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

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

  1. I like portrait mode with my iPad Pro too. I get it by putting my iPad in my old incase origami keyboard case and using my Apple Wireless keyboard, which is a terrific keyboard. You can achieve similar results (without the flimsy velcro) with keyboard cases by Fintie and Studio Neat’s Canopy, which range from about $15 to $40 US.

    • Yes, but apparently they’re not stable enough to use on you lap. However, you use a proper keyboard with them, and I think I’ll try one out. The Fintie is quite cheap.

  2. I’ve been able to use mine on my lap just fine, though admittedly the setup feels more stable on one of those cheap ($15-$25 US) lap desks, as I’m doing now. OF course, that’s easy for someone who works mostly from home…. good luck!

  3. I have been trialling the iPad Pro 12.4″ with the folding keyboard and agree the ergonomics are just a bit weird. The large iPad is too heavy to hold for long, so you end up positioning it like a laptop and resting it on a surface. The keyboard is good for touch typing so no problems there … but once your hands are on the keyboard, where is the touchpad? Lifting your hand to point to a place on the screen is innaccurate, holding your arm up gets tedious, and resuming the typing position just adds time.
    I get the Apple want a competitor to the range of successful [?] Windows machines with this configuration. OTOH I doubht the legendary leader would have approved the mixed ergonomics.

    There is a place for the iPad in portrait position based on how we use books and notepads. That is a smaller device with an independent keyboard, at best.

    PS Competely agree with your point about tech fatigue. Every day there are updates insistent on being installed. Most of what they do is for the benefit of the developers rather than the users. All these ‘improvements’ are time-consuming and unhelpful. It seems like we have reached some kind of plateau with these devices — time to make them simpler, faster, and easier. Steve, where are you when we need you?

  4. I agree with your comments, but haven’t found a good solution either. Frankly I find working with my MacBook Pro on my lap to be ergonomically uncomfortable, but least it’s not necessary to be tapping on its screen. Also your new macOS Media book is quite thorough and helpful. I was very happy to learn that I could get the Apple Music section out of sight. It’s just not something I want or need to use. I am glad that so many of the iTunes features survived the change.

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