Making Room For iPad

I’ve been doing some “research” on the iPad, as if I have more money to spend on Apple gear – I’m sure I saw some loose change in the couch cushions. The last time I really used an iPad, it was running on iOS 12. Now it’s on iPadOS 14, and what Apple’s done to evolve the iPad in its own direction is interesting – okay, and exciting.

Mobile Space

When the iPad debuted in 2010, Steve Jobs asked if there was room in the middle for a third device. Since then, Apple’s been trying to make more room. And once they forked iOS into iPadOS in 2019, the middle space grew bigger.

Not long ago, I said that the smartphone and the laptop squeezed the tablet out from the little in-between space it had started with. But now I see the iPad making itself more elbow room!

Before I get carried away and proclaim the tablet can now replace your laptop, hear me out: it just depends. I still think the tablet should be a tablet, doing what it’s best at: tablet-y things.

The iPad was not designed to be a laptop. Remember, Steve Jobs said Apple thought there was room for a third device; no need to replace the laptop.

iPad Grew Up

But something has happened since the iPad launched. iOS on iPhone grew more capable; it also grew more popular. Many people love iOS for its intuitive touch interface and simple design. They love it so much, in fact, that some people want the iPad to become more than a tablet; it’s a modern way to compute.

iOS combined with a huge touchscreen make iPad very attractive. These simple iPad traits make computing more accessible and approachable for many.

The tablet can do more, so the tablet can be more.

This is why tech-savvy nerds like me attach a button-laden physical keyboard to the king of tablets. It must also be why Apple now sells three different keyboards made specifically for iPad. It makes iPad a more capable computer – like a laptop.

What’s more, Apple has added iPad specific advancements over the past few years like desktop-class web browsing, mouse and track-pad support, and app sidebars for example. And these additions are not merely tacked-on after-thoughts. They are tailor-made to boost productivity while maintaining simplicity on iPad, a balance hard to find.

A Modern Computer

Apple’s mobile computing paradigm spans across three devices: iPhone, iPad, MacBook. Or by category: smartphone, tablet, laptop.

Here’s the big picture: the iPhone is a touch-only interface, the Macbook is an old-school mouse pointer only interface – but the iPad is a careful mix of the two.

Apple amalgamated tangible touch with a precision pointer.

The iPad is slowly carving out its own distinct way to compute, taking the best of the old and the new, the touch and the non-touch, finding new ways to work together as needed.

So the iPad can still be the excellent tablet that it is. Or it can be a laptop replacement. And for many, the iPad can be both.

Often times, when you mix two things, borrowing their bits and pieces, you get a compromised result. But sometimes, you do get the best of both worlds.

Bringing It Together

I think the iPad is becoming a great middle ground for modern computing. True, I still wouldn’t want to run AutoCAD on it. But for most everything else, I would prefer the svelte iPad.

As a blogger/writer/text wrangler, I gave up my iPad last year for a Chromebook. I needed a reliable physical keyboard to type words. And I needed precision cursor control via trackpad/mouse for text selection and manipulation.

That no longer seems to be a problem on iPad. Even the cheapest model at $329 now has the Smart Connector, so you can attach a no-fuss physical keyboard instantly. No pairing. No charging. Just magnet-snap and get to typing.

With my expectations tempered, I plan to once again make iPad my main computer. Not only is it more capable than ever, but thanks to the work Apple’s put into it and the direction they’ve taken things, I believe the future is even brighter for iPad.

The space in the middle is getting more roomy and comfy; I’m movin’ in.

What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Making Room For iPad

  1. Great writing as usual Jason. I’m finding myself going in the opposite direction as I recently gave in to the hype of the M1 chip and bought a new Macbook Air. Previously I was using my iPad Pro in the morning as part of my morning routine when I get up, read the news, do some journaling and prioritize my ToDo list for the day before heading downstairs to my desk. The MacBook Air has completely replaced the iPad and I’ve only turned my iPad Pro on to do some edits/highlights on a PDFwith the Apple Pencil and I used it last night actually to watch a show.

    I love the idea of the iPad as my daily driver, but I just don’t seem to get there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Patrick!
      I hear ya. I like iOS and want iPad to be 100% my PC. I expect it’ll be about 95%, whereas before it was about 90%.
      I too am tempted by new M1 MacBook Air. I know it’d be 100% able for me. But it’s the high price tag that stops me. Not that it isn’t worth $1,000, but I can more easily save up for my preference, iPad.
      I’m glad to hear you Air is working well for ya! Oh, I’m also considering a Mac mini at $700 – lowest cost for entry to M1 macOS!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article, Jason. Great point about the iPad bringing the best of mouse/keyboard & touch to a single device. I agree.

    I still use the iPad for almost everything and love where Apple is taking it. I still do app development work, so use a Mac for that (and love that too!), but everything else is iPad. It’s amazing to me how capable it has decode.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Rob.
      The biggest improvements I see in iPad since I last used it are text selection and desktop-class browsing. Those are enough to make me go back to it. Besides, iOS is fantastic. And I’m sure iPadOS 15 will gain the App Library and Widgets anywhere like iOS 14. I grateful too that the base iPad now has the Smart Connector for the Smart Keyboard. It may not be as “lappable” as as a laptop but I plan to keep my Chromebook for 5% of work. I think iPad can do the other 95%.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s