iPad Drama: Cynicism and Technology

Joshua Topolsky, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Outline, took to Twitter yesterday to mercilessly bash the iPad. Here’s where he begins his Tweetstorm, some of which I’ll be addressing.

Before I begin to address his comments, I’ll just say this…

Tech people have strong opinions about the iPad. Some see it as a pedestrian device that will never be capable of replacing their MacBook, and that’s fine. People are entitled to their opinions. Others, such as myself, embrace change and the possitibilities of new technology and the experimentation it offers. We find ways of making new things work that don’t detriment the process.

Second, the notion that the iPad needs to replace the MacBook is a massive misunderstanding. If you’re a MacBook-heavy user, and the iPad doesn’t meet your needs, then just don’t use it. Now, for the drama…

On the new iPad Pro

If you think you can replace you [sic] laptop with this setup: you cannot. Imagine a computer, but everything works worse than you expect.

Only Siths deal in absolutes.

To outright say you cannot replace a laptop with an iPad is egregious, as a lot of people have. My Mom went from using a massive 17″ HP laptop to an iPad mini years ago and loves it. She never touches the laptop anymore. Yeah, she plays Candy Crush, watches videos, and goes on Facebook, but why is her use case any less than a more complex one?

Federico Viticci from MacStories is the largest iPad proponent, and has written a great deal about the device, with a focus on automation. His story on why he began to use the iPad as a main device is very inspiring, and an example of how the iPad can work for anyone.

I have been using my 10.5-inch iPad Pro as my main device since I got it a couple weeks ago, and I have replaced my entire writing and publishing setup with Affinity Photo, Editorial, Workflow, and FTP Manager Pro1. Editorial is arguably the best iOS application I’ve ever used. The attention to detail and unbelievable amount of things you can do with it is astounding. I can honestly say I’ve only touched my MacBook in the past couple weeks to edit source code for Gaddgict. Doing this is still better on the MacBook, I will absolutely admit. Coda is good on the iPad, but it’s just not the same as say, Microsoft Visual Studio Code.

That’s not to say everyone can do this, of course. Especially not Developers, Engineers, some IT Professionals, and the like. For them, the iPad is a complement.

On iOS 11

That is the new iPad. Now, I know, the software is in beta, but I also know how Apple betas work. They don’t massively change.

And…

Finally, iOS 11 is definitely a STEP in the right direction. But guys the iPad has been around forever and it still feels half-assed.

A tad confusing. I’m guessing he’s saying iOS 11 isn’t enough, even though the beta has been praised by actual iPad-heavy users, to whom it will matter most. I take reservation about his half-assed comment, though. I’d argue that iOS 11 makes the iPad at least 3/4-assed. It really makes me even that more excited for iOS 12.

On the Smart Keyboard

Is a fucking atrocity. A terrible piece of hardware. Awkward to use, poor as a cover. Okay in a pinch if you need something LIKE a keyboard.

I have been typing on the 10.5-inch Smart Keyboard since I got the iPad Pro and its feel is honestly better than the shallow keys on my 2016 MacBook Pro.2 That said, I do find it odd that there is no ‘fn’ key to allow for the ability to forward delete. This has been driving me a little crazy, especially when it comes to writing new posts, but it’s not the fucking end of the world. I adapt.

The Smart Keyboard definitely doesn’t provide the same rigidity as a laptop hinge, so it’s a bit clunky on your lap. I don’t feel like it needs to offer protection on the back of the device, but there are 3rd-party options for those that do want it.

All that said, as long as you understand the iPad is still a tablet and not a 2-in-1, then you’ve set your expectations appropriately. It’s clear that when using the Smart Keyboard for an extended period of time, Apple envisions you sitting at a desk.

On Apple Fanboys

Anyhow good to know there are still Apple fanboys who get mad if you insult their products. But I don’t think it’s a very good product.

Really? This old trope? People are naturally defensive of things they like. Is that such a big surprise? If you don’t think it’s a very good product, that’s fine.

A couple good points

One other thing. OSX was made for computers. iOS for phones. Time to design a tablet OS from the ground up. Huge potential untapped.

Before iOS 11, I would definitely agree. However, if the substantial progress offered by iOS 11 proceeds in iOS 12, there might not be a need for ‘iPadOS’.

One other other thing. Apple needs to let you select default apps. The forced use of first party software is oppressive.

Agreed that this functionality is needed. Don’t really see an excuse for it to still not exist in 2017.

Words of Wisdom

iPad drama aside, I have always loved Louis C.K.’s view of technology. Wouldn’t it be great if we were just a little less cynical and embraced the magic?

06/27/2017 at 05:05PM

Linked to the correct MacStories article.


  1. A full write up of this is coming soon—it’s too good to not share it. 
  2. Another highly-opinionated subject. The new 2017 models have extra dampening under the keys and supposedly feel a little better.