On making the iPad even more productive

“Over the past six years, hundreds of thousands of apps optimized for the iPad’s display have been released,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “This puts the device way ahead of Google, where apps rarely take advantage of the larger screen real estate beyond scaling the contents.”

“To many, a tablet is a media consumption device,” Steinberg writes. “Supposedly the iPad is also a productivity device. People use it on the road, managing email, word processing, some audio and video editing and other chores. You can even use a Bluetooth keyboard. The two iPad Pro models use a Smart Connector with a special Smart Keyboard… Regardless, being productive with an iPad is awkward… The mix of a physical keyboard, if you use one, and a touchscreen is especially uncomfortable, which makes you wonder why Microsoft and Intel are so enamored of convertible PCs.”

“I feel confident Apple can continue to expand the iPad’s capabilities and still offer high security,” Steinberg writes. “Maybe the WWDC will provide news of additional tools to help it realize its potential.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in December:

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… 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, 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. They are 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.

Apple’s iPad Pro will be the only Mac you ever need – May 31, 2016
Former Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky on his full-time use of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro – May 6, 2016
Apple and SAP join forces to develop iPhone, iPad apps for businesses – May 5, 2016
Apple’s amazing iPad Pro, your new enterprise PC – April 25, 2016


  1. Here’s a simple thing to make it more productive – allow more than 1 Pages / Numbers / Keynote document to be open side-by-side. How is this not possible, even on the iPad Pro?

    1. shall I keep going? Why the heck can you not set your own font size in pages (can only be 8, 10, 12, etc.)? For some reason whenever you start typing in a Pages document it automatically capitalises the first letter (even if you’re starting in the middle of an existing sentence).

    2. You know, I’m forced to agree with you. That or someone needs to re-learn what focus meant to SJ. What’s utterly astounding to me is that the Apple Pencil can be so bloody amazing, and yet the iPad Pro is hobbled by stupid things such as those you’ve listed. It’s simply not a Pro device (and don’t get me started on the absolute crap smart keyboard). Everything just seems to be missing the final fit and finish that we’ve come to expect. Not sure if that’s laziness from the top, or just the lack of an eye for these details (or perhaps upper management doesn’t use their own devices?).

    3. @ Cook’s laziness & all the other troll responders,
      Why the flying carp are you still using iPads if you aren’t happy with ANY of your iPads???
      No one is forcing you to stay with iPads!
      Why does every single iPad user that whines and complains about no mouse/trackpad support want these devices?
      BTW, as of iOS 9, you have a giant trackpad that the keyboard turns into. So, that takes care of yer mouse/trackpad complaints!
      Try the trackpad function before you post your whinings & rantings!
      iPads are touch interface devices AND NOT a laptop computer!
      Why does everyone want to turn a less expensive mobile device, like an iPad, into a kludgy laptop wannabe?
      If you need a full computer OS with a completely exposed OS that uses a mouse/trackpad, then buy the right tool for the right job and purchase a more expensive laptop computer or a Windows SurfacevPro!
      OR why does no one consider Apple’s MacBook Air or the brand spankin’ new MacBook models that have eveything you need!
      Like light weight, screen sizes that are bigger than a standard screen iPad and as large as those of an larger iPad Pro!
      If you purchased an expensive 12.9 inch screen iPad Pro and you are not happy, you should have spent all of that money on a much more capable OS X large screen MacBook Air.

      As for me, Iove my large screen iPad Pro, despite a very few of its shortcomings!
      The trackpad feature works great and just so ya’ know, since my first iPad in 2010, I have trained myself to really learn how to efficiently use the iOS software keyboard and because of my dedication to really using all of the bulit in tools on the iPad, I have gotten really good at typing on the iOS software keyboard.
      The trackpad feature now makes using the onboard iOS keyboard a much less painfull affair, now!
      I have never used a laptop computer (I am a desktop computer using guy),so I never developed all of the habits (“crutches”?) that one must have developed using a full blown laptop.
      I have learned how to use an iPad and iOS the way it needs to be used while being fully aware of it limitations and workarounds to do what I need my iPad to do.
      BTW, I am not a young guy, either.
      iPads and iOS work if you learn to use them the way they need to be used and NOT force these devices to become something they aren’t designed to be

    1. 7 years from now- Mark My Words

      iPads and other tablets will be the primary computers of:

      Students, business people, writers, SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS, creatives including video editors, photographers, and so on. In fact most of those people may only have an iPhone!

      If they aren’t powerful enough to do the work locally, (which I highly doubt), there will be all new innovative uses of software services and cloud based interfaces.

      It’s sunset for the Mac.

  2. I frequently open two numbers sheets at the same time. I also frequently open two Pages documents at the same time. The App is called PDF Expert! It opens Pages documents in the pages format in the right screen as I edit another Pages document in the left screen. It will also do the same for Numbers documents. I also have times when I need to edit a Pages document which looking at data in a numbers document. This is all doable and I do not need to make PDF’s to accomplish this feat. It is called knowing your OS and the apps that are available and being open to doing new things in new ways. The only time I need to get out the desktop is to write or re-write FileMaker Pro Databases that I maintain for my company. Otherwise it is my iPad Pro and iPhone… Period. Great time for computing and I started out on punchcards at Uni in the States.

    1. Perfect, so I have to look for a third party app for something that should be handled easily? This idea of having to search for 3rd party solutions for basic functions is something we used to mock Windows for. After all, Pages itself can do this in full screen mode on a Mac, why can’t they implement the same sort of solution for iPad. I’ve actually never touched a Windows box in my life, but having to work on a research grant on a transatlantic flight using solely an iPad was by far the most frustrating experience I’ve had in a long time.

      1. I’ve also never used a Windows box either. I use Pages and Numbers almost exclusively unless I use Libre Office for that “Once-in-a-while” I have to manipulate an Excel or Word Doc. There are a number of things that still haven’t caught up and to some extent I agree with you, but I make my tools my own. If you don’t like the iPad Pro, no one is forcing you. I happen to love my iPad and it is my normal production tool for graphics, spreadsheets, word processing and web pages. I’ve got fewer and fewer Complaints every year. I still own an iPad 1, and an iPad 3(Not my favorite) and the 12″ pro. I remember the original macs and this iPad Pro is an amazing product when compared to that or even the Apple IIe’s I used a LONG time ago. With the Apple Pencil, I can now do thing with PDF’s and other programs that I could never do with a desktop or Laptop. I can never be as productive on a desktop as my iPad, but perhaps that’s just me.

  3. I agree with both sides on this. If you try to replicate your OS X experience on the iPad Pro you will be disappointed. But if you try to see what is possible then you might be surprised at how far you can go with these.

    On the other hand I agree that there are a lot of things that could be improved to make the experience much better.

    Let’s see what gets announced at WWDC.

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