The Problem With the iPad Pro Isn’t Hardware

Apple announced a new iPad yesterday1. It’s a bump up from the iPad Air 2 and removes the name Air from the lineup. It’s a nice bump up and is a good iPad for people who don’t need the Pro features.

There is a thread on the Macrumors forum titled: New iPad an Accountants Vision of a Product(sic). It’s another tired argument with the usual implication that this wouldn’t have happened if Steve Jobs was still alive, along with Apple doesn’t innovate anymore. I replied:

The thing is, other than True Tone display on the 12.9, or fast charging on the 9.7, the Pros don’t need a hardware upgrade.(1)The issues many of us have with iPads are OS and software constrained. For example:

  • Poor support of storage devices via the USB/SD dongle
  • The Split View interface is a joke
  • iCloud Drive extension auto expands ALL folders on iCloud Drive
  • No drag and drop between split view
  • Apps don’t support the 12.9 (Facebook)

I’ve never once felt like my 12.9″ iPad is slow. I don’t really care if the iPad hardware is on a 2-3 year upgrade cycle since that’s usually when I buy them. iOS updates for iPad, however, need to be on a yearly basis.

The new iPad is a good device for people who don’t need smart connected devices or the pencil.

(1) I wouldn’t throw a USB-C port out of bed, though.

The last year an a half have been tough for us iPad Only folks. iOS 9 had a lot of promise for using iPads for productivity. Split view was nice, and the extensions and document pickers were great. The iPad Pro with the Pencil and Smart Keyboard were amazing. At the beginning of 2016 I truly felt that iOS and iPads were trending towards the ability to truly become primary devices. Then iOS 10 came along and didn’t fix obvious issues, like the Split View and Slide Over interface being impractical when you have a ton of apps that support the feature. No drag and drop. It introduced more challenges with the iCloud Drive extension auto-expanding every single folder and sub folder making it impossible to find the folder you might want to store a file. I’ve resorted to creating an @XFER and @Reading folder to dump items into. The @ prefix ensures that it’s at the top of the list.

So, it’s not concerning that Apple hasn’t announced new hardware for the Pro line. The lack of software is. WWDC 2017 will be a telling year for me and my iPad. If another major update fails to move the iPad forward for “real work” then I will know Apple isn’t serious about the iPad as a Computer, no matter what a catchy ad might say.

  1. I find it interesting the URL name is ipad-9.7. I wonder if a non-Pro 12.9″ is in the future.