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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"But for big businesses with custom applications in house built for the desktop(Windows/Linux), it will never work.

Big businesses and "custom in house applications built for the desktop" are not compatible terms. Not even in the 90s!! haha

In the big enterprise world all the important stuff run server side (ERP, CRM, whatever)... and the trend is moving it to the cloud if possible.

The only "big desktop applications" used today are niche technical apps like CAD, development, medical or scientific software, ecc... not big business apps at all.

That's a fact not an opinion... and in that big business world iPad Pro makes A LOT OF SENSE, not for the technical people like us, but for managers and other decision making people (because they _consume_ data and iPad Pro is the best device ever created to show shiny pretty graphical data and share it with your secretary). iPad Pro could be a killer product in that market.

And please stop with all that stupid Apple-hating stuff... you are smart guys... don't be so short sighted!!

Important stuff is not RUN on the server side, it is STORED on the server side. It is often unlocked with "custom in house applications built for the desktop". There has of course been a trend to move/add browser version of these applications, but often those are trimmed down versions of the desktop application and often the really important applications are just too complicated/powerful/integrated with other applications to be reprogrammed. And now the mobile-app versions are often trimmed down versions of the webapplications.
iPad Pro is in no way the best device to show that data. Here is a word for you: BEAMER. iPad and sharing.....hahahaha, that is not even easy when you are entirely locked into the Apple Ecosystem. iPad Pro is just a bigger iPad. iPads are meant for private consumption. Bigger iPads don't just become work machines, they just become heavier and more expensive.

Where do you see Apple-hating stuff? We are indeed smart guys that actually analyse a product. If Samsung would have put a high res bigger tablet on the market you wouldn't have thought that it makes A LOT OF SENSE and will be a killer product in that market. It seems clear that you are the short sighted one here. Apple is marketing this device for creation, not for consumption and people here are simply pointing out that it isn't a great creation device.

the iPad Pro is a beautiful device, very fast, lots of potential. But business doesn't buy a device because it has potential, they buy it because it gets work done. And for that, there are going to have to be a whole lot of improvements. Of course Apple has the cash and knowledge to make those improvements on the hardware and OS, but the ecosystem is going to have to adjust as well and that takes time IF it will hapen at all
Here are some examples that would greatly improve the iPad Pro:
* Use Touch ID to easily allow different people to log on, changing it from a private device to a multi-user device. (I would love this on a regular iPad as well so my child only sees a few games and cannot delete any of my mails. Of Course this happened yet because Apple just wants me to buy a second iPad)
* Get a whole lot of great productivity software running on it.
* Be cross platform, meaning that I can receive/share/exchange data and files with people on other OS and hardware easily
* Make the pen something that you won't loose (stored inside the device or attached to it)
* Forget about selling that keyboard for that amount of money. Either leave it up to 3rd parties or make something much better and much more adjustable

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