The iPad is Awesome, Actually

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
The iPad is Awesome, Actually

I recently wrote an article that had a pretty negative tone, which was only partially intended. Some people took this as me giving the iPad a well-deserved thrashing, and that wasn't really my intent.

The iPad is Awesome

I use a 2021 11" iPad Pro daily, and it's the best tool for a bunch of things. It's of course good for content consumption, but I also like doing light work on it. I prefer using Slack and email on the iPad, and doing stuff like this (writing) is usually a dream there as well. Even the incredible power of Obsidian means I can manage my reading highlights and automate my link posts in a way that I would not have expected to work on the iPad, but totally works there. I even use the iPad as a part of my video production workflow as a recording device when I'm using a lav mic.

I'm privileged to be able to own Apple's latest MacBook Pro and their latest (as of a week ago, at least) iPad Pro, and I can choose to use each one for what they're best at. If the iPad really was a bad product, I wouldn't use it, but that's simply not the case, and as my screen time data shows, I use it 1-2 hours per day for an array of tasks.

Regretting my iPad-Only Lifestyle?

Do I regret my time from late 2018 through early 2021 where I was iPad-only? No.

Do I want to take this as a chance to admit I was wrong to go all-in on the iPad during that time? Also, no.

Products change and people change over time. My work is different today than it was then and Apple's ecosystem of devices has changed dramatically as well. So no I don't regret my time with an iPad as my main computer, nor do I think I was having some fever dream that made me think that was actually a good idea.

I used the best product for me at the time, and once it was no longer the right tool for me, I changed tools. This seems perfectly natural.

Where I'm At Now

I don't think the iPad is terrible, and I have absolutely zero desire to get rid of mine - I just don't think of it as my main computer anymore, and I have cast aside expectations of it becoming that anytime soon.

Truthfully, I can't be asking in the run up to WWDC whether "the iPad will finally get there this year," only to be disappointed in June. It's not fun for me, and it's maybe not even fair for the people at Apple working on iPad software. If their goals and their user research is at odds with what I want, then I need to adjust my expectations accordingly.

I still want to be able to run macOS on a touch device like the iPad, and at this point I feel that's a more realistic thing to hope for than iPadOS making the changes necessary to make it work in all the ways I want it to work.