iPad is not for productivity

In WWDC 2021, Apple revealed more productivity features of iPad (again), such as the “improved and intuitive” multitasking experience (which is not intuitive at all) and the enhanced handoff feature, letting you seamlessly move stuff across iDevices (which tricks you into buying even more iDevices). What can be achieved on a cheap desktop now can be achieved on a premium iPad! You’re feeling empowered!

I have an old iPad 2 which is still working. I bought it just for fun. It’s cool to surf the web, play some games and watch videos on it. It’s actually enjoyable to consume content on an iPad with a much larger screen than a phone and a more portable form factor than a laptop. iPad should be a consumption device, a third category living in the middle of phones and laptops, if I’m not mistaken about Steve Job’s vision.

Over the years Apple has been in the endeavor of making an iPad as a productivity device. Features like the fake Files app (which you don’t how to use), the macOS-like dock (without Mac apps), the fake multitasking (via the not-so-handy split view), and mouse and keyboard support have been added. Even the UI of the iPad has been updated to match that of the Mac.

iPad has been promoted as a computer (?) by Apple. You can perform most of the tasks that can be done on a desktop if you also buy their “magic” (expensive) keyboard and pencil. With all of them bought, still, you won’t be able to perform all the tasks on the iPad because they want you to also buy their Macbook or iMac too. Apple seems to find a sweet spot that you must buy all of their devices to have a “better user experience”.

The reluctance to support touch ID on flagship iPhones during pandemic exemplifies this walled garden strategy. Rather than adding back a fingerprint reader into iPhone for people wearing mask to unlock their phone with ease during pandemic, Apple opted to let you unlock your iPhone with Apple watch which you need to buy if you don’t already have one. Not to say they removed the earphone jack to push you to buy their AirPods.

Some people reckon Apple will unify iPadOS and macOS which will be the ultimate productivity and consumption device. Imagine that iPad with full mac apps support, or Mac with touch and Apple pencil support. That would be a dream comes true. But it won’t happen, as Apple wants you to buy more devices. iPad will stay as an imperfect productivity device while Macbook won’t have touch support either (fake touchbar doesn’t count). Forever.

I’d rather stick with my Mac Mini with a large external monitor, mechanical keyboard and ergonomic mouse, and my old iPhone. No iPad. No MacBook. My productivity is 10X on this setup. Most importantly, I can easily switch to a Windows desktop and Android phone if I want.