Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bullish on iPad

Photo Credit: Livin4wheel

Tim Cook, talking about iPad on the July 2015 earnings call:

I am still bullish on iPad…I think iPad upgrade cycle will eventually occur. We’re 6X greater in usage than nearest closest rival. It’s a fantastic product. I see a lot of runway.

iPad was introduced in 2010 by Steve Jobs as a growing market need for a post-Netbook device (remember those?). It was the first truly mainstream tablet, and came at a surprisingly low price (for Apple). During its introduction keynote, this below slide was poised to position the iPad between use cases for a laptop and a phone.

The slide that made the case for iPad.

However, for most, the iPad has become a blown-up iPhone (in software respects) and media consumption device. Don’t get me wrong, as I love the iPad and its potential. iPad can do a lot with its seemingly overpowered hardware, but most people I know only use it for reading, browsing, and watching videos. I use my iPad Pro for work, and can see how much opportunity is brewing below the surface. Tim Cook knows, too, as he has been known to only travel with an iPad Pro and iPhone, and has said a great deal of things regarding the iPad as a productivity device.

Here are a couple excerpts from interviews Cook gave back in 2015.

Along with the Pencil, there’s a keyboard cover. Cook says it’s different from rival keyboards because with none of those would you say it “came from the same parent” as the tablet itself. “Now all of a sudden you have a keyboard that has been perfectly designed for the iPad, it’s integrated and then you’ve got the software with split view and it’s inherently very productive. I’m travelling with the iPad Pro and other than the iPhone it’s the only product I’ve got.” 1


Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones. 2

He has also said Apple will not converge the iPad and Mac product lines, or make the iPad run macOS. Apple’s philosophy has been clear among speculation–the iPad and Mac are completely separate devices in form and function, even though there’s an overlap when it comes to use cases. I think this slide paints a perfect picture of Apple’s computing philosophy and how use cases can overlap. At the end of the day, it’s a preference, but with all the exciting enhancements coming to the iPad in iOS 11, we may finally be able to live in Tim Cook’s workflow.

Apple's computing philosophy.

The thinking behind this is (I’m separating Pro from non-pro consumers in this example).


  • Use a Mac Pro if you’re a professional and need modularity (as promised with the new model coming sometime after this year).
  • Use an iMac Pro if you’re a professional but don’t need modularity.
  • Use a MacBook Pro if you’re a professional and you need to do similar stuff on the move.
  • Use an iPad Pro if you’re a professional and you need to do similar stuff on the move, but with a touch interface.


  • Use an iMac if you’re not a pro, but need a big screen and the most power you can get.
  • Use a MacBook when you need to do lightweight stuff on the move.
  • Use an iPad or iPad Mini when you need to do similar things, but with a touch interface.


  • Use an iPhone when you can’t use anything else, or need to quickly interact.
  • Use the Watch to handle the basic tasks normally handled by the phone.

I love the iPad. For browsing the web, it’s hard for me to use anything else. However, the iPad has always struggled to address the pro stuff, even with more-than-capable hardware. Its real crutch has been its almost-exactly-the-same feature set as the iPhone, until the introduction of Split-View and Picture-In-Picture. Even then, it left those of us craving more productivity features wanting more. I foresee the iPad finally being able to accomplish its goal across the board with iOS 11.

For instance, the Notes app is receiving the option to draw in-line with text and images, as well as display lines on the canvas, as opposed to a blank page. This will be great for those of us Pencil users currently using GoodNotes, Notability, or other handwriting note apps.

Paper Styles

Paper Styles options on iPhone (and iPad).
Notes app with lines.
Notes app with lines on iPhone (and iPad).
Gone will be the days of going back to the home screen to launch a second app every time, or using the endless vertical list of apps in Split View to hopelessly search for the app you’re looking for (this was so frustrating).

I think the iPad is about to have its watershed moment for productivity, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

  1. Source: Independent 
  2. Source: Telegraph