Apple could make the iPad a true laptop replacement if it just had these 2 simple features – Business Insider

Apple made a lot of things clear this week: It will strive to do
better at making computers geared towards professionals, but it
will keep those pro desktops separate from its touchscreen
devices like iPhones and iPads.

In other words, don’t expect Apple to release a touchscreen Mac
anytime soon.


new retina imacs
These 5K iMacs are pretty,
but you can’t touch ’em.

Skye
Gould/Tech Insider


Here’s Apple’s reasoning, according to a company spokesperson in
an email to Business Insider (emphasis ours):

“Here’s how we think about this. Others have taken a
traditional PC and tried to build touch into a single catch-all
product, but the results are full of compromises. Those products
provide neither a good laptop experience, nor a good tablet
experience.
Apple has pioneered the use of Multi-Touch
technology across our product lines from iPhone and iPad to our
trackpads. We’re focused on delivering a great customer
experience and for some products, a touchscreen does that, but
for others we think touch is implemented in better ways. That’s
why we invented the Touch Bar for MacBook Pro.”

Aside from that last sentence — I personally don’t think the
Touch Bar is all that useful for pros or anyone else — I am
totally okay with Apple’s philosophy here, with regards to
keeping its traditional desktop Mac line separate from touch
interfaces.

Microsoft is doing its own thing —
BI’s own Matt Weinberger loved the Surface Studio
, an
iMac-like desktop you can also draw on like a giant canvas — but
Apple is very content with keeping these products separate and
encouraging customers to buy multiple items.


microsoft surface studio
If you want to draw on
your desktop monitor, Microsoft has you covered. Apple, not so
much.

Darren Weaver/Business
Insider


So while you can argue about which philosophy is better, there’s
no doubt Apple’s strategy is business-savvy. If you want a
computer, buy a Mac. If you want a touchscreen, buy an iPhone or
iPad. Apple wants you to buy both separately, assuring you they
will work better together than a single all-in-one product.

That’s where I disagree.

As someone who’s owned an iPad for many years now, I really
believe the iPad could be that killer all-in-one product that
blends the best of iOS with a solid desktop experience.
And I really think it’s that close to being a laptop
replacement. For a couple of years, I actually used my iPad
as my main computer for trips or going out on assignment, as it
was the best portable device for taking notes, thanks to a
great Bluetooth keyboard from Logitech that also served as a
screen protector. But all these years later, the iPad,
particularly the higher-end Pro, is still not a pure laptop
replacement, even though that’s how it’s been advertised the last
two years.

Frankly, all iPads — mini, normal and Pro — would be
much more useful devices, and actual laptop replacements, if
they just had two simple things:

1) A proper file system, a la Finder


apple icloud drive
iCloud Drive on iPhone and
iPad is nowhere near as robust as Finder on the
Mac.

Dave Smith/Business
Insider


It boggles my mind that iOS still lacks any sort of meaningful
management system for all your files and documents, in the way
you can search for literally anything on your computer’s hard
drive using the built-in Finder app.

Mind you, Apple introduced iCloud Drive in 2014 as a way to
access your saved files across your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, but
it’s nowhere near as robust or customizable. You can’t create new
folders, rename folders, or organize documents in a way that
makes sense to you from your iPhone or iPad — some folders
can be renamed or organized to your liking, but all of
that must be done on a PC or Mac computer. Also, Apple files
everything in separate folders based on the app it uses, so you
can’t create your own organizational methods.

Meanwhile, there’s Finder, the Mac’s one-stop shop for everything
from search to file management. Finder is easily the most-used
app on my Mac. It keeps me organized: I’m always able to find any
documents I’ve created, and put documents of varying types in one
folder so I can easily find everything later. I can easily create
and delete files and folders, and rearrange them to my liking. To
me, Finder is essential, and I still have no reason why there’s
no comparable version on iOS — this kind of organization is
probably less important on an iPhone, but it’s
probably the biggest aspect keeping the iPad from being
a true laptop replacement. You should be able to reorder and
reorganize your files as you see fit on any device, especially an
iPad.

2) Mouse and trackpad support

Apple loves its multi-touch technology, but if Apple really wants
people to buy more iPads, it should allow people to use more
input methods — particularly the mouse, one of the most-used and
traditional methods in the history of desktop computers.

Granted, I spend most of my days on a laptop, but that has a
separate trackpad below that mimics the actions of a mouse. Using
the touchscreen is simply not the same. It is not nearly as
precise, or as efficient. You’ll also get tired
after constantly raising your arm just to touch different
parts of the screen, which is particularly bad if you’re doing
something time-intensive like photo or video editing. A
touchscreen alone is just fine on a tiny five-inch iPhone screen,
but not nearly as great on a 10-inch or 12-inch iPad screen.


Apple Magic Mouse 2
Apple’s
Magic Mouse 2


Apple


Please, Apple, let me use a Bluetooth mouse, or a Bluetooth
trackpad. Apple even makes these peripherals! But neither of them
works with the iPad.

I would love the ability to rest my iPad on my lap or a coffee
table, and be able to use it effortlessly from my couch with my
Bluetooth keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Heck, I’d be okay if Apple
only made it work with its own Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, as
long as the iPad supports some solution.

It’s strange to me how Apple embraced accessories with the iPad
Pro, but only to some degree. Apple says the $170 Smart Keyboard
and the $100 Apple Pencil make the iPad Pro a more complete
“pro” experience, but curiously didn’t support its own
Bluetooth mouse or trackpad on that device. 

When I asked Apple about this on the phone, the company had a
great answer for why the iPad supports keyboards: “People want a
great typing experience, and it helps people get to where they
want to go faster.” But by that same token, mice and trackpads
help users get to where they want to go faster, too, and they’re
much easier to use and more satisfying than spending hours
lifting your arm to touch a part of the screen. Apple didn’t have
a good response for that — they suggested one could use an Apple
Pencil for touching parts of the screen, but the reason I own an
iPad/iPhone/Mac is so I don’t have to constantly use a pencil and
pad in the first place.

I really do hope that Apple will consider adding these features
to the iPad, which is already a great device but not quite a true
laptop replacement. I can’t reliably use my iPad for working,
although it’s better with a keyboard. With mouse/trackpad
support, and a proper file system, it would be that much better.

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