John Scalzi road tests the iPad Pro

Originally published at: John Scalzi road tests the iPad Pro | Boing Boing


He’s also wrong about staying on Twitter. Otherwise he is among the finest of humans.


The fact that the iPad Pro is around the same cost as a MacBook Air with a fraction of the capability is just ridiculous to me. Yes, it’s fast and has touch/pen input (if that’s important to you) but iPad OS is and remains so limiting in many ways that it just doesn’t make sense as a general purpose computing device.

There’s no reason it has to be that way. Microsoft Surface devices manage to pack full Windows into an iPad-like form factor and it works well as a general purpose computing device or tablet.

It just seems like further evidence of Apple’s unwillingness to either add touch support into MacOS or to take steps to make iPadOS more than “big iPhone” with its capabilities.


I’m tech support for a friend in his 80s, he’s really not computer savy at all but he has an iPhone and iPad.

He recently had to upgrade and asked my opinion, I said if money is no object get the pro because of it’s size.

He calls me all the time when he’s down south for the winter.

I actually bought an iPad so I could walk him through some simple tasks when he gets stuck.

Side note: Apple, please come up with a remote control option so I can better help people.

I was trying to help him a while back, he kept describing what was on the screen when he tapped something, it was not what it should be.

Took me a while to figure out he was using the pencil, it would tap whenever it got close to a button even if it wasn’t touching the screen.

Now when he calls I remind him to put the pencil down and use his finger. Solved most issues.

When I get some time I’m going to grab his iPad and see what kind of sensitively settings there are.

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If it’s a gen 2 pencil, your friend might have the same habit I have of tapping on the pencil, which iOS can be configured to recognize for actions. (Example Procreate can use a double tap to toggle between the current brush and eraser; it can be infuriating until you recognize what it’s doing and find the option to turn it off, or adjust your behavior.)

I couldn’t find any sensitivity settings in the control panel, but it might be hidden somewhere else- Apple likes doing that. :frowning:

Same issue with Android tablets, really. In terms of processing power they could easily replace a laptop for most people, but if you want to do anything more complicated than watch Netflix it just feels like the machine is fighting you the whole time. You can’t do multiple windows conveniently, file management is atrocious, can’t extend the screen to an external monitor… At least on Android, you can more easily get software from other places and connect peripherals not sanctioned by the manufacturer. The way Apple hates you for wanting to use a mouse. I guess I could make it work if I just needed a typewriter, but at €1100+ (including the keyboard) that’d be insane when I’d have a much better time using a budget Windows laptop that’s half the price.

I think we’ll be stuck with this tablet/laptop divide for a very long time (maybe forever).

Touch interfaces are fundamentally different and incompatible with mouse/keyboard interfaces. If you’ve ever used Windows 8 on a touch-screen laptop, you’ve seen this in action. It’s a hot mess. Using a traditional GUI with touch is terrible. Everything is too small for fingers, and controls are not oriented with mindfulness of the areas of screen blocked by your hand. Gestures have to replace multiple mouse buttons and UX paradigms are completely different for the two schema.

Apps have to be designed entirely differently for touch and mouse/keyboard. I doubt an OS that works well with both can be designed, honestly. Windows 8 Metro tried really hard and it’s a train wreck that MS wisely left behind quickly.

I think Apple and Google both grok this, which is why they are taking baby steps or no steps to bridge this divide. It’s telling that Microsoft is the only company to take a serious swing at it. UI/UX is not their strong suit and they didn’t know they shouldn’t try.

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Word. I can’t be doing with Apple’s sugar coated topping of a file system.

Given that Windows for Pen Computing (for Windows 3.1x) was released in 1992 with grandiose claims of “now we have computers powerful enough to make this work like a dream” I’m gonna go with “forever”.
Or at least not within my lifetime, and looking at my parents I should be good for another 50 years or so.

Incidentally, mum uses an iPod, dad uses an iPhone. Intensively. Which, ironically, kinda made me feel that Apple gear is for old people.

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In a way, you’re right. :smile: Apple’s GUI team has always heavily stressed accessibility, going all the way back. For example, the Mac OS menu bar is at the top of the screen, not the tops of the application windows, because that gives you a backstop to run the mouse pointer up against. This makes it possible for someone with limited manual dexterity (the elderly, people with MS or Parkinson’s, etc) to still have a decent chance at using the menus.

Like all accessibility, this benefits everyone. That same design makes regularly-abled people a lot faster at grabbing menus while causing less fatigue and less RSI. In the same way that a curb cut might be intended for wheel chairs, but also benefits the parent with a stroller, the delivery person with a dolly, and the little kid with a bicycle.

So if an old person is using something, that’s a good indicator it is well designed.

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