A year after M1 iPad Pro, patience runs out for pro experience

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A year ago, during the ‘Spring Loaded’ keynote, Tim Cook went spies and announced the addition of the M1 chip to the iPad Pro. The iPadOS 15 has reached the halfway point of its lifecycle and Apple just announced a brand new iPad Air that is powered by the new M1 processor, but the question remains: what is it that is preventing Apple from updating its software to match its hardware?

Over this past year, we have written several articles about the M1 iPad Pro, the iPad’s lack of apps specifically designed for the iPad Pro, and even some concepts of what Apple might do to improve its iPad OS as a whole. As of the moment, there have been no changes to the situation.

Please do not misunderstand me, the M1 iPad Pro is a magnificent piece of equipment. I have to say that the new iPadOS 15 also improves the iPad experience: Universal Control, the new multitasking view, and a more powerful Files app will surely make iPad users happier, but it’s not enough to make them happy.

Several years ago, I bought my first iPad Pro, a 12.9-inch version of the second-generation model. It was around the same time that Apple released iOS 11, which featured the famous What’s a computer? campaign.  I remember at that time, the iPad Pro had a bright future, full of possibilities ahead of it. This machine has been my main computer for the entire year of 2019 so far.

In the past year, I’ve switched to the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch and I haven’t seen any reason ever to go back to the iPad as my primary computer for work. The reason being is I’m back with the second-generation iPad Pro while I wait for the M1 Pro MacBook Pro to arrive next week, but what I’m surprised to see is that iPadOS hasn’t changed much over these years and is still a headache for those committed to working on Apple’s Pro tablet.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro needs more!

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Gurman for Bloomberg on the topic from last weekend, Apple should add a “Pro” mode to iPadOS 16 for the larger screen to allow developers to create features for it. Designer Parker Ortolani similarly approaches this issue with his concepts, and I agree with Gurman that Apple should take advantage of the larger screen for specific apps.

It’s somewhat strange to open a 13-inch Messages app on the iPad Pro, for example. If Split View could evolve to Windows, I believe it makes more sense to arrange the Messages app on a corner of the screen while writing an article in Safari.

Most of you iPad defenders will say the tablet can multitask and then put two apps side by side, Netflix in PiP, and Slide Over a stack of apps, but take a deep breath and look at the screen once more. Would you be able to work with that workflow? Honestly, I don’t think I could.

While I know I’m a few years behind the Magic Keyboard accessory because I’m still using the Smart Keyboard, I don’t think the overall experience has improved that much. Even though it consumes a great deal of energy and makes the iPad Pro bulky, you can at least boast that you got another USB-C port. Don’t even get me started on the lack of support for external monitors.

Finally, I would like to conclude

As much as you are tired of hearing that now and then, we’re going to have to wait for iPad OS 16 to find out if Apple is finally going to unleash the iPad Pro’s full potential. With the addition of the M1 processor to the iPad Air, I think the company is just making a mess of a product lineup that has become more expensive and does not have any benefits when compared with a Mac with the M1 processor.

Certainly, the M1 iPad Pro is an impressive machine for those designers who like to edit photos on the go, especially when you have a full 5G connection at hand, but to be honest, developers, journalists, students, and so many others are still trying to figure out how and why a tablet could be a better alternative than a Mac for everyday tasks, especially when you consider that the iPad ecosystem becomes heavier and pricier than owning a Mac.

Is there anything you would like to see Apple do to improve the iPad experience for you? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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