I miss having an iPad

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 3 min read

They say you don't know what you have until it's gone, and I gotta be honest, that's how I'm feeling about the iPad right now. I sold my iPad Pro to help pay for my Vision Pro. Part of my rationale was that the Vision Pro would swap in for some (most?) of the things I used to do on an iPad, so why not go all in on the new hotness, right?

Well, nearly 2 months later and it turns out the Vision Pro replaced precisely zero of my iPad use cases, and every day I find myself thinking, "sure would be nice if I had an iPad right now."

TLDR: I overestimated how useful the Vision Pro would be and I underappreciated how often an iPad was the ideal device for me.

That in between device

My Mac still excels at day-to-day work, both for my day job and for my side projects, and my iPhone remains the astounding pocket computer it's always been, but it turns out an in between device is more important to me than I realized and I took it for granted all these years.

The iPad is not a good replacement for a Mac or an iPhone for me, but damn it all if I didn't enjoy having it around for some situations where neither of those devices were perfect. It's cliche, but the iPad was the G.O.A.T. for doing stuff on the couch. In the morning while I eat breakfast or at night when I'm hanging out with my wife, an iPad was just the best device for browsing around and neither my Mac nor my iPhone fills that gap perfectly.

The heaviness of the Mac

I have a 14" MacBook Pro and while I love it as a desktop and portable workstation, it's shit for chilling on the couch. It's just too freaking large and the heavy always-attached keyboard just makes it so I feel like I'm at work when I should be relaxing. The fact the keyboard is permanently fixed to the screen means I don't have as many options to curl up and chill with this computer as it simply lacks the flexibility of an iPad.

Software isn't really the issue here, especially since most iPad apps run on the Mac already, but that the physical constraints of Mac laptops and the lack of a touch interface means it's less practical than I'd like. A Mac that could run on iPad hardware would be a dream for me, but that product doesn't exist today.

The heaviness of the Vision Pro

The Vision Pro has its own heaviness issues as well. Click that link to read more of my thoughts about this, but I don't find the Vision Pro to be a very relaxing device to use. I don't want to strap it to my face over breakfast mostly because I'm not ready to be strapped into the matrix at 5:30AM and it sucks eating with this thing on.

And then I won't wear it when chilling with my wife because, and I quote, "that is the least attractive thing you've ever bought."

The tininess of the iPhone

This leaves the iPhone for these situations, and yeah it is the best of the remaining computers in my life, but it's tiny! I've got the iPhone 15 Pro Max, so it's the most iPhone screen real estate I can have, but it's still minute compared to an iPad. Things as simple as having multi-column views in apps like Mail and Reeder just make the browsing experience better and I can't get those on the iPhone.

Again, the iPhone is an astounding pocket computer, but more screen space is useful too.

Where I go from here

I would expect an iPad will re-enter my life sometime this year, but I think for the first time in ages, it won't be an iPad Pro. First off, I spent basically my whole year's worth of tech budget on the Vision Pro already, and second I think the iPad Pro might subconsciously give me unrealistic expectations for how much I need to get out of the iPad. In 2018 the iPad was able to be my only computer, but I'm not that person anymore, I'm just a normie who uses the iPad for very casual stuff and a simple iPad might help me avoid delusions that it's going to be anything more for me.

Oh, and it would be like 1/3 the price, and given the above stated blowing-a-years-worth-of-tech-spending-on-one-product situation, that's a very practical consideration.

Target had the 10th generation basic iPad on sale for $350 last week and I would be lying if I said I wasn't hovering over the buy button several times throughout the week. I never pulled the trigger, though. We'll see how many more of these sales I can make it through, but it does seem like it's just a matter of time at this point.