iPad’s software and now hardware is a mess – it needs to go back to basics

We’re still days away from iPadOS 16.1 debuting for iPads, alongside new iPads announced, but it still seems like the entire product line is in a tailspin.

Without sounding like a soap opera character, a broken clock is right twice a day, and it feels like the iPad line is tripping right now, and you’re confused about what it’s for, who it’s for, and what it wants to be .

I’ve already explained how to defer Stage Manager to iPadOS 17 at the very least, and that hasn’t changed. But with the introduction of a redesigned entry-level iPad, an even more powerful M2 iPad Pro, and new but confusing accessories and adapters for select iPads, I’m left wondering what’s the point of the product line and who’s it really for in 2022. ?

Go back to the beginning

iPad first generation in portrait and landscape

(Image credit: Apple)

I’ve always loved the idea of ​​the iPad. It’s a blank canvas on which you can create or consume almost anything you want. It used to be that you could choose between an iPad and an iPad mini – nothing more, nothing less.

I’ve used it a lot over the years, like getting me through a year of college, but there was always that edge where I hit the limit of what the software could do.

Granted, minor improvements like external storage support in iPadOS 13 or even widgets in iPadOS 15 helped push that cliff further away, but Stage Manager and its confusing hardware setup makes me think I’d be hanging off that cliff now if I was still around. still only iPad, similar to Doc Brown hanging from the Clocktower in Back to the Future.

Resize Apple’s Camera app in Stage Manager. When you make it smaller, the camera image is flipped. iPadOS 16.1RC. pic.twitter.com/bcRZq1sA5NO October 20, 2022

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Indeed, there are also iPad enthusiasts who have had enough, like the above tweet where they once again take their frustrations with Stage Manager to the extreme, now recommending a Surface tablet (opens in a new tab).

However, imagine waiting for Amazon’s Black Friday event for an iPad, where do you start choosing in the product line?

You have an iPad with a camera that is made for landscape orientation and that also offers great colors. The smaller iPad mini now has a much higher price, but is a year old and barely benefits from iPadOS 16. Finally you get to the iPad Pro line and you have the power of the M2 chip with hardware tailored for Photographers, but the highest tier is a 2TB model for $2,399 / £2,199 / AU$2,499.

Not to mention the differences in the accessories, where the latest keyboard folio for the iPad is much better than what the Magic Keyboard offers for the iPad Pro. You can now fold it up like a smart cover, and there’s finally a row of function keys so you can quickly access the volume and keyboard backlight buttons, but this is nowhere to be found for the iPad Pro.

So you now have an accessory for the cheaper iPad model that is much better than an accessory that can only be used for the iPad Air and iPad Pro models.

If this all sounds confusing, that’s because it is.

Let’s start again

Black Friday iPad Air Deals

(Image credit: Apple)

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, legend has it that he went straight to a whiteboard and drew a square, where four categories were drawn to simplify Apple’s entire product line, as it was everywhere in the mid-’90s. .

The iPad fits into any of those squares, and then some, to the point where the shape turns into an octagon.

So let’s start over – imagine you go to “iPad” in the Apple Store, and instead of being taken to a bunch of different models, you’re taken to a three-question test.

What do you want to use your iPad for? Do you prefer touch or keys? What size display do you prefer?

This goes back to the three-click rule Steve Jobs made when he drafted a task for the team that developed the iPod. Anyone interested in buying an iPad knows exactly what they are getting, and the best part is that each size, from 7.9 inches to 12.9 inches, has the same specs of hardware.

That way everyone wins. iPad should appeal to everyone, so providing the benefits of what a ProMotion display offers to say an iPad mini should be the standard. The only difference the user has to look at is how much storage they think they need and whether they need a mobile option.

This would also apply to the peripherals – the keyboard folio for both the iPad and the full-sized iPad Pro could have foldable options and a function row, and it will be just one accessory that fits most iPad sizes if you decide to fit in. upgrade over the next 18 months.

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16

(Image credit: Ditching)

When it comes to software, it’s a different ball game. Some want a version of macOS, others want more improvements to iPadOS.

I say let’s have a combination of both. Even with iPadOS intended to be separate from the iPhone software, it still looks like iOS, which is why some users were puzzled as to why Lock Screen widgets arrived in iOS 16 but not iPadOS 16.1.

It’s still a confusing message for some users, and Stage Manager can confuse users even more. Instead, I’d suggest a redesign of iPadOS, starting with version 1, and having some features available for use once the tablet is connected to a keyboard.

The tablet was arguably working at its best when it first debuted, and for me the downward spiral started with iOS 7, when Apple was clearly in a rush to finish iOS 7 on the iPhone, with the iPad variant resulting in an unfinished release. when it debuted in 2013.

The iPad can succeed, it just needs focus

The iPad 10.9 2022 in all four shades

(Image credit: Apple)

Again, I love the iPad – always have. But we’re at a point where it’s so confusing that choosing a model has become a challenge, beyond the peripherals that only work with certain models.

Let’s take a look at a reset, something that lets you know it’s completely separate from the iPhone, both hardware and software.

Only then, for me at least, is when the iPad can fly and be its own thing, rather than living in the shadow of Apple’s other successful products.

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