December 4, 2018

Snippet: Microsoft Shares Holiday Ad Promoting Surface Go Over Apple’s iPad ☍

Mitchel Broussard for MacRumors:

Microsoft this week shared a new ad on its Microsoft Surface YouTube channel, this one aimed at promoting the Surface Go. As the ad begins, a little girl stares into the window of a Microsoft Store and begins singing about her preference for the Surface Go over Apple’s iPad, to the tune of the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

She sings, “Grandma don’t run out and buy an iPad, it was fine when I was six but now I’m 10. My dreams are big so I need a real computer, to do all the amazing things I know I can.” Microsoft’s ad is aimed at Apple’s own “What’s a Computer?” ad campaign, which began in 2016 and showed off a few of the things that the iPad Pro can do as a replacement to a traditional laptop computer.

I think there’s a lot of things Microsoft does well (ironically enough, I adore their iOS apps), and getting their jabs in at competitors at just the right time also seem to be a talent. A few years back, they went after Google and there have been a few little snide comments in ads about the Apple products over the years. This ad plays right into the, “Is the iPad a real computer?” argument that we’ve been seeing all over since the introduction of the current iPad Pro. It’s a tad annoying and cheap, but then again so is the Surface Go.

Jokes aside, it’s weird that the Surface Go is often positioned to compete with the iPad Pro, but is probably better matched with the entry-level iPad (and still smoked in terms of raw performance). Unfortunately, what many of these arguments fail to realize is that even with its flaws and shortcomings, iOS on the iPad works really well for some people, just as I’m sure having a traditional Windows environment would work really well for other people.

November 13, 2018

“Even today, someone who uses an iPad as their main computer is viewed as a kind of avant garde minimalist.”

November 9, 2018

Snippet: People Have Different Computer Use-Cases ☍

Dave Smith for Business Insider (via Ben Brooks):

This is still an iPad, like the one you bought years ago. Yes, it’s faster and prettier than before. But it should not be mistaken for a work computer. You would be a less efficient worker if you chose an iPad Pro for work instead of the many standard laptops and desktops.[…]

I insist the iPad Pro is not a real work computer because even trying to perform the most basic of tasks felt underwhelming and compelled me to use a laptop instead.

For the last week, social media and the tech press has been debating the value of the iPad Pros and if you can replace your computer with one. Honestly, it’s exhausting because you could pick out about ten, twenty, or thirty things that an iPad doesn’t do well, but that a Windows PC does. The iPad vs. Mac argument gets brought up, too, but it’s typically people who are using some sort of portable Windows PC that sit down at an iPad and are immediately annoyed that something that may cost as much as their PC doesn’t work the way they expect it to. Some tech writers jump at the chance to “prove everyone wrong” about how the iPad is still a letdown and a glorified, oversized iPhone.

Smith’s argument is crap because it’s a few particular use cases where an iPad very obviously does not work for him. He also was quick to call his iPad use a failure—I would have probably been just as discombobulated if I had to switch to a Windows PC for everything and immediately expect the same level of productivity. For the people who use an iPad as their primary computing device, many workflows take some careful consideration and time. You can’t get an iPad out of the box and expect it to work like a computer that you’ve probably also been working with for awhile and iterating your processes. Still, rather than trying to find ways that traditional Windows PCs and Macs fall short, I’ll be off using my iPads to get work done—or apparently twiddling my thumbs pretending to work.

November 5, 2018

Snippet: Standing Still. iPad Pro 2018 ☍

Thomas Verschoren (via Gabe Weatherhead):

But, even with all those new bells and whistles, it’s still the same iPad running the same iOS. It’s an iPad. A device that was perfect when it was released. And then kinda rested on its laurels and iterated with safe bets and predictable improvements.

I’ve been trying to gather why I’ve been so underwhelmed about the new iPad Pros released last week. It’s not that they’re terrible devices, but that they really don’t make a compelling argument for me to replace my iPad Air 2 for work or iPad (5th generation) for personal use. The hardware improvements are certainly amazing, and the new designs are quite compelling, but fundamentally, they aren’t going to allow me to do more at this point in time.

While I would probably be equally disappointed if the new iPads signaled a shift to something new, rendering all prior models obsolete, I think it comes down to software. Even before last week’s announcement, the general consensus are that the iPads are extremely powerful and often hamstrung by iOS. It’s a good start of an operating system, but there are so many little things that can really take advantage of the iPad. The fix is for iOS on the iPad to diverge from iPhones and not to migrate macOS to a tablet.

October 31, 2018

Snippet: Sitting Out Upgrade Cycles ☍

Ben Brooks on yesterday’s iPad Pro updates:

I certainly want them, but I also know I have no need for them. Nothing I do on the 12.9”, aside from playing games, would be made better by the new hardware. And because of that, I think there’s compelling reason to let Apple flesh out this new hardware and Face ID for a bit before I spend quite a lot of money getting one.

I’ve long been saying to people that Apple devices in general have gotten so good, that there’s really not a compelling reason to update them that often. I certainly felt that way with the last round of iPhones, and now after having the iPhone XS for some time, I can say I’ve not noticed any positive impact to my life in upgrading. I think I would mostly feel the same way about the iPad Pro.

This has been my feeling about a lot of things Apple has released lately. On the one hand, it’s amazing that older devices still feel really good after a few years, meaning one can get plenty of use out of them instead of anxiously waiting for the next upgrade. I use an iPad Air 2 at work and it’s still great for everything I ask of it. My home Mac is a 2014 mini (not the base model) and I see no compelling reason to replace it. Devices being useful longer is great because it’s better for your wallet if you don’t upgrade, better for the environment, and keeps a healthy resale market alive.

On the other hand, Apple’s steady price increases to even get in the door on some models is becoming an exhausting experience. What used to be a back-and-forth of iPhone-and-Mac upgrades has grown to a lot more devices every few years. If one was all-in on Apple’s ecosystem, the jump between generations of a similar Mac/iPad/iPhone/Watch arrangement could be over $600 more this time around (the Macs yesterday started at $200-$300 more than before, iPads Pros are $150-$200 more, Watch is $70 more, iPhones are at least $50 more. Accessories like the Apple Pencil have also increased. While few upgrade everything at once, these little increases here or there are a bit concerning.