The failure of the iPad

The iPad is now ten years old, and people still have to write articles about how, no, really, you can do real work on an iPad!

In 1994, ten years after the Mac was originally introduced, I got my first computer, a Performa 450. Nobody wrote any articles about how, actually, real work on a Mac is possible. Everybody who had a Mac used it for real work.

There was no need to write articles about how you could use Macs for real work, because for Macs, it was – and still is – actually true.

There are countless people who work on iPads, but the central thread in almost all of the articles and stories about these people is that they involve countless, extensive compromises to make it work – whether that’s resorting to a PC for a lot of tasks, or using complex, hacky Shortcuts to accomplish things any other computer can do without you even thinking about it.

I see no reason an iPad can’t be a full, proper computer that can replace many a laptop and desktop, but Apple will need to put some serious weight behind iOS as a platform. The hardware is more than capable – it’s the software that holds it back. The fact we’re ten years into this thing and there’s still no Xcode for iPad tells you all you need to know about how Apple sees the iPad.


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