Apple should offer iPad users an iPadOS ‘pro mode’ – Gurman

Ahead of Apple’s developers conference, Bloomberg News‘ Mark Gurman suggests that Apple offer a “pro mode” in iPadOS for iPad users.

Apple's Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro
Apple’s Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

In 2010, when Apple launched the original iPad, the device lacked multitasking, folders for apps, background audio playback and a unified email inbox. Those omissions were quickly rectified, and the iPad of today has nearly every feature you’d expect from a computer, but it does reflect the device’s ongoing software conundrum.

The current iPad Pro hardware remains well ahead of its operating system, iPadOS. The device now has an M1 chip, the same processor that powers a 13-inch MacBook Pro or 24-inch iMac. It’s way more powerful than needed to run iPadOS…

As Federico Viticci of MacStories and I discussed on the new Power On Twitter Spaces podcast last week, the iPad Pro should have three modes:

• A standard, touch-first mode with the normal home screen that is part of iPadOS today.

• A new option that turns on when you connect an Apple Pencil, optimizing icons, controls and user interface elements for that accessory.

• And, most importantly, a new “pro” mode that kicks in when the iPad is connected to a keyboard and trackpad, such as Apple’s own Magic Keyboard, or an external display.

MacDailyNews Take: This is a great 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?

MacDailyNews, December 29, 2015

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  1. And the obvious solution… When a keyboard and trackpad/mouse are connected to iPad Pro (Bluetooth or direct connect), the iPad switches on-the-fly to the world’s best interface for computers with keyboard and mouse (or equivalent). The Mac interface. It’s still running iPadOS, but it looks and feels like a Mac, with familiar arrow cursor. If keyboard lacks F-keys, a narrow strip along bottom of iPad screen becomes a configurable “Touch Bar” (where arrow cursor cannot travel). User has option to remain in iPad mode (not switch to Mac mode), how it currently works with keyboard/trackball connected.

    1. Stop the cursor apartheid! If the cursor wants to travel to the Touch Bar, let it! Stop discriminating against cursors! Curse those in cursive that do!

  2. I’ve been suggesting the same thing for years.

    But let’s get the idea of the Mac UI out of the way, please. Just like Windows on the small Surface screens, the ‘Mac UI isn’t suitable. I can run my ‘Mac from my iPad Pro 12.9”. It’s not pleasant. Even with the stylus, too many things are just too small to tap. Microsoft gets around this by taking the high screen rez and lowering it to the point where you can tap, but that cuts the usable screen down to a quarter of what it would be for much software. We don’t the want that! Too many people aren’t thinking this through.

    What Gurman is asking for is a Pro windowing UI, and a better UI for the file system. It doesn’t have to look like our Macs. My Magic Keyboard works pretty well, though I’d like to see a few improvements. But I don’t want a full fledged Mac UI.

    1. The opposite is just as true. Some Mac screens are now too large for MacOS, originally conceived for much smaller screens, both physically and in terms of pixels. The first Mac had a 9-inch CRT (usable area closer to 8” diagonal) with 512 × 342 pixels. The new 27-inch 5K Studio Display is 5120 × 2880 pixels. For pixels, TEN original Mac screens fit exactly across “5K”! Usability becomes more awkward at larger size because things like menu bar (narrow strip across top) and dialog boxes (center of screen) become too small with fixed locations. It’s the reason why application controls have migrated to be more on the document window, closer to the work, less from the menu bar and on separate “palettes” along edges of screen. Dialog boxes for app now drop down in document window. On my MacBook Air, with 13.3-inch screen, MacOS has more natural UI usability because screen size is smaller. If your 12.9-inch iPad screen feels too cramped to show your Mac’s screen, that’s probably because your Mac’s screen is larger, set to higher resolution. As a test, try setting to something more appropriate for iPad’s size, like 1440 × 900 on the Mac’s screen. There’s no usability problem with current M1-based iPad displaying MacOS screen.

      If the iPad user attaches a physical keyboard AND trackpad, why should the iPad NOT change to an interface that’s optimized for keyboard and trackpad? It’s possible user does not use a Mac and is more comfortable with iPad’s multi-touch interface while also using keyboard and “ball” cursor for trackpad. That’s fine, because “Mac mode” should be optional.

  3. The iPad is going from simple to convoluted…driven by a subgroup of techno geeks and tech YouTubers with no concept of why the ipad was originally so successful…it’s simplicity. These were the same people that called the ipad a big iPhone, when we were using it (1st gen) to remote into our storage arrays and IBM tape library’s. It was a computing device from day one, but these guys couldn’t wrap their heads around that, and it did it with simplicity. Apple, don’t muck up a good thing, don’t let the tail wag the dog.

    1. What James the many and plenty forgets is that iPad will retain its simple interface. No-one is forced to use it, except in James’s imagination.

      Think bigger, think different, Buddy. Stop thinking you’re the only one who had a brain. Plenty of others do too 🙂

      1. You went out of your way create a name to mock me, LOL, I must have really hurt your feelings!? Look, if you actually comprehended what I said above you’ll realize my company really uses these things for a wide variety of technical use cases. The real limitations are at the app developer level, not the OS and not the hardware. Why don’t you post a solid use case for this undefined ‘pro mode’ your getting so pissy about?

  4. I would be happier if Apple stopped dumbing down the Mac, as it creeps more towards a locked down iOS experience.

    Once Jobs gleefully showed how beautiful fonts could work on computers. Now Apple doesn’t want you to select your own fonts. Every OS prioritizes user tracking above all else. iOS and iPads are thin clients and nothing more.

    1. New Oxford American Dictionary definition of a computer: An electronic device for storing and processing date, typically in a binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program… sounds like an iPad to me.

      New Oxford American Dictionary definition of a personal computer: A computer designed for use by one person as a time…hehehe, do I even need to say it?

      1. To an intelligent person, a personal object is one he owns and fully controls.

        Prior poster wa correct—iPads are thin clients allowing the user access only to the corral. Great for media consumption and clerking, horrible for file management, accessories like multiple displays, light office work, or intensive creative work. The ipad compromises so much to be ultra portable and locked into Apple’s iCloud that it would never be affordable to fix it to meet the needs of Mac users. Nobody wants an MS Surface with an Apple logo.

        What is the point of an expensive kludged iPad when you can buy a better computing experience with a Mac today.

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