by Brandon Butler
iPadOS is Apple’s worst OS 4/22/2021

Jason Snell for MacWorld:

This is the crux of the issue: Apple’s decision to market the iPad Pro as being powered by an M1 processor. As a marketing move, it’s solid. There’s been so much positive press about the M1 that wrapping the iPad Pro in its halo makes sense. […]

Here’s the problem with this clever marketing, though: it draws a direct parallel between the iPad and the Mac. And while the Mac definitely lacks in some areas (no touchscreen or Apple Pencil support, for instance) you can basically do anything on your Mac, including run a bunch of apps that originated on the iPad.

The iPad Pro, in contrast, can’t do all sorts of “pro” things that a professional-level user buying a device starting at $1,099 might want to do. They can’t run Mac apps (though if you connect a keyboard and trackpad, you certainly could!), and Apple has failed to build iPad-optimized versions of its own professional apps.

It’s the same iPad Pro story we’ve been hearing about since 2018. Amazing hardware, missing software. What gives?

Apple showed off a lot of AR camera tricks with the iPad Pro during the presentation, using third-party developers as a crutch for Apple’s lack of software. They presented the XDR display as being equivalent to their pro display, but you can’t take your Final Cut Pro projects from your Mac onto your iPad Pro. Ditto for Xcode.

Either WWDC is going to produce a lot of finallys or 🤷‍♂️.

I especially like when they showed the clip from The Mandalorian and it was center cropped to fill the full 4:3 iPad Pro display. If you were watching it in the original widescreen resolution you’d see it letterboxed. The iPad Pro might have an incredible HDR display, but it’s still in a painfully ridiculous aspect ratio.

Meanwhile, Monica Chin for The Verge writes the headline we all wish we’d thought of, “Put macOS on the iPad, you cowards”:

Okay, hear me out on this. I really would just like Apple’s next iPad Pro to be a laptop. Not a clamshell, but a Surface Pro type of deal: a tablet with laptop hardware and a laptop OS. I think there must be people at Apple who want this, too, so I’m now respectfully requesting that the company stop dilly-dallying and make it happen. […]

The result of all this is that we’re moving toward a weird point in the evolution of these two devices where the MacBook can do everything the iPad can do (but it doesn’t have the touchscreen hardware to take advantage of all of it), while the iPad can still only do iPad things (even though features of macOS would take good advantage of its touchscreen capability). It seems like a point where Apple’s goals of “creating a seamless ecosystem” and “selling you many different products” are starting to butt heads.

Chin makes a really strong point here: I have a MacBook and an iPad in front of me. I want the iPad’s touchscreen on my MacBook, and then I want to take just the screen to sit outside and read on the touchscreen. I almost had that with iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard but the iPadOS software is just so bad that it felt like it was actively trying to stop me from being productive.

Is Apple setting us up for huge surprises at WWDC or massive disappointment?