We’re days away from iPadOS 16.1’s debut for iPads, along with the announcement of new iPads, but it still looks as if the entire product line is in decline.
Without looking like a character in a TV series, a broken watch is appropriate twice a day, and it’s as if the iPad streak is now faltering, confused as to what it is, who it is, and what it wants to be.
I’ve already explained how Stage Manager should be delayed until at least iPadOS 17, and that hasn’t changed. But with the introduction of the redesigned entry-level iPad, the more powerful M2 iPad Pro, and new but confusing accessories and adapters for certain iPads, I’m now wondering — what’s the point of the product line, and who’s really in 2022?
Back to the beginning
I’ve always loved the idea of an iPad. It’s a blank canvas where you can create or consume just about anything you want. In the past, you could choose between an iPad and an iPad mini – nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve used a lot over the years, like helping me through a year in university for example, but there was always a cliff edge where I could reach the limit of what the program could do.
Granted small improvements like support for external storage in iPadOS 13 or even widgets in iPadOS 15 helped push the cliff edge away, but Stage Manager and its confusing array of devices make me imagine I’d be hanging on the cliff edge now if I were still just using the iPad, Similar to Doc Brown hanging from the clock tower in Back to the Future.
Resize the Apple Camera app in Stage Manager. When you make it smaller, the camera view is inverted. iPadOS 16.1 RC. pic.twitter.com/bcRZq1sA5NOctober 20 2022
In fact, there are also iPad enthusiasts who have had enough, like the tweet above showing their frustration with Stage Manager once again, to the max that they are now recommending the Surface tablet. (Opens in a new tab).
However, imagine you’re waiting for Amazon’s Black Friday event for your iPad, where do you start choosing from the product line?
You have one iPad with a camera designed for landscape orientation which also has great color. The iPad mini now has a much higher price tag but is a year old, hardly taking advantage of iPadOS 16. Finally, you get access to the iPad Pro line, and you have the power of the M2 chip with hardware designed specifically for photographers, but its highest is the 2TB model for $2,399 / £2,199 / AU$2,499.
And that’s not to mention the differences in the accessories, the latest iPad keyboard case is much better than what the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro offers. You can now fold it up like a smart case, and there finally Line up function keys so you can quickly access volume and keyboard lighting controls, but that’s nowhere to be found for the iPad Pro.
So you now have an accessory for a lower-priced iPad model that is much better than the one that can only be used for iPad Air and iPad Pro models.
If this all sounds confusing, it is because it is.
Let’s start again
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, legend has it that he went straight to the whiteboard and drew a square, plotting four categories to help simplify the entire Apple product line, as it was so ubiquitous in the mid-1990s.
The iPad can fit each of those squares, and then some, to the point where the shape turns into an octagon.
Let’s start over – imagine going to the “iPad” in the Apple Store, and instead of being brought to a bunch of different models, you are given a three-question test.
- What do you want to use your iPad for?
- Do you prefer touch or keys?
- What is your preferred display size?
This goes back to the three-click rule that Steve Jobs set when he set out a task for the iPod development team. Anyone interested in buying an iPad will know exactly what they are getting, and the best thing is that every size from 7.9 inches to 12.9 will have the same specifications as the boxed hardware.
This way, everyone wins. Everyone’s iPad should appeal to everyone, so offering the benefits of what the ProMotion display does for the iPad mini, for example, should be the norm. The only difference a user needs to look at is how much storage they think they’ll need and whether they need a cellular option.
This will also be true for peripherals — the keyboard for both the regular-size iPad and iPad Pro can feature foldable options and a functional description, and it’s just one accessory that can fit most sizes of iPad if you decide to upgrade in the next 18 months.
When it comes to software, it’s a different ball game. Some want a version of macOS, while others want more improvements to iPadOS.
I say, let’s combine the two. Even with iPadOS supposed to be separate from the iPhone software, it still look Like iOS, which is why some users were puzzled as to why Lock Screen widgets came to iOS 16, but not iPadOS 16.1.
This message is still confusing to some users, and Stage Manager has the potential to confuse users even more. Instead, I suggest that iPadOS has been redesigned, starting with version 1, and some features are available to use once the tablet is connected to the keyboard.
The tablet was arguably performing at its best when it debuted, and for me, the downward spiral began with iOS 7, when Apple was clearly in a hurry to finish iOS 7 on the iPhone, with a variable iPad to an incomplete version when it first came out in 2013.
The iPad can work, it just needs to focus
Again, I love the iPad – always. But we’re at a point where it’s so confusing that choosing a model is a challenge now, along with peripherals that only work with certain models.
Let’s see a reset, something that lets you know it is completely separate from the iPhone, in both hardware and software.
Only then, for me anyway, is the iPad able to fly and be its own thing, rather than living in the shadow of Apple’s other successful products.
#iPad #software #hardware #mess #basics