When Apple first introduced iPads in 2010, the US company expected a major sales revolution similar to its previous flagship products: iPod and of course the iPhone. Although the sales revolution was enormous at first, sales quickly declined and the company emerged that focusing on a media projector in the first place is not enough since its scope is very limited, hence the idea of iPad Pro as stronger versions and more like real alternatives to laptops.
In general, although Apple has made no effort to market iPad Pro tablets as alternative laptops, the reality is that even recently iPads were nothing more than big phones, and despite its impressive hardware, its description as a computer replacement was somewhat misleading, But at WWDC 2019 it was clear that Apple really wanted to listen to repeated user objections as it went in the right direction.
Now for the first time since the launch of the iPad, these devices have a system that is partially independent of iOS, and although the new system is not completely independent the closest description is that iOS but with some additional features, it seems very promising.
In this article we will try to discuss two basic ideas: why were iPads not eligible to be a replacement for the laptop, and more importantly: Is the upcoming update and the new system will make these devices convincing as alternatives to laptops perhaps.
Why was iPad so bad for laptops?
Since the introduction of the iPad Pro in 2015, the traditional way of marketing this product has been abandoned, and Apple has moved on to try to convince users that this is the perfect alternative that will keep them from carrying their laptops everywhere. Although iPads have a lot of features from the excellent battery and the big screen to the very powerful processor, the drawbacks are far greater than the pros.
Perhaps the best way to talk about iPad problems as an alternative to computers is to separate them individually, and although they are diverse it is interesting that these problems are primarily software and do not follow the hardware.
Lack of support using a mouse with a keyboard
In recent years, the use of touchscreens has become increasingly widespread, both in smartphones that are now fully supported and even in computers that have recently begun to be introduced. Regardless of today’s touchscreen features, using the mouse and keyboard is the usual way to work and change that to a touchscreen is not easy, so the lack of mouse support is a real problem for any device that claims to be a replacement for the laptop.
Absence of real multitasking
One of the disadvantages that appear quickly within iPads and any devices using iOS is the absence of multitasking on these devices, where you can use only one application no matter how large the screen and can accommodate more applications. Although Apple has tried to improve it by offering screen-section support on iPad Pro exclusively, this feature is still behind the Android system in stages and never compares to what is available on computers.
Absence of file system and download manager
Despite the importance of other missing points, the absence of a real file system for iOS has always been a big and obvious drawback, and while it can be partially handled on smartphones, the presence of a professional tablet-oriented as an alternative to a computer without a file system is a major loophole that reduces the usefulness of the tablet quite.
Of course, an app has been introduced for files in recent iOS versions, but regardless of the deceptive name, the app was able to control iCloud content without any capabilities to organize the local storage space on the device.
Great restriction of the closed iOS environment and the presence of only applications and not programs
When talking about computers there is something very important and more important than anything else maybe: what software is available? You can see how important this is from the immense popularity of Windows, which costs a lot to buy, while a minority of people are using completely free Linux distributions. Users want a system that can run the programs they want the way they want, and this system is not iOS built to be a small phone only in reality.
Of course, you have Apple’s App Store with hundreds of thousands of varied apps, but these complex applications remain largely limited by the system you are working on, which does not always give them the required powers. When purchasing applications, as a developer you cannot bypass the App Store because iPads do not allow installation of software from outside the App Store.
What has Apple done to make iPads better alternatives to computers?
As Apple is known for its completely ignored user policy (such as ignoring the fact that iPads are completely fragile or MacBook keyboards lack any durability or durability), it was surprising to many what the company did at the recent WWDC 2019 conference, where the announcement of a set of new features and even a complete stand-alone system (only partially) as the iPadOS have made many believe they are watching a conference for another company that is definitely not Apple.
Generally speaking, Apple really listened to its users and critics when it announced the upcoming new updates.
- A new home screen interface that allows plugins and quick control to be placed alongside the apps list.
- More features, more multitasking capabilities and control of floating windows and the applications you are working with.
- Limited local file system support, allowing access to memory cards and external storage via USB port and control of their content.
- Browse the Internet and request the release of full computer sites and take advantage of the big screen instead of using the very limited phone version.
- Partial and very initial support for using the mouse.
For those who use the Android system, it may seem strange that such features do not already exist on iPads as they have been available on Android devices for years. The availability of features does not pre-empt their current significance. For Apple’s previous stance and significant constraint on its product environment, these changes are big steps toward better devices that are more user-friendly.
Will iPads become a real alternative to laptops?
In principle and even without recent updates, it is possible to rely on iPads as an alternative to computers in office work that do not require specialized and advanced software. But of course, for users who need advanced software in specialized areas such as programming or design, it is still far from being possible.
Now, with these updates can not say that the iPad devices suddenly become a substitute for any computer, The company itself does not want this already being will affect the sales of laptop computers, very expensive. What is clear today, however, is that Apple is trying to minimize the problems that the average computer user should live with if they go to use the iPad.
If you are working in publishing, for example, as I have, the most important thing you need is a good browser and an advanced text editor, and both of these are available on iPads of course, but what prevents me and prevent many others from relying on the iPad as an alternative, even a temporary computer is that these The devices are not designed or programmed to fit an advanced method of use, but are designed for a user who wants simple things.
As a result, people with basic office needs, as I do, can now seriously consider relying on the iPad, but these new changes, while important, are not enough. If Apple wants to attract users to iPad as a replacement, albeit partially for the laptop, the road is still long and what has been offered is a step in the right direction.