It's about time the iPad got a little love.
Recently, I traveled to Europe for about a week, and though I packed plenty of technology, I decided to forego my 11-inch MacBook Air in favor of an iPad mini. Not that the MacBook Air is an especially bulky or heavy computer, but as a machine on which I primarily do work, I simply didn't see myself needing it while I was on vacation.
The day I arrived, an editor contacted me and asked me to do a quick story — so much for not working on my vacation. (The life of a freelancer means generally not turning down assignments when they come your way.) I ran through the project in my head and decided that, fortunately, it didn't require anything that I couldn't do on my iPad: namely, writing — made infinitely easier by the fact I'd packed my Bluetooth keyboard — taking screenshots from my Apple Watch, and bundling those screenshots and text into an archive to send to my editor.
But while my iPad could do all of these things, I was quickly reminded that my Mac can do them much more efficiently.
Working on the iPad
Back in 2012, I decided to experiment with working from the iPad. For three days, I used my iPad for all the tasks for which I'd normally turn to a Mac. And while I found I could do nearly everything, my conclusion was that the iPad wasn't quite ready to replace my Mac:
Is the iPad ready to be your only computer? It's not quite ready to be mine, but I doubt that'll be the case forever. I saw enough in these few days to realize that the iPad will soon be ready for whatever I throw its way. That will happen in part because the iPad will adapt and change. But so will we.
Here's the thing, though: While the iPad hardware has gotten more powerful, and we've seen better apps appear, my experience working with the iPad today didn't feel appreciably different from that experiment three years ago.
When the iPad was first announced, I wasn't shy about its prospects — I dubbed it a third revolution in computing. But in the years since, I can't help but feel that the tablet has languished. While iOS 7 and 8 brought the same interface refinements that came to the iPhone, in many cases the iPad felt like an afterthought. (Look at the Timer feature in the Clock app on the iPad and tell me it doesn't feel kind of unfinished.) The iPhone has clearly remained Apple's flagship device, not least of all because that's where it makes the bulk of its money.
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