My relationship with the iPad got off to a rocky start. I had been saving up money a couple of months to get one, and finally, in March of 2012, Apple announced the iPad with Retina Display. I purchased it moments after the keynote, got it a few weeks later, and was greatly disappointed.
Now, I’ve written about this extensively before, and I think there are a few reasons why that was. The first is that, at the time, my main computer was a MacBook Pro. I had a really hard time relegating any tasks to the iPad, because my Mac did all of them better, and was also portable. The second reason, however, was that the iPad used to suck at everything.
When Steve Jobs announced the iPad in 2010, he described it as a device that was supposed to be able to do a few key tasks, such as internet browsing, email, watching movies, and reading books, better than both the iPhone and the iMac. The first few iPads were bad at this for a few reasons. The first problem was that the hardware wasn’t good enough. They were too slow, the displays weren’t great, and both of these issues combined for a bad experience when trying to preform those key tasks.
Apple clearly has the hardware issue fixed by now, but the second issue is that while the iPad is supposed to be its own device in the middle, it runs the same OS as the phone.
My second iPad was the original iPad Air, which launched back in 2014. By this point, I had dropped the MacBook in favor of an iMac, and I loved it. I used it every night before I went to sleep, and whenever I traveled somewhere and needed a computer, this was my go to.
The problem with having your iPad as your go to laptop is that it isn’t good at being a laptop, which is the problem Apple is trying to solve with the new iPad Pro’s.
I picked up the 9.7-inch iPad Pro right when pre-orders became available, not because I thought they had come up with some magic solution or anything, I was due for an upgrade, and was going to buy wether or not the word Pro was attached to it. I reviewed the device soon after receiving it (which you can read here), and now that it has been a month I thought I’d update my thoughts:
My conclusion still stands, this is the exact device Steve Jobs was talking about when he originally revealed the concept of an iPad. It is *perfect* at that list of key tasks he talked about. Everything runs great with the A9X and 2GB of RAM, and the TruTone display remains one of the best displays I’ve ever used on any device.
The battery is of even greater note. I’ve used the device for at least a few hours a day ever since I got it, and have charged it no more than seven times. Once, on a singular charge, I got 16 hours of usage and 150+ hours of standby.
However, this is still not a laptop. I hear the keyboard case is good, I haven’t tried it, but the reason this isn’t a professional device still has nothing to do with the hardware. The iPad is being held back by iOS. By being restricted to the same feature-set with a few exceptions, the iPad can never be its own device.
If Apple truly wanted this to be a pro device, they would create an iPad OS. A version of iOS recreated with new features designed to work for the iPad, the same way they redesigned iOS for the watch and for the TV. And, while I’m not certain, I think Apple realizes this too.
June may be a little surprising.