I can’t put Apple’s new iPad Pro down, but we really need ‘padOS’

“The early reviews made much of the iPad Pro still not really being a computer,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “Apple totally brought that on itself by so vocally declaring that it is one.”

“Now, I get where Apple is coming from here. For your average non-tech person, a computer is a device where they do simple things – like web-browsing, email and video viewing – and they do one thing at a time. For those people, the iPad plus Smart Keyboard absolutely is a computer. And, actually, a really good one: beautifully easy to use, delightfully portable, totally reliable, genuine all-day battery-life,” Lovejoy writes. “I often recommend an iPad rather than a Mac to non-techy friends, and I will do so even more often now.”

“I think Apple is absolutely right to argue against converged devices. A Mac is one thing, an iPad another – even if Apple does now insist that they are both computers,” Lovejoy writes. “But while the iPad Pro isn’t trying to be a Mac, it is a grown-up device and it needs a grown-up operating system. Not macOS, but rather a tailored version of iOS, designed to take advantage of the additional capabilities of the iPad. What some people have termed padOS.”

The new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio offer take-anywhere power and versatility.
The new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio offer take-anywhere power and versatility.

Here’s what I’d consider the minimum acceptable spec for padOS – if you gave me these things, I’d be pretty happy:

• A Home screen with a fully-flexible layout
• Properly windowed apps
• Support for a trackpad
• Developers taking padOS apps as seriously as desktop apps

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, we called it “iOS Pro” three years ago, but it’s the same general idea:

Imagine an “iOS Pro” mode.

Turn on iOS Pro on your iPad Pro
1. Tap Settings > General, and make sure iOS Pro is turned on.
2. There is no step two.

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

Shouldn’t such a thing already exist? Where would iPad sales be if it did?MacDailyNews, December 29, 2015

The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

The Verge reviews the new iPad Pro: Apple’s approach to iOS is holding back powerful hardware in serious ways – November 5, 2018


  1. What a confused idiot the writer is. A trackpad? Dude, iOS is for multitouch. The entire operating system and the Apps are designed for multi-touch. It’s not a point and click interface. And the device itself does not lend itself to point and click input either. It’s a tablet computer that you hold in your hands. It’s a terrible laptop even with this stupid keyboard folio (I’m typing on it now on my new 12.9” iPad Pro).

    I like the device, but it’s really only good for movies, reading, surfing the Web, taking notes, and editing photos and videos. Trying to do anything else on an iPad, even this new one, is a pain in the butt and always will be.

      1. Here are applications I use that are either non-existent on the iPad or do not work near as well on the iPad:

        Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Photoshop, UxPin, Mail, Illustrator, Pixelmater, iMovie, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Stock trading App…

        From lack of font support to lack of precise input, alongside crap multi-tasking. No sane person would use the iPad Pro over a Mac for a lot of the Apps mentioned and more. Notes is good on the iPad but that’s about it.

        The iPad… and iOS… are productivity killers: you can take your tiny screen and lack of multiple monitor support and pound sand.

        1. So the software is lagging.. I use Illustrator as well and don’t see that being on an iPad but the others just need software and we all would be fine with an iPad.

        2. I agree much of that stuff should work as well and potentially even better on an iPad if OS and software were fully developed to do so.

          Infact I would say that much of the criticism as outlined would actually mirror what the author is saying, so calling him an idiot is completely unwarranted. Fact is we all have our own views of what is needed or could be improved but most of it can be achieved over time with focus and effort and a more dedicated iOS would probably be freer to achieve that. Precise input is perhaps my biggest concern though the pen is likely the main answer to most of that criticism as it develops further and an ability on our part to adjust our long inbuilt habits.

          For me as I have often stated the potential for Photoshop or indeed any pixel based software is massive, at first in direct collaboration with a Mac where precision and free manipulation could be combined in one connected experience using the best qualities of both on a single file. But certainly, eventually I can see Such software being increasingly a superior experience on the iPad than a Mac for very many areas of creative work now that the power is there. Apple needs to add/expand the support to make this fully realisable and there lies the big ‘if’ and ‘when’ with somebody as unimaginative as Cook at the helm.

        3. I disagree with you quite strongly. I’ve been using the iPad Pro 12.9” from the first one, through the second and now with the third. I’ve seem them become much more powerful each time. But, this time it’s a really big boost.

          We heard that iOS 12 would give us a new iPad UI. It didn’t happen because Apple decided to fix a lot of bugs, work on security, and go through the code to make the OS more efficient, particularly for older devices.

          So we didn’t get much of anything new for the iPad this year, like we did the last. But it’s expected that iOS 13 will see major changes.

          We do need, and I’ve been saying it elsewhere, a better Desktop than the phone version we have. We need better windowing. We need a trackpad. We need USB C to fully support the standard, particularly mass storage. We need better access to the file system.

          We do now have the ability to use full size monitors, and developers will be able to use it as a second display, with just a few lines of code, the way we use second displays on our macs now. So that not a problem. We can use any keyboard we want to now as well.

          Is that too much for you? You won’t have to use it. But for many of us, it’s holding us back to not have this.

          You obviously know very little about the iPad Pro, and your comments are childish.

        4. Sounds like your work actually needs a desktop computer – clearly you don’t know squat – why would you want to hook many monitors up to an iPad? that makes no sense.. I really think Apple should be making it’s own chips for the desktop/laptop computers so we can have the speed like the iPad. I am no disagreeing with your points as there are some professions/applications that just will not lend themselves to an iPad. It is getting close and as above there is no reason that spreadsheets/ word processors and the like can’t be made equal to the desktop versions and that was all I was stating in my “software needs to get better” line. I do pass files along between iPad and Desktop via several cloud services and it works fine but better access to the file system is needed – I agree.

        5. I am responding to the neverending discourse that an iPad is a laptop/desktop replacement. That it should somehow take on the traits of these latter computers. That the number of articles written about this and the number of people who keep arguing for this is idiotic.

          -The iPad is not a laptop or a desktop. It’s a screen that you hold in your hands.
          -It’s a terrible laptop and even worse desktop (tiny screen in comparison, lack of precision input, not lappable, no robust multi-tasking operating system, etc.).
          -The iPad IS a giant iPhone. The software is effectively exactly the same.

          The iPad is nothing more than a tablet computer running a smartphone operating system. People glue on keyboards and stands and other unsightly things but no matter what, it just isn’t a laptop or desktop computer.

          People are need real productivity have powerful desktops/laptops and multiple screens with precision input. By the time you’ve lifted your gorilla arm to use your meaty finger to try and touch something on the screen, I will have already made three clicks and will be 2-3 steps ahead and counting…

          I’ve studied these devices. I founded a company based on the iPad when they first came out. I’ve written papers and done presentations on the history of tablet computers. They are extremely limited and there’s nothing wrong with that: they’re a focused device and we need to get on with life: the iPad is not a laptop or desktop replacement.

    1. Speak for yourself. There are obvious use cases for a trackpad to make certain applications and operations more efficient and productive. Forget the multi-touch part, iOS is a touch interface.
      Touch = click. It doesn’t need to be a fully featured mouse with right-click context menus.

    2. Wow, what a confused idiot DSWE is! What a Damn Stupid Waste of Energy! All of DWSE’s comments are sound and fury signifying nothing.

      You sir are a moron whose ignorance is shoved so far up your butt that we now know why it is hurting you so much.

    3. Put MacOS on it and be done with it, don’t need yet another version of an operating system that Apple can’t keep up with for god sake they can’t keep up with the operating systems they have now

  2. This is still another person, like every reviewer except a few, who is trying to make the iPad work like their desktop computer. That’s a square peg into a round hole and no matter how hard they hit it, it won’t work, just embrace the differences and if it works? Then use it. I’ve been able to transition to iPad Pro for almost all of my work except heavy non linear editing & photoshop. But that is probably changing too, once photoshop comes to iPad. Then it’ll just be heavy editing and exporting from the desktop system. I love the simplicity of iOS, it gets completely out of the way and is immersive. Would I like a navigable file structure? Sure, because I’m used to it, but that’s the only reason. Files app works, and if they can figure out native external storagesupport? It’ll be perfectly fine. We don’t need a mouse, this isn’t a Mac, it’s multi touch and should be used that way. As men often points out: “ever seen a 12 year old use an iPad?” They don’t have these legacy quibbles, and we shouldn’t either.

    1. If an iOS device meets your needs, you do not need a computer.

      Using an iPad Pro for productivity is kind of like driving a tractor on the Interstate in the rain. Sure you can do it, but there are better ways to get there.

      Sent from my iPad Pro 12.9” w LTE

      1. Simply not true I use both and each has its advantages and disadvantages by comparison. The iPad still has an awful lot to learn, if and when it does however I may only need one of them, but at present I simply couldn’t do without the two. Now my iPad is old and the Pros clearly have upped their game and I am looking to upgrade to judge the iPads true present potential, but I know for now it won’t replace my iMac, though I certainly wouldn’t have it AND a laptop. A few years down the line if Apple plays ball it just might replace my desktop too but it’s certainly not yet an either or for me both have their place.

    2. I dont have trackpad issue…. they whole tablet is a trackpad in my book ….. mouse suport has merit but still i can do without..
      Its files and IO that realy handicaps this poweful new ipad pros.

      I for one (and a few others) have addressed this issue for years..
      I suggested the ‘IOS-Pro’ upgrade idea a good 4 years ago or so and even suggested they charge for it … those who wanted would pay and those who did not would not .. Simple! ( if anything it would be an additional revenue source for Apple…. )
      My IOS- Pro idea was mainly about the severely handicapped, convoluted file/ folder/ assette management on ios…….. which truly hold it back the ipad as a full blown power house for productivity.

      Then Apple as a response to our complaints introduces the Files app, cloud based file management app, which is a joke! Try and work/interact with files that are gigabits large from the cloud … its stupid and a ludicrous .

      Apple again is handicaping their products intentionally to force their stupid cloud initiatives at our productivity and conveniance cost..
      Its not a technological issue… its a money issue!

      Its unacceptable and sleazy and short sighted……And we pay such premium for Apple products only to be played with in this manner. … shameful .

      Taking this mastepiece of an ipad they just put out and cut its hand off. Its a crime.
      No core ios comprehensive assert management availible with consistant core ui accessible from all Apps.. ( not this chaotic convoluted app-centric file managment, each in its own universe)
      No convenient local/none cloud IO ..
      No headphone jack for no good reason.

      I have praised the new ipad pro to the moon…..
      But no headphone jack for absolutly no practical reason?
      No IO fir external drives , no file/folder/assett mangment…to force us into the stupid cloud!?
      Apple! large files, assett intensive projects dont work on cloud speeds ..aaaand they don’t work where there is no reception either .
      Do u get this ? ??

      I have been objecting about this for years and years now,,, to deaf ears of Apple.
      Maybe someday they will listen, once they have milked us costumers enough.

      1. Spot on. I have been trying to use Dropbox to organise and transfer files and pics to and From my Mac. It’s like untying your hands from the dictatorship of ICloud (as useful as that is for the mundane), or would be freeing if for example when I want to transfer all the ref pics that the iPad is so good at finding via web while otherwise NOT working, I could actually batch transfer but while I can select multiple as items soon as I do. the Dropbox icon disappears. Talk about a wind up. Does the same on my iPhone so not a legacy problem. And then in other cases Dropbox isn’t available at all to exploit and export items, there is just no universal narrative that you get on MacOS. This is rudimentary stuff yet shows when it works what is possible in terms of seamless flexibility (if only Apple offered it and/or without charging you for the privilege) but also painfully just how much of a frustrating lottery it can be in reality real using your workflow, simply because Apple wants to control ones workload and milk you for more of your hard earned cash. It’s not technical barriers that’s for sure, but business decisions that hold this platform back for the most part and it’s very short sighted because it’s stopped me for one upgrading for the last several years and may well make me yet again hold out for another year, the dangling the potential of the Pro (which I now want) before me but without fully realising the OS potential as yet that makes the outlay truly essential.

  3. How many people are asking for a trackpad, meaning a cursor like a Desktop OS for the iPad? Like anyone I talk to for very long about it, and most tech journalists…

    Others want a better File Directory as well, along with macOS-like multi-window, multi-tasking…,

    So what does that give us? It delivers a Mac w/touch display.

    However, a few markets, such as creative, benefit from no keyboard and just a slate to hold and draw upon on a table, etc… I’ve seen Costco uses iPads to walk the warehouse floors and look at their latest layout designs for different seasons and what are called “re-sets.” A laptop is NOT an ideal too for such uses.

  4. iOS has painted itself into a corner. To use it as a business professional you don’t have to be an iOS professional, you have to be an iOS Contortionist. I’ve had every iPad since the first and even though I can build myself a way to do anything I need to do, it’s a hassle compared to a real computer.

    Ironically I had a client who was looking at iPads for all their attorneys. They’ve been considering it for some time now. There are some who would figure the iPad out, eventually, and put it to good use, but most will be frustrated by it.

    So I would have to gather together a suite of applications and shift the company from a Mac-centric organization to an iPad/Cloud-centric organization, and it just makes no sense.

    Especially not with the ironically new released MacBook Air. I told them yesterday, ALL things considered, the MacBook Air is the way to go for mobile computing. You get far, far more for $1500 than you do for $1500 with an iPad/Pro, and if you roll remote support into that, it’s a done deal. The iPad, as Apple says, is not a computer.

    But man I really want that new 12.9. I mean for me, it’s fine. But I will not inflict it upon those who don’t just love tech and just want to get work done.

    1. The iPad- including the “pro” is the unltimate Grandma & Grandpa computer. It is well suited to the things they are most likely to want one for.

      As to the MDN chestnut about seeing a 12 year old with an iPad, no. They are not using it for the same things an adult trying to get work done needs.

      As to the trackpad, when you bolt the keyboard on it needs a trackpad. The problem with the iPad is that the pricing for the keyboard and pencil are excessive on the Pro models. The resale on them is also not very good.

      1. Agreed Apple claims as does MDN that touch and cursor based input should be kept separate thus the separation between MacOS and iOS. This is simple and logical and gives clarity and distinction but I have thought it far too Puritanical especially I ally as things have developed. The moment that Apple became committed to the usefulness of the add-on keyboard this philosophy has become muddied yet sustained. I guess to acknowledge the logic of a trackpad was a step too far as it would make a mockery of that distinction that only a mouse could probably hit harder. However Apple has always argued touch screens on Macs was a stupid idea because you were having to illogically go between keyboard and screen and that argument does make sense. But once you accept the keyboard on the iPad without the very trackpad you deem essential when using a keyboard on a Mac, your logic/argument falls apart, but feeling that will bring ridecule you simply can’t accept it. Instead they underplay the importance of the keyboard while making lots of profit from selling it. Fact is until and unless a physical keyboard is totally redundant then a trackpad upon it is anything but. Apple just needs to come to terms with that simple fact and bite the bullet and see sales rise as a result.

      2. It can even be confusing for Grandma and Grandpa. The Grand Kids who have computers will tell them to do things, and they won’t be able to and then the question becomes, “What kind of computer do you have?” The answer is iPad, and it becomes, “Who sold you that thing? That computer guy? I told you to get a PC!!!”

        Been through this a couple of times. And when I tell them if you have problems, just call, no charge, I want to help… the grandkids stop them.

        The tricky part is that you have to give an iPad to someone who can’t conceive of doing more.

        1. “The tricky part is that you have to give an iPad to someone who can’t conceive of doing more.”

          Exactly! Like the gamers, they only imagine that which is within the boundaries of the iPad. “Who would want to do anything that an iPad can’t do”

          Ummmm: LOTS of us, the ones who create the stuff that the i Pad generation consumes.

      3. “seeing a 12 year old with an iPad” I work in a specialized teachin capacity where I have daily experience across the board as far as curriculum is concerned.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love my students, but to say they are some kind of computer genius is just silly. They are masters of things that are entertainment oriented, but seem to go blank when a file has to be saved. Just because you are an expert gamer means that you are for the most part ONLY an expert in a particular game. I would say that group is the least likely ever to be a future example of the much beloved word : “coder” Any time you hit them with something outside their area of game expertise…………. Yes there are a few with potential but no more in number than the “slide rule geniuses” from when I went to school. They, also, very often had no talents outside boundaries of their slide rule.

  5. “Here’s what I’d consider the minimum acceptable spec for padOS – if you gave me these things, I’d be pretty happy:
    • A Home screen with a fully-flexible layout
    • Properly windowed apps
    • Support for a trackpad
    • Developers taking padOS apps as seriously as desktop apps”

    At that point, you may as well just port macOS over to the iPad Pro.

  6. Even though it looks clunky and probably you won’t be able to afford it, Samsung just firmly planted a swift kick to Apple in the crotch with a foldable tablet.

    Since Steve Job’s passing the innovation Apple disappeared and this a very good example of that.

    1. Oh come on Apple has similar products in it labs and will sell them as and when they are practical (+6 mths or do for Cooks dithering). Such a device is certainly not yet a practical and cost effective solution, as the one product to recently hit the market patently shows, it’s laughable. Samsung likes to boast its progress Apple prefers to stay secret and produce when ready and practical. Apple gets crucified for half assed style over substance products where Samsung and Microsoft get plaudits. I guess that’s because what would look like a decline in Apples traditional standards are seen as a show of unusual inspiration for those others their relative status considered. Mind you Apple is living a little hard on that reputation in recent times.

  7. My guess is that Apple will introduce a MicroLED keyboard with haptic feedback which with either a force press or two finger press which will functionally have a trackpad.

  8. It’s funny how hard Apple tries to keep iOS and MacOS separate, and yet they’ve embraced the keyboard, realizing it’s much more useful than a touch keyboard. You could easily add a desktop level of functionality with a mouse input, desktop, file management and external storage. The restrictions in the past were battery life, processor power, screen size, and thickness/weight. Those have been solved – no longer any reason to resist giving us the true hybrid. It’s basically a reverse MacBook Air with a thin keyboard and trackpad and a pull-off tablet. It’s inevitably coming, and hopefully Apple will have one because they’ll do it best. Sometimes I think they forget why they didn’t do what everyone wanted (because it can’t be done well enough – thin and expandable, thin and powerful, etc.) and forget to then pursue it again even when they finally get the ability to accomplish it.

    1. Yup as we know from patents front donkeys years ago, that the hybrid was very much an option being considered before it was produced by others. It was it seems rejected and despite as you say the reasoning for doing so has greatly decreased yet no one seems to see the distinct split as confused and even incongruous. With A series chips becoming as powerful as they are compared to the relative malaise of Intel Apple will have to (may already have done so) make its choice. Does iOS become more Mac like or does MacOS move to A series making their eventual amalgamation a certainty. In that case surely other than perhaps at the low end iPad, separating touch and cursor input would be rather weird, contrived and counter intuitive to all intents and purposes. They only really have themselves to blame tbh in perpetuating the ‘new way’ above all other tnoughts in a doctrinal manner.

  9. I wonder just how many companies dumped their desktop/laptops and replaced them with the iPad pro? My guess: a big, fat, ZERO.
    You know the old saying old saying about the pig with lipstick? Well that is so totally appropriate.

  10. iPad with Pencil does lots that are very hard to do with a laptop. So, good for iPad.

    If you are focused on single tasks then both iPads and MacBooks are fine. Examples: writing a presentation in Keynote, mostly text with photos. Text documents in Pages, with a few charts or photos. Simple calculations with Numbers. Editing one photo in Affinity Pro or others. Making a simple movie. Reading books, PDFs, web pages.

    macOS shines when you need to sort or archive lots of different files and folders, when you need to keep a number of pages documents open at once, when you need to run Applescripts to massage text, archive projects, process hundreds of text files, etc., when you need to run either text or images through several different programs.

    iPad is also limited in available fonts and in the kinds of images it will handle. I sometimes get warnings in Keynote that an image I’m adding can’t be viewed on the iPad. I’m usually too busy to track down the issue and just plunge ahead with the MacBook.

  11. “Here’s what I’d consider the minimum acceptable spec for padOS – if you gave me these things, I’d be pretty happy:”

    “• A Home screen with a fully-flexible layout”
    In other words, Windows desktop.

    “• Properly windowed apps”

    “• Support for a trackpad”

    “• Developers taking padOS apps as seriously as desktop apps”

    So in other words, a Surface or similar Windows convertible.

    It’s been around for years now folks.

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