iOS is what's holding Apple's iPad back

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iOS is what's holding Apple's iPad back
There's no denying that Apple's latest iPad Pro is a productivity monster in a class of its own. The hardware-crunching athlete is the nightmare of all synthetic benchmark test around, and can be usually found sitting atop the benchmark charts. It's clear at this point that the iPad is not only here to stay, but also looking forward to quickly evolve from being merely the best-selling tablet to a productivity device that should rival even mid-range laptops in terms of performance. 

As that Apple ad playfully asked, "what's a computer"?

However, there is a setback that is really hindering the iPad from becoming the true productivity powerhouse Apple so badly wants it to become, something that is restricting the slate from showcasing its full potential. 

The name of the setback? iOS.

iOS on the iPad desperately needs a file system

Truth is, Apple's mobile operating system has never been oriented towards power-users and has always emphasized on a intuitive user experience. As such, iOS on the iPad Pro is already pushing things as far as overall usability goes. iOS lacks a proper user-accessible file system, and while the Files app was a small step in the right direction, it doesn't really offer the same level of functionality that Finder on the Mac, other desktop operating systems, or even Android do. Sure, Drag and Drop as well as the split view have all made iOS on the iPad slightly more geared to power-users, but this hardly cuts it for professionals... which brings us to another downside of iOS compared to desktop systems.

Lack of truly professional software

While many popular productivity apps are available on the iPad, they can be viewed as exceptions to the rule and not as a rule themselves. A desktop-grade Photoshop is coming to the iPad this year, but it's merely the tip of the iceberg as far as Adobe's products go. What about real versions of Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, and so on? Many of these might not ring the same bell as loudly as Photoshop does, but they are still the unsung heroes of many professional fields like video editing and design. And not let's get started on the lack of SolidWorks and real CAD software on iOS...

No mouse, no external storage support

Additionally, the lack of mouse support or even the option to hook up an external hard drive with all of your important files are yet another two major drawbacks that are hindering the iPad Pro--and iOS for that matter--from walking the walk and transforming itself from a blown-up alternative of your iPhone to a MacBook Lite of sorts. 

Of course, it wouldn't be logical for Apple to make the iPad cannibalize the MacBook, but from all that post-PC era talk, you'd think Cupertinians would want to make the latest iPad that much more usable in strictly professional scenarios. The hardware is more than capable of handling such tasks, so it truly is the software that has hamstrung the iPad. Until that happens, it will likely remain the weapon of choice for professions that don't rely on dedicated software that much. 

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23 Comments

1. Vancetastic

Posts: 1539; Member since: May 17, 2017

I can’t disagree...and with iPhone screens getting bigger and bigger, the iPad needs something...more.

14. japkoslav

Posts: 1517; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Not just iPads but iPhone Max as well. I am kinda curious when they will copy what Samsung is doing for years for their devices in terms of "big screen improvements" to OS and UI.

16. Georgio

Posts: 258; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Never!

19. japkoslav

Posts: 1517; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

So same UI for iPod and iPad and iPhone Max is good enough for you? Well lucky you, I hate UI on my iPad Pro, it's utterly inefficient.

22. Georgio

Posts: 258; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

I have a note 8 and an iPhone xs... I think they can do better than what we have now, but I'm quaiet till ios 13 comes. Let's see what happens,if they don't make a real change in the OS, I'm not going to be very happy...

18. Vancetastic

Posts: 1539; Member since: May 17, 2017

I’m curious what iOS 13 may bring. I’m keeping my expectations low.

34. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

The thing is, the last time they attempted to get feature parity with Android it was iOS 8, the worst iOS to date. They still haven't fixed 3rd part keyboards from that update and basically took 2 iterations to stabilize iOS from that disaster. Then they added for managers, throttling (it's a feature) and what not in 11, and have since been fixing that nightmare. I don't think they can add anything without breaking even more.

2. torr310

Posts: 1670; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

As an Android user, I didn't know iOS doesn't have a file system... a file system seems necessity to me.

28. Vokilam

Posts: 1273; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Torr310. There are hundreds of different file system apps in the App Store that can do everything from storing files to remote integration to hosting websites (i have successfully hosted my entire site on my iPhone 5s five years ago via ftp - it was slow but easy and defenstwly possible). I use PhotoSync app to drop files back and forth (mostly media) from my camera roll. And back into it. There are apps with as many or as little features to take care all your needs. Never been an issue.

3. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1438; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

The A12X couldn't handle a proper OS. The actual performance cross platform, between and iOS device and a proper x86-x64 OS would leave it trailing in the dust of most mid-range Intel and AMD processors. That's why Apple won't use their SoCs, because people would realize they suck when not running iOS.

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4259; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I don't think that's true at all. I think the SoC is well capable of handling a more robust os like MAC, etc.

11. Greenmule

Posts: 129; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

Therefore, Apple are backing themselves into a corner and they will have to fork iOS. I think they will have to fork 3 times. And that becomes the nightmare. But that's where Apple currently lives. It's difficult enough keeping one iOS straight, much less 2 or 3 iOSs.

23. AmashAziz

Posts: 2931; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Yes, Absolutely true that is! If you put the A12X in a windows machine, the SoC’s performance would be cut in almost half!! But do you know the reason behind it? You don’t, so let me tell you in ‘simple’ words: It’s bcoz the A12X would constantly have to convert its coding from ARM to X86....in real time. Which would put a huge dent in its performance for other tasks. Many people, including you, just don’t know this fact and therefore keep spitting opinions about how the A12X is weak in so and so ways. When even Geekbench’s founder has said that scores are comparable across platforms. If Apple designed the A12X for x86 instead, it would probably retain its performance and crush many other CPUs in most tasks. But until that happens, you can keep believing the A12X is too weak for anything. You probably think even then Core 2 Quad is more powerful than the A12X! That’s how delusional you smart guys are.

4. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

Has anyone ever tried to flash/install (not sure the correct term) an iPad with MacOS? iPads will never be laptop replacements unless Apple decides no more McAirs and McAir Pros. Not going to happen.

24. AmashAziz

Posts: 2931; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

What’s a McAir?

30. Vancetastic

Posts: 1539; Member since: May 17, 2017

It’s the new low calorie burger from McDonalds.

31. AmashAziz

Posts: 2931; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Haha, that makes sense!!

5. ahmadkun

Posts: 611; Member since: May 02, 2016

To simplify it .. it's like you put Lamborghini's engine on a pike

6. hpspectrex360

Posts: 57; Member since: May 10, 2017

I think they should make a separate power user-friendly version of iOS just for the iPad, and call it something like iOS Pro. It could have exclusive apps, etc. that have the same capabilities as their desktop counterparts, but be optimized for touch and stylus.

8. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Whoa finally, and I didn't expect this coming from PA, kudos Peter!

9. path45th

Posts: 406; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

What is holding back the iPad? Mostly people who are too pc-minded to use the iPad for what it is: an iPad!

35. caseyg

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 15, 2019

I just wish they would allow a dual boot scenario. Especially on iPads. Click a button in settings and confirm to reboot into Mac OS. Files App becomes your File System Share between both OS's. I would think it would require a partition and so unfortunately you would lose drive space. But I think it would be worth it to most people.

36. caseyg

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 15, 2019

I just wish they would allow a dual boot scenario. Especially on iPads. Click a button in settings and confirm to reboot into Mac OS. Files App becomes your File System Share between both OS's. I would think it would require a partition and so unfortunately you would lose drive space. But I think it would be worth it to most people.

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