The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10 – Daring Fireball

Ten years later, though, I don’t think the iPad has come close to living up to its potential. By the time the Mac turned 10, it had redefined multiple industries. In 1984 almost no graphic designers or illustrators were using computers for work. By 1994 almost all graphic designers and illustrators were using computers for work. The Mac was a revolution. The iPhone was a revolution. The iPad has been a spectacular success, and to tens of millions it is a beloved part of their daily lives, but it has, to date, fallen short of revolutionary.

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Software is where the iPad has gotten lost. iPadOS’s “multitasking” model is far more capable than the iPhone’s, yes, but somehow Apple has painted it into a corner in which it is far less consistent and coherent than the Mac’s, while also being far less capable. iPad multitasking: more complex, less powerful. That’s quite a combination.

Consider the basic task of putting two apps on screen at the same time, the basic definition of “multitasking” in the UI sense. To launch the first app, you tap its icon on the homescreen, just like on the iPhone, and just like on the iPad before split-screen multitasking. Tapping an icon to open an app is natural and intuitive. But to get a second app on the same screen, you cannot tap its icon. You must first slide up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Dock. Then you must tap and hold on an app icon in the Dock. Then you drag the app icon out of the Dock to launch it in a way that it will become the second app splitting the display. But isn’t dragging an icon out of the Dock the way that you remove apps from the Dock? Yes, it is — when you do it from the homescreen. So the way you launch an app in the Dock for split-screen mode is identical to the way you remove that app from the Dock. Oh, and apps that aren’t in the Dock can’t become the second app in split screen mode. What sense does that limitation make?

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How would anyone ever figure out how to split-screen multitask on the iPad if they didn’t already know how to do it?

Multitasking on the iPad is one of those things that 2% of people will use, because only, say, 10% bother to figure out how it works, and most of them will find it too unwieldy to use. (Yes, I’m estimating, for rhetorical reasons…) While I think it’s great that Apple has forked iOS to create an iPad specific version, it’s too complicated to use these features.

I don’t use my iPad a lot, but I know there are people who use it as their main computing device. While some of them leverage every possible feature of multitasking, shortcuts, etc., most probably just use a one-app-at-a-time approach. Why? Because it’s not confusing. When I have used multitasking, I’ve never felt that I accomplished any app-arranging actions by anything other than luck.

It’s not Apple’s fault that they couldn’t come up with a better system, it’s just the limitations of the device and its interface. If they want people to use these features, they need to figure out a way to make them easy to use, and, above all, easy to discover.

Source: Daring Fireball: The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 108: iPad vs. MacBook: is iPadOS a game changer?

With the release of iPadOS, the iPad has become a serious competitor to a laptop. While you can’t do everything on an iPad that you can on a laptop, the gulf between the two is getting slimmer. We talk with Ian Schray, a dedicated iPad user, about replacing a laptop with an iPad.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

The iPad is an ergonomic disaster for traditional computing work, and needs full pointer support right now – Revert to Saved

“From day one, the iPad to me never felt like a device purely for consumption. As half the tech industry fell over itself to claim you could ‘never do real work on an iPad’, I saw everyone from artists to technicians doing real work on an iPad. What people really meant was that the iPad didn’t have a full version of Microsoft Word, because that is the only ‘real work’ in the whole world. Or something.

That said, I’ve always wanted to do more work on an iPad than I actually do. The big blocker for me has always been interaction. Simply put, the iPad is an ergonomic disaster for long-term ‘traditional’ work.”

I’ve been thinking about this recently, especially because of the many problems in macOS Catalina. I’m suffering from tech fatigue lately: I’m tired of having to troubleshoot so many problems. My iMac, since I upgraded it to Catalina, is very unstable. I still can’t use CarPlay in my car because something in iOS 13 broke it (or because there’s corruption in my iCloud account; I’m waiting for Apple to get back to me). It seems that every day, there’s a problem with an app, with authorizations to access files on the Mac, with some hardware device not being compatible.

The iPad is the ultimate thin client, and it eliminates a lot of these headaches. I have friends who lament the iOSification of macOS, but I look forward to things working more smoothly. It’s not that iOS is perfect, but that its limits make it a lot easier to work with.

But as this article says, the iPad is not ergonomic. I’d been considering getting Apple’s smart keyboard folio for my 11″ iPad Pro, but at £179, it’s really overpriced, and the position of the device isn’t ideal. What I want in a keyboard for an iPad is the ability to place the device in portrait mode. This is possible with this Logitech keyboard, but a friend who has many keyboards says that the touch isn’t right. It’s not expensive, so I may try it anyway.

But Apple needs to consider the longer term use case of the iPad. Not everyone will be able to work with it handheld, and placing it flat on a desk is very bad ergonomics. I’m not sure what the solution is – it’s certainly not in making bigger iPads – but Apple would do well to try to solve this.

Source: The iPad is an ergonomic disaster for traditional computing work, and needs full pointer support right now | Revert to Saved: A blog about design, gaming and technology

Apple updates iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad; gives info on Apple Arcade and Apple TV+

“Spring ahead, fall new iPhone.” I think that’s what they say. Like clockwork now since 2014 and the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple this week announced the latest model of the iPhone along with other new products and services.

Eschewing the Roman numeral naming for the device, this one goes to 11. (I know, it’s a cliché, and fortunately, Apple didn’t use it.) The iPhone 11 comes in two models: standard and Pro (three models, if you count the Pro Max separately). This is the first time that Apple has used the term Pro for the iPhone—a term that has been used for Macs and iPads for many years—and the Pro models (in regular size and Max) now come with three rear-facing cameras instead of two.

The iPhone 11 (without the “Pro” modifier) is the replacement for last year’s iPhone XR. Coming in at $699 for the base model with 64 GB storage, this iPhone comes in six colors, and features two cameras. Unlike last year’s iPhone XS models, these cameras come with wide and ultra-wide lenses. (The two-camera versions of the iPhone X and later had wide and telephoto lenses.) This is an interesting choice, since the ultra-wide angle lens doesn’t seem like something that many people would be interested in. It’s great for expansive landscape shots, or interior photos if you want to show a whole room, but it’s not very versatile.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

It’s Amazing That Anyone Upgrades Their iPhone — 500ish Words

I’ve owned every iPhone since the original one back in 2007. Each time that I get the latest version I do something many people consider crazy: I set it up as a new iPhone, rather than restoring a backup of my last device. My rationale is both simple and silly: I like the idea of this being a natural “reset” of my phone–a way to determine which apps I really want, or more to the point, need, on my device. It’s always far fewer than I think. And certainly less than I would have if I restored and deleted just the ones I thought I wouldn’t miss.

Anyway, I bring this up because this process, while in a way liberating, is also a pain. It takes a long time to re-download every app that I actually want. And, of course, even longer to log in to each of these apps. One by one.

And yet I was reminded this week that my process actually isn’t that much more laborious than the more traditional restore. A few weeks back I bought my wife the latest iPhone–she had been using an iPhone 8, and I wanted her to have the best camera to take pictures of our little girl–but she kept pushing off setting it up. When I asked her why, she noted that the restore process is incredibly slow and cumbersome.

Actually, that was my prim and proper translation of what she said. She really just said that it sucks. And I know she’s not alone in thinking that.

This sort of surprises me since I had heard the restore process had gotten a lot better in recent years as iCloud itself has gone from a laughing stock to quite good. And again, doing this all over-the-air sure sounds much easier than what I do each time with a full rebuild from scratch.

But as it turns out, restoring an iPhone does indeed still suck. While you can do everything via the cloud, there are still a whole slew of things that are no better than a clean install. And in some cases, actually worse.

This is a difficult situation. There is some data that gets lost if you don’t upgrade: health data, and passwords (if you don’t have iCloud Keychain turned on). So the best way is to do an iTunes backup and restore from that.

But the author points out the problem with the new phone that needed an iOS update in order to load the backup, because the phone he had backed up was on a later version of iOS. This is quite frustrating, and gets me every time I don’t get an iPhone on the very first day it’s released.

The whole process is needlessly complicated, especially since iTunes no longer manages apps, and you have to download them all, which can take more than an hour with my internet bandwidth.

Source: It’s Amazing That Anyone Upgrades Their iPhone — 500ish Words

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 77: The One About the iPad

We discuss the iPad: how it can replace a computer for some people, how the new iPad mini is a great little device, and how there are some elements of iOS that could be improved to make the iPad even better.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil Have Changed My Writing Workflow

I became a freelancer back in 1996 to work as a French-English translator. I translated lots of documents, generally working with a printout of the original document on a stand next to my display, and typing my translation on my computer. After finishing draft translations, it was time to edit my documents. To do this, I would generally print them out, sit in a comfortable chair, and read through them making changes with a pencil. You quickly learn that there is a big difference between reading a document on the screen and on paper; when doing the latter, you see lots of mistakes that you gloss over on screen, and you think of different formulations. That process of composing and editing in different contexts allows you to see your work in a different way.

For many years, as a freelance writer, I mostly worked on screen. Occasionally, I would print out articles and edit them on paper, but I have reached a stage where I have enough experience to be able to do all my work on screen. However, that process of editing in a different context can make a difference in my work.

A few weeks ago, I bought a new 11-inch iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. My goal was to attempt to re-create this writing/editing process using the iPad for the second step. I have found that the combination of the iPad and Apple Pencil allows me to edit in a different context. These two devices together function as a sort of analog/digital hybrid; I get the advantages of working on a digital device and manipulating text more efficiently, together with the analog feel of the Apple Pencil, which I use to select and edit text. I had tried doing this in the past with the iPad’s touch interface, but text selection on iOS is so abysmal that it was too frustrating. The pencil, however, makes this process much smoother.

In addition, I have found that it is actually quite agreeable to control the iPad using the Apple Pencil. Not when I need to type a lot, but even when I do the New York Times crossword puzzle, working with the pencil is much more relaxing than using my fingers.

The iPad Pro Needs a Pro Version of iOS

Apple’s new iPad Pro is an amazing tablet, but as our review points out, it comes at a price. Apple has priced this device at close to the cost of a laptop–aka a “real computer”–which means that for most people, buying an iPad Pro means making a commitment to using it as their main computing device.

But the iPad Pro runs iOS, the same operating system that runs on the iPhone. While Apple says, “And it works like your iPhone, so it’s familiar to use,” this isn’t really a good thing. Some people may be able to replace their laptop with an iPad Pro, but for the iPad Pro to really serve as a computer, it needs a pro version of iOS.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Everything You Can Do with the Apple Pencil

Steve Jobs famously said, about tablets, “If you need a stylus, you’ve already failed.” But he was talking about using a stylus as the main input device for a tablet. When Apple released the Apple Pencil three years ago, this quote was revived to remind people that a) things have changed, and b) Steve Jobs wasn’t always right.

Apple recently released a second version of the Apple Pencil. While this can be used as an input device, it is not required for the iPad Pro. In this article I’m going to tell you everything you can do with the new Apple Pencil.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Tablet vs. Laptop: Pros and Cons of Replacing a Laptop with a Tablet

I remember when I started using Apple’s first iPad in 2010; I realized that this was the future of computing. It was a small, thin, (relatively) light device that allowed me to perform many of the tasks that I performed. No more mouse or trackpad, and no more keyboard; the keyboard was on the display itself, but only when I needed it. I could use it anywhere, in any position, even lying down in bed. But could a tablet replace a laptop?

When you’re on the road, you need to bring one or several computing devices with you. Your smartphone may not be sufficient for the work you need to accomplish, so you probably also bring a laptop on your journeys. But, with the power and flexibility of today’s tablets, do you really need a laptop? Can you do all or most of the work you need with a tablet? In this article, we look at the pros and cons of replacing a laptop with a tablet.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.