the industry they are by far the best.

  5. If Ed Zitron doesn’t know what to do with an iPad Pro, that’s okay. Customers who buy one have already figured out what they want to do with it.

    As for the rest, he is really stretching to come up with excuses to write this article.

  6. Baskin Robbins served me a chocolate ice cream that was a HUGE FAILURE. Here’s why…
    1. It didn’t have that fresh strawberry taste that I like. Everyone likes strawberry.
    2. It seemed to get soft and liquidy if unattended. I had to pay attention too much.
    3. I didn’t get enough napkins.
    4. I think $2.50 is a lot for a scoop of ice cream.

    This is how that article read to me.

  7. I would have bought one by now if I could get the keyboard with it at the same darned time. The pencil I could probably wait a week or so for, but more than that is a show stopper for me, at least for now. The iPad Pro, on its own, of course has a bigger and better screen, faster processor, better sound and a few other things. But not having at least the Smart keyboard at launch is an epic fail, and the Pencil isn’t too far behind.

  8. If someone has some serious typing to do that required using a keyboard attachment, the lack of a track pad becomes a big deal. Reaching out to touch the screen is very tedious with the keyboard attached. This has nothing to do with the age of the person using the device.

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