Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Nov 2015 13:53 UTC

The reviews for the Apple Surface are coming in. There's two reviews at The Verge, one at the Wall Street Journal, and John Gruber's got early access from Apple as well.

The general gist? If you've ever read a Surface Pro review, you've read all the iPad Pro reviews. Well, mostly - the complaints leveled at the Surface Pro are being tip-toed around a bit now that they apply to an Apple product, of course, and suddenly, the magic argument "but it will get better in the future" is now completely valid, while the same argument is never considered valid for the Surface Pro (or something like the Priv and its early bugs).

That being said, all reviews dive into just how uncomfortable the iPad Pro is to use as a laptop - and the problem, of course, is iOS itself. iOS is a mobile, touch-first operating system that Apple is now trying to shoehorn into a laptop role. iOS provides no support for mice or trackpads, and the keyboard and iOS lack most basic shortcut keys, so in order to do anything other than typing, you'll need to lift your arm and reach for the screen to use touch. This is something Apple has mocked for years as the reason not to include touch on laptops, and now they release a device which requires it 100%.

This is what happens when you run out of ideas and try to shoehorn your cashcow - iOS - into a role it was never intended to fulfill, without being gutsy enough to make the changes it requires. The iPad Pro is clearly screaming for a touchpad (and proper keyboard shortcuts), but it doesn't have any, and according to John Gruber, it never will (a comment I filed away for later when Apple inevitably adds mouse support to iOS).

Microsoft's Surface may not be perfect, but its problems stem almost exclusively not from a lack in hardware capability or a faulty concept, but from Microsoft's Metro environment being utterly shit. The concept of having a tablet and a laptop in the same device, seamlessly switching between a tablet UI and a desktop UI, is sound - the only problem is that Microsoft doesn't have a working tablet UI and applications. Meanwhile, trying to shoehorn a mobile, touch-first UI into a laptop form factor is just as silly and idiotic as trying to shoehorn a desktop UI into a mobile, touch-first form factor - and Apple should know better.

Or should they? Paul Thurrott, earlier this week:

While the iPad Pro was in many ways inevitable, it also points to a crisis of original thought at Apple, which has been coasting on the iPhone’s coattails for perhaps too long. At Apple, the solution to every problem is another iPhone. And the iPad Pro, like the new Apple TV and the Apple Watch, is really just another attempt to duplicate that singular success in other markets.

Thurrott really hits the nail on the head. The iPhone became a success because Apple sought - and succeeded in - designing an interface and interaction model that was specifically designed for the iPhone's input methods - the multitouch display, the home button. Ever since that major big hit, they've been trying to shoehorn that exact same interface and interaction model into every major new product - the Apple Watch, the new Apple TV, and now the iPad Pro. However, if there's one thing we've learned from Palm OS (pen-first, mobile-first) and iOS (multitouch-first, mobile-first), it's that every form factor needs a tailored interaction model - not a shoehorned one.

When you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail - which sums up Apple's new major product lines ever since the release of the iPhone, and the iPad Pro seems no different. It will do great as an iPad+, but beyond that? It's not going to make a single, meaningful dent, without considerable restructuring of iOS' UI and interaction models - and lots and lots of crow.

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Surface is s**t - iPad and iPad pro leave a lot to be desired.

I'm writing this on an iPad (3rd Gen - not Pro). I'm a Systems Analyst. I support multiple OSs at work and multiple brands of hardware. Nobody swears at devices more than they swear --at-- Surfaces. Still the org that I work in keeps buying them and people keep bringing in their personal mobile devices and only pretend to use the Surfaces. They are down more than they are up. They have Microsoft camping here and they can't keep them working for more than a month. It's time to give up on them for a couple of generations and try again.

The same goes for iPads. They are at least a couple of generations away from being the computer for the rest of us or the computer for all of us.

Both definitely have plans though, to make their devices the standard devices. We'll see what happens.

Apple --is-- making plans for making iOS the OS for not only creative artists but creative programmers. There are a lot of rumors that Apple has Swift coding including compiling running on an iPad Pro. Too many leaks to be wrong. However, it is Alpha at best and probably years ago, maybe 3 or 4, from seeing the light of day.

Off hours (from work) I'm a writer (under a pen name) and yes I have Apple devices that I work on. I try to write on the iPad but it is painfully slow and yes the lack of keyboard shortcuts and yes having to touch the screen for things drives me nutts. So as much as I can I don't write on the iPad. Plus I am impatiently waiting for Scrivener to be allowed to release an iOS version which I think will be a lot better than Pages.

I've tried Word on my iPad. It's worse than Pages but I find Word about the 20th best out of 20th "word processors" that I've used in the last two months.

Writers are like people addicted to buying shoes or cars or whatever it is that you can't stop buying if you can afford it. We keep buying different writing tools to play with and write with when we get mental blocks and need to have a little bit of fun checking out something new. So I buy programs I can write with. I'm published by the way, and I have over 100 different word processing/writer/script writing programs and will buy more. Like I said, we love to play with new things.

Note that my editor isn't reading this and editing it and making me changes this up.

I'll buy an iPad Pro but for the foreseeable future it won't be for writing and that is my craft that I love. Maybe one day Apple will see it as a tool for writers and get serious with the OS as much as the hardware.

Sounds familiar doesn't it? Both Microsoft and Apple, well and Google and Corel and ... well I could keep going. They all have been rather blind in their own way for about forever.

While a lot of things, like being able to cooperatively work together a lot more now than under Steve Jobs, at least, the very imperfect person that he was, would have forced them to focus on what is different about each device instead of what is the same.

Jony Ive is too focused on Design and "Complications" and not enough on function. Steve Cook is too wrapped up in making the machine more and more efficient without getting into Jony's way.

They need someone at the top (like the rest of the companies) with a laser focus that can sometimes burn people but it is necessary so that they don't get lost like they are now.

The iPad for the Writers of us? Bad grammer but you get when I'm taking that from. It isn't here yet.

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