I almost lasted the week using only my iPad, but one thing held me back

“When my trusty 12-inch MacBook went in for repair last Saturday, I decided to try a week using just an iPad Air as my main computer,” Martin Bryant writes for TNW. “I write for a living. Okay there’s more to it that that – there’s email, talking to colleagues via Slack, editing images, traveling to events, and more, but the iPad should be good for all of that, right?”

“Since the last time I tried an iPad as my main computer, back in 2010 when Apple had just launched the first model, working from an iOS tablet has become a lot more pleasant,” Bryant writes. “Our WordPress-based CMS works like a charm in a browser, apps are available for pretty much any work-related task, and navigating between them all is flawless thanks to the way iOS now allows one app to directly open another.”

Bryant writes, “I had to get used to saving the draft of an article in WordPress every time I switched browser tabs or apps, so that I wouldn’t return to find the tab had reloaded an old, cached version of what I’d written, meaning I’d lost a few minutes’ work.”

MacDailyNews Take: This is due to iPad’s dearth of RAM, about which we’ve complained for every iPad model prior to iPad Pro. Losing data because you’re switching apps or even Safari tabs in unacceptable and negates the usefulness of iOS multitasking abilities. Again, with iPad Pro, this does not happen as there’s plenty of RAM to do the jobs we throw at it. We hope iPad Air 3 arrives with enough RAM to allow people to do real work.

“It was only when I came to think about preparing this week’s TNW Weekly newsletter that I went running back to the arms of my backup laptop,” Bryant writes. “The problem? No iPad image editor I found let me set a specific, custom cropping aspect ratio and a compression percentage.”

“The newsletter requires me to crop and resize images to specific aspect ratios, and then save them as Jpegs, compressed to a specific percentage. For example, one needs to be a 1280×520 pixel image, compressed to 70 percent, while another is 376×164 pixels, compressed to 80 percent. There are typically 13 images in the newsletter, three of which require me to edit a .psd template,” Bryant writes. “The problem? No iPad image editor I found let me set a specific, custom cropping aspect ratio and a compression percentage. Apple’s own Photos app lets you do a free crop, but you can’t see the size in pixels as you prepare it. Snapseed, Pixelmator, Photoshop Express… I tried them all and more.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bryant doesn’t seem to have tried them all. The app Crop-Size (US$2.99) may exactly be what he’s looking for.


  1. I get this. What Bryant is complaining about it not a problem with the platform per se, but rather design and implementation limitations of the apps available on the platform. These will hopefully get better, but as long as the norm is for very low prices on iOS software, we software developers need to dedicate our resources to designing for the masses, not for power users who are replacing a Mac or PC.

    The day that we can sell an app on iOS for the same price we sell it for on the desktop is the day that we can have the same depth of features, sophistication of workflows, and reliability.

  2. “the day that we can have the same depth of features, sophistication of workflows, and reliability”

    Don’t get it. Seems like a big “so what” to me.

    Working on an iPad Pro, with a large chunk of the screen taken up by the keyboard is not an option. Bad enough on my Air for a business trip of a few days.

    So I carry my Macbook Air.
    Or I carry an iPad with a keyboard – a more awkward option.

    And, of course, not having a hierarchical file system is a deal killer for me, anyway — with the 100,000+ Pages docs I have, never mind the lesser but substantial numbers of other types of files.

  3. To this very day, I *still* get customers who ask for a touchscreen on their Mac, and the ability to use their iPad with a mouse.

    It didn’t make sense to me until I read this article — people want Desktop apps on a tablet.

  4. My rMBP is my daily driver. I am currently “stuck” on an iPad 2. With iOS9, this is too much to handle, and it’s struggling.

    I am thinking, hoping we will start seeing the upgrade cycle, with rising numbers of sales. Unfortunately for Apple, they sold the iPad 2 for way longer than they should. They may have to support it for iOS10, and with that, it might be impossible.

  5. Editing long-form text on a touchscreen is downright painful. There’s no other word for it. External keyboards don’t help at all because there’s still no cursor except a stubby finger that was obviously not designed for such a task. People who think iPads can replace computers for doing real work on a regular basis are just kidding themselves—and everybody else.

    1. Oh yeh, let’s move to the ultra-modern, best-in-class, soooo cool tablet by reverting to cursor keys and keyboard shortcuts. That makes so much sense, rather than use a Macbook or Air.

      1. It’s just a reply to the OP’s “external keyboards don’t help at all” comment. If the OP is using an external keyboard, then he should know to use the cursor keys rather than his finger.

  6. Having a separate app for sizing photographs is clunky to the extreme. iOS is great for the hundreds of millions of people who browse the web, write emails, listen to music and watch movies, consumers. OS X allows all of the above and is superior in virtually every other way without maddening workarounds. It may be possible to do almost everything on iOS, but why if it’s more time-consuming, to save 1-2 lbs of weight?

    1. I’d like to say that the new MacBook is a “gateway” device, opening the door to future technologies that Apple will utilize in the future. We felt the same way about the MacBook Air years ago, but, here I am, selling dozens of MacBook Airs per month.

  7. The MDN take’s recommendation of Crop-Size may be helpful to some people, but it’s still not addressing the needs many of us have. There’s no extend canvas option. When publishing in a system like WordPress, there’s often a need to have a fixed image size of something like 640×480. You may find that you’re given an image that is 480×640. Crop-Size can crop the image to be 480×480, which would fit in a 640×480 space, but what’s needed is an image that is that 480×480 image that has 160 pixels of canvas added to be 640×480.

    Photoshop does this on the Mac/PC and it’s the reason many of us use it… even very old versions of Photoshop.

    Then there are other issues such as being able to meta-tag media files. You can create media (audio, video, PDF, images), but the ability to meta-tag these formats is limited or non-existent.

    And of course if you want to script any part of your workflow the options are far more limited in iOS than OS X.

    This is why I always cringe when I hear about people talking about whether an iPad can be used full time as a MacBook replacement. Of course it can if you’re just doing email and Safari (and other such tasks). Of course it can’t if you need to do things that it can’t do. Of course it could, but you’ll struggle if it’s ill-suited for the task.

    For me the iPad Pro doesn’t come anywhere close to replacing my MacBooks full time. However, it does do somethings far better (like photo editing with the Pencil), and can be used part-time for what I would otherwise have used a Mac for.

    1. Some people are missing the point here: the issue of resizing an image is a moot point. Any program or publishing site that insists on forcing arbitrary restrictions on image size and density is a throwback to the past. Publishing software can easily automatically make the images look right if it has enough resolution to work with to begin with. If you are working with poorly written software for publishing like WordPress then don’t blame your iPad.

      1. The combination of your name and comment is funny.

        Here’s the reality, it’s not about WordPress, it’s about numerous systems put in place by large corporations that have made stringent specifications that publishers need to adhere to. Saying, “I’ve got an iPad, and you the big company, need to adapt to my needs” isn’t going to cut it.

        In many cases, those systems aren’t even ones owned by or run by the company doing the publishing.

        Secondly, it’s not these systems that need to change anyway. It would be straight forward enough to arbitrarily crop, squeeze, shrink and stretch any image to be a certain size. Of course, that image will likely look like crap as compared to someone with the tools to manually adjust the image in the best way possible.

        You also entirely skipped the point of being able to edit meta-data.

        You can blame the back-end if you want to, but then you’re still blaming Apple. They make the iPad, and they also make one of the systems we need to submit content to that doesn’t allow meta tagging on the back-end, nor does it allow back-end image manipulation to meet Apple’s own specs.

  8. The only thing that can replace a MacBook or MB Pro is a newer or better MacBook or MB Pro. Why do people think they need to replace it with an iPad. An iPad does what an iPad does and MacBook/Pro does what a MacBook/Pro does.
    As I write this on my iPhone 6, does this mean I’ve just replaced my iPad and MacBook Pro? Each have their conveniences of use. I have no idea why one has to replace the other. Just let them compliment each other.

  9. So . . . If you are too dumb to know that there are Bluetooth keyboards for iPads and that there are scores of apps that do what you say an iPad can’t do, then blame the iPad because you were born stupid!

    1. Who cares, why would I want to when I can have a better version of any app on the Mac. A Macbook for mobile does it all.

      I still have an iPad, but i rarely use it. Mostly at home to do program searches on Dish network because Dish’s on screen search is something out of the 1990’s, where their app on the iPad uses an internet type search format.

      Other than that, I don’t see the point of an iPad, except for drawing functions on the iPad Pro, I think that is the point of building it.

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