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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

WWDC2019 – iPadOS

posted on Tuesday 11th of June 2019 in , ,

It is no secret that I am a big fan of the iPad. While most people talk about media consumption, I see it as a productivity device. With iPadOS we are actually getting a lot closer to being able to get work done without changing known paradigms on how „things are being done“.

Considering the iPad as productivity device is one of those topics you can discuss for hours and still end up with people sticking to their existing opinion. I think there are a few very convincing points you can make for the iPad, if the kind of work you do matches the devices capabilities.

Price is not really an argument in favor of the iPad after its last iteration. With the keyboard, the pencil, some storage you are easily in the price range of a traditional MacBook. And thanks to the usual lifespan of a MacBook (ignoring obvious technical deficits we have seen in the last two iterations) an argument for the iPad being cheaper over 5 years can also not be made.

With iPadOS We are seeing a lot features regular users requested since they are part of their regular workflow. Copying files from a USB drive? Sure. Two Word documents side by side? Okay. We can joke and mock those features as „enterprise-y“, but those are exactly the features preventing a lot of users from using the iPad for more than pure media consumption. Too many tradeoffs.

And considering the added „enterprise features“ – imagine how many people from your executive and non engineering team you could transition to an iPad. In most startups you find some web applications, some cloud storage and some apps for documents and spreadsheets that legal, finance, upper management,… are using on a daily basis and require to get their job done. We are getting close, really close to being able to make this possible.

Now I might hear some of you complaining about screen real estate, mice and keyboards. Hook up an external screen, connect the standard Magic keyboard people would be using anyway and let us hope the mouse support through the accessibility features is more than an ugly, grey dot on screen.

Safari bringing a desktop like web browser experience to the iPad seems to be something people appreciate. I do not really get it, but I also never had any problems with Safari mobile and I prefer to use native apps whenever I can instead of a web app.

I usually receive some mockery for working a lot on the iPad, but hey, works for me. Even for some light software development thanks to Neovim and Blink. I know, I know, there is a computer somewhere, but not on my lap, not somewhere in my proximity and without anyone but my wife or myself near it. Especially when traveling that is something I really appreciate.

The iPad is getting better and better as a productivity device, and I’m curious to see how far Apple will go.