A cherished trope of silly pundits for years has been “You can’t get real work done on an iPad.”
This, of course, has been a soup tureen full of piping hot nonsense for years. The problem has always been defining the words “real” and “work.” Also, for some of these pundits, “soup.” One of them actually tried to drink a steak. He had to be rushed to the hospital.
If you’re a developer, sure, you’re not going to get much work done on an iPad. Likewise, if you’re a systems administrator. But if you work on a factory floor, in retail, or you’re a writer (cough) or a manager whose days are largely spent in email and corporate collaboration applications, you can work all the live-long day on an iPad. (And still probably make a fraction of what your company’s CEO makes in the 30 seconds he spent wondering what a “tureen” was. But that’s a different problem.)
The arguments against the iPad as a work device would have been harder to swallow if they had anything to do with work instead of being about complaining about things like flash drive slots, the ability to run LARGE APPLICATION X and very specific corporate provisioning rules defined by organizations that buy everything from one company in Renton, Washington.
The productivity potential of an iPad has always been there for those who could take advantage of it. The Macalope, for example, regularly wrote his columns on a first-generation iPad. That was “real work” that he actually got paid for. We can argue about whether or not it’s a living, but it has supported the horny one for many years (obviously in conjunction with his lucrative glass poodle blowing business).
Regardless of the personal experience of this furry pontificator, people have always done work on the iPad and the group of people who can do so has only gotten larger as the years have gone by.
To say this year is no exception would win you a gold medal in the Olympic 100-meter understatement. First and most important of all, you can finally get the weather on an iPad. Just think of how much more productive you’ll be.
Joking aside, the Macalope is happy this has finally happened, he’s just concerned that now that it has we’re never going to get the real story on why it took so long.
The biggest knock against iPadOS for years has been its awkward multitasking interface. Stage Manager is the company’s latest attempt to bring sanity to iPad multitasking and, while it remains to be seen if the company’s nailed it, it appears to be a much clearer way to view and navigate multiple apps at the same time, as well as create multiple workspaces. And when connected to a keyboard with a trackpad and plugged into an external monitor, the gap between the iPad and the Mac seems so small even the angels are having a hard time dancing in it.
The Macalope has long argued that unlike Microsoft’s approach of slapping a touch interface on top of Windows, Apple should rethink interactions and it’s done that. Even when it added a cursor to iPadOS, it did it in a way that made sense and was different than the Mac. While Stage Manager was first demoed on the Mac at yesterday’s keynote, it wasn’t until it was shown on the iPad that it made sense.
There are doubtless still certain kinds of work that are much harder or even impossible to do on an iPad. But those are steadily disappearing and, in the meantime, many of us are doing just fine getting paid for working on our iPads.
Of course, you still can’t make glass poodles with one.