In January 2010, Steve Jobs revealed to the world the iPad, the device Apple believed to be the answer to fill the gap between the smartphone and a laptop. Having converted to using an iPhone two years earlier in 2008, I was definitely in that camp; the need for real screen estate portable touch device that allows me to perform the majority of basic tasks I used a laptop and desktop computer for at the time, such as; web browsing, email, reading and media consumption etc. Nothing trivial.
Iteration after iteration, I continued to enjoy using the iPad, but my dependence on the iPad to perform the tasks mentioned above started to reduce significantly. This shift can be attributed mainly to the introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus with a considerably bigger screen – for the simple reason the iPhone was the device always at hand, and both ran the same OS. I started to develop an undying need for an iPad with a completely independent identity, something that differentiates it from the iPhone in terms of software to help you do more without the need of employing extreme life hack solutions using third-party software.
The iPad needed an injection of life beyond hardware changes; it needed an OS that makes it stand on its own with iPad exclusive features that bring it closer to a more powerful utility and productive tool. The lack of such accommodating built-in features saw me continue to rely on the iPad for one purpose; taking advantage of the bigger screen, which gave me little reason to purchase the 2018 iPad Pro despite its radical design doing away with the home button and incorporating Face ID, which did little to entice me. These are features I already use on the iPhone X. My focus was not on hardware – because I never have any qualms about Apple knocking it out of the park with hardware design – but rather an iPad with close to a desktop-class software that nullifies my desire for a MacBook or any other desktop computer for that matter.
Although the iPad was built on the technical foundations of iOS from its inception, iPadOS signals the beginning of the iPad with its own identity even though at its core its still iOS – iPad exclusive features currently the differentiating factor.
When Apple announced iPadOS during the 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference, what I saw revealed on stage by Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, woke the slumbering love I’ve had for the iPad software. It reignited the desire to use an iPad as a primary desktop computing device independently. I wasted little time in seeking out the 2018 iPad Pro following the WWDC iPadOS announcements and got my hands on a 12.9” model with the Apple Pencil, and of course, what’s a desktop computer without a keyboard, I went for the Smart Keyboard Folio. The accessorising continued with a new desk and chair and mouse to complete the setup.
I installed iPadOS 13 Beta and started sifting through iPadOS getting to grips with the plethora of new iPad exclusive features, a great sense of joy encompasses me. I now have an iPad with more tools at my disposal on the home screen; from pinned widgets to an increased number of icons on the screen that maintain their layout regardless of orientation. Improved multitasking with slide overs, multi-window capabilities, split view and app exposé, the ability to import and export files with connected thumb drives, SD cards, external disk drives and last but not the least, a desktop-class browser in Safari with its own set of improvements including a file download manager.
There’s a lot more additional new improvements in iPadOS which I will be writing about as the Beta matures and features get set in stone, including enhancements to apps such as Reminders, Notes, Photos, Maps etc.
Apple’s adoption of powerful features to make the iPad more of a computing powerhouse might be slow, but running iPadOS Beta, I am confident and reassured with the direction the iPad software is heading which makes me happy to be utilising the iPad far more than I’ve probably done in the past. Ecstatic to be back on the iPad lifestyle as a primary computer and eager to witness the iPad’s journey into a computing powerhouse.