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Snippet: The “Almost” Device ☇

Shared on July 16, 2019

Niko Kitsakis:

The other users of iPads I see are the occasional old man on the train and, of course, toddlers. The former thinks he’s being young and hip and the latter can’t hold a real game controller in his hands yet. I have never ever seen anybody use an iPad – or any other tablet – to do what I consider real work: writing, design, calculation, science, engineering… you name it. And no, people on stage at tech conferences with proofs of concept don’t count. Nor does using it for a couple of hours a month.

While there are some good points brought up in this article, I think the vast number of pro-iPad articles out there are mainly to show the neat things that people are doing on these devices. It’s no different than every obscure computing platform in the 1980s having its own group of fans. iOS is my main operating system for work without another computer anywhere near my desk. It’s nice that things are scalable from my phone to a larger device (12.9″ iPad Pro) and jumping on a random Mac or PC feels out of place and inconsistent. I also think there’s room for all sorts of devices and workflows, but for me, I prefer iOS and how it lets me focus on the task at hand.

…Like I said: I certainly see the iPad in the future of computing but it is not the be-all and end-all of computing. It’s a nice device for certain limited tasks that works best in conjuncture with a “big” computer. The sheer fact that access to the file system is something of an afterthought (the crippled “Files” app, released seven years after the iPad) tells you everything you need to know about the real scope of the device. And don’t even get me started on the topic of not being able to freely install applications from any source you like.

Even at home, a “big” computer is something that I could probably ditch at this point, but lower resale value and never knowing what the future holds are the reasons I’m keeping it around at this point. While I’m looking forward to USB drive support and SMB server support in iOS iPadOS 13, the lack of full file system access hasn’t been a detriment. I suspect if I was the kind of person who was regularly dealing with large quantities of files, I’d probably still want a Mac or PC, even after iPadOS 13. Finding the best tool for the job is important and mine happens to have a touchscreen.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.