I’ve been mulling over these thoughts for months now, but resisted on posting them because of the backlash. I know I should never do that, and feel free to post what I want, but you know what the internet is like. Following yesterday’s meagre offering following 18 months of development, the time has come. The iPad sucks now, and that’s a real shame.
I used to be that guy. The one that used his iPad for everything and preached about it at every available opportunity. Selling the iPad to anyone that would listen and teaching people the tricks you needed to make it really work. This was way back on an original iPad Air, then a long line of Pro variations. Then one day I just kind of ‘woke up’.
I had an epiphany and realised that it wasn’t the iPad that was so great. I mean it was good, and Apple were doing what they needed to do, but it was the apps and particularly Shortcuts that made it. Apple broke several of my much-needed shortcuts to get things done, and the whole thing fell apart.
So I quit. Publicly and emotionally, I’d had enough of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Fortunately, Apple now sells a perfect replacement for those that like myself spent thousands on iPad Pros with keyboards and pencils in the form of the M1 MacBooks. I chose the Max variant in an MacBook Pro, but many switched to the new Air and spent less.
I didn’t care so much for ‘pro apps’. Or for them to allow me to use external monitors correctly. All I wanted was for them to stop messing around with the way the iPad actually worked and decide what it wanted to be. At the point of quitting, the iPad existed in somewhat of an oxymoronic state, in that it was costly but not all that capable. The software was flakey and didn’t really ever live up to the promises Apple made.
The iPad still exists in that same position, but the terms are worse. My initial quitting was three years ago and nothing has changed. There has been some kind of awakening of late. One where users that previously waved their ’iPad guy’ flag have realised they are indeed doing themselves a disservice. The reality is unless you explicitly need a touchscreen, the iPad Pro is a poor, expensive, choice. Apple still has no idea what they want the iPad to be, and even less of an idea on the ‘pro’ versions.
Base model iPads now come in at £500. Which is at least £100 more expensive than you should be paying for a consumption device. Sure, it can work with keyboards and pencils (kind of), but that’s not the appeal of an entry-level tablet. Couple this with a confused lineup of Airs and unimproved £1000+ pro devices, leaves next to no appeal.
The answer to the age-old question of “what iPad should I buy” is now “last year’s model”. Should anyone dare to ask what tablet they can get to do some work on might need some follow-up questions, but in reality the correct reply is “a Surface Pro”. That hurts a little.