My desire to kill iPadOS has been greatly exaggerated

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Jeff Benjamin writing for 9to5Mac: Improving iPadOS != making it macOS

For years, the iPad Pro has sported hardware under the hood that’s more than capable for getting things done. For some users, it has been iPadOS’ shortcomings and idiosyncrasies that have make it challenging to get the most out of its power.

However, that does not mean that the iPad needs to run macOS to reach its full potential. It just needs to be the very best version of iPadOS.

Absolutely true. Sometimes I worry that people read my desire for touch-capable Macs as implying that I also think iPadOS should be discontinued (I know this in part because strangers on social media tell me they think I want that 😅), but nothing could be further from the truth. I want iPads to continue to exist and I want iPadOS to continue to improve. And not just for everyone who loves them just the way they are, but for me too!

It feels like ancient history at this point, but newer readers may not know that I actually lived the iPad-only lifestyle from 2018-2021. I’m not some iPad hater who doesn’t “get” the iPad, and as little as 2 years ago I would have told you macOS doesn’t belong on iPads, but I changed my mind in 2022 when I realized what I actually wanted.

If nothing else, we can all agree that neither macOS or iPadOS work for everyone, right? There are a multitude of reasons someone might prefer one OS to another, and I think that it’s frustrating to have input method preventing someone from using the platform they prefer in so many other ways. Apple removed the blocker on the iPad in 2020 by adding cursor support and I hope they remove the same blocker on the Mac soon.

Additionally, Apple recently shared that over half of Mac owners also own an iPad. This shows that people find value in having both of these products in their lives. Some people surely just use an iPad because it can be touched, but I think most people like having different computers for different things. While people will rightly point out that iPadOS’s comparative simplicity to macOS makes it a better option for some people all the time, it also makes it a better option for my people some of the time. I would buy a touch-based Mac in a heartbeat, but I suspect I’d keep an iPad as well because I don’t always want that full macOS experience. As I’ve written about before:

With very few exceptions, new computers don't replace anything, they just get added to the pile of computers in our lives already.

In short, none of my desires for a touch-based Mac should be taken to imply that I think iPadOS should be abandoned. iPadOS is a distinct operating system with different choices, different limits, and different freedoms than are on macOS. Adding touch to Mac would not take anything away from iPad users, nor would it take anything away from Mac users who are happy already, it would simply add more flexibility and accessibility to people who aren’t perfectly served today.