New iPad Pro amazing for work, but iOS not up to the job

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Wacom Cintiq FTW


That doesn’t seem right considering the number of professionals who have switched over to IOS only (eg, Federico Viticci, Ben Brooks, etc).

It’s more an old dog new tricks kind of situation. Assuming that the apps you need exist on the platform, IOS can be used as your primary computing device… if you are willing to change a lifetime of keyboard/mouse/file system-based computing habits to conform to the new paradigm. If you can’t or won’t, then there are lots of more traditional computers out there that will serve you better.


This doesn’t match my experience. For the way I work - which includes diverse complex tasks and files, photos, notes, creative thought, writing, drawing, meetings, collaboration, human connection, analysis - I can do probably 80% of what I need to on an iPad. Occasionally I see a task that would be better done on a MacBook - if I don’t have it with me,I wait til I get home.

There are things that are easier on a laptop and I can’t go iPad-only; but it’s great to use the iPad most of the time and come back to the laptop only when I need to. I find the iPad’s form factor and portability liberating, and it facilitates much more human connection and non-linear thinking.


It’s a pro toy!


I was going to respond noting that new paradigms sometimes can’t do what old ones can, but thought I should read the article. I stopped reading at the summary, when I saw it has no USB-C storage support.

This means that any additional storage has to be cloud based. And this isn’t about expansion - this is about backups. I know that Adobe and others are pushing creatives to the cloud, but having your own local backup is something a professional of any stripe should keep.

(Ideally, a versioned backup unless the data volume is prohibitive.)

Frankly, this design decision means anyone using this is pretty much dependent on cloud systems. If I were feeling petty, I might go so far as to say “forced into paying tithes in order to continue to access any archive of their own works”.

How extremely you want to portray this is a decision I leave to yourself. But for me, the inability to export my data to storage I control means that it’s not a professional platform. It’s just data loss waiting to happen.


“complexity, slowness, pen latency, bloated OS features and general lack of fun.” None of this matters if Microsoft’s product works and the Apple product doesn’t. Apple is showing zero slowdown in walling off their technology more stringently than ever in order to generate dollars, but if I can’t e-mail a file and be confident someone else, somewhere else can open it, then as much as my teeth grind I can’t buy the Apple product.


I tried to go full iPad Pro with the first gen’s came out. I still have it.

My issues where at the time I could not get MS Word on it. I’d write my drafts in Pages with a keyboard case, and do 90% of my work that way, then I’d have to sit at my iMac at a desk to export to MS Word, to then do the last run of edits, and put it in a format that I could email out. Pages just doesn’t quite cut it.

Now you can have Microsoft products on your iPad, but I’m not sure how much of a cut down version it is, and I haven’t met anyone that has used it. I’m not exactly sure how it works.

I didn’t find the file system as much of an issue, because since I used native apps, and iCloud backup, it all just worked fine for the majority of the time.

I did find that getting a More Purple More Better D&D sheet open on it became my white whale. I eventually got the Adobe app, and wrangled the fuck out of the settings, and got it to work. . . mostly. The native PDF app just doesn’t do what Adobe does. When you have to go back to printing your sheets out because you iPad is too dumb to read it, that’s an issue.

The other thing I use it for is art. I draw a lot on my iPad. I have considered upgrading from the 1st gen to the current one just for that, but I think I can hold off. In this area, it excels. I have a half a dozen art programs, but my current favorite it ProCreate. I create better art with it, than I do with old school paper and canvas.

There is no complete comparable to Photoshop, but it’s getting really really close. Photoshop is supposed to release an iPad version here soon, if they haven’t already, but if they are fronting for their subscription model I’ll stick with what I have. ProCreate comes close, but Sketchbook Pro, and a bunch of lesser known art apps can collectively make up the difference.

The last issue I have is I prefer the Java edition of Minecraft. You have to have a computer for that, so that’s honestly a serious reason I haven’t flipped over to the iPad full time. As long as I’m playing Minecraft Java, or Realms with my wife, it’s just not going to work.

It does make a great travel computer, though. I take it with me and do a lot of writing and art in hotel rooms. It’s lighter than my laptop, and the iCloud backup means if it’s lost or stolen I can buy another and it all comes right back. Plus I can access everything on my computer via iCloud, so even if I can’t adjust Excel spreadsheets, I can see them. That works for now.


I have several friends who are professional artists & use the iPad Pro as their main art tool, mostly using Procreate. There’s no reason to deal with a Windows-ish file system when your mainstay app can easily access the files you’re using. Between and Dropbox it’s very easy to move any files to a desktop for archiving.

I think that if you’re used to a Windows environment, then a Surface is a terrific tool, and I hear really good things about them. But tons of pros are using iPad Pros and loving them.


One is a business coach, the other a blogger specializing in Apple stuff.

These jobs seems singularly amenable to the iOS way, where one person gets to take tasks from concept to completion without significantly involving other people or having to bounce files between multiple applications and version the fuckers.

Which is fine, but it’s a small slice of the working world.

And even there it’s easy to fall out of sync: I thought I’d be perfect for the iPad Pro, being a writer and artiste type, but simply having to do lots of PSD work is what made iOS too troublesome for me, even with all the PSD-compatible apps. These apps generally convert the PSDs to native formats, import them to sandboxes, then output entirely different PSDs to different, essentially cloud-only folders, and it’s all layered in UX abstraction and “Send file to” menu clutter that puts one at a weird remove from it all, so you’re left with superficially similar versions of files in different app sandboxes and places and no real way to clean it all up securely let alone maintain any kind of sane, consistent workflow.


If a fifth of the things you do requires you to switch to a computer, I feel you’ve reinforced rather than rebutted Patel’s point.

Still, though, it does bear pointing out that if you do have dead-simple workflows (“I’m a novelist who never leaves Word!” “I’m a concept artist and I never even change my brush let alone leave Procreate!”) getting an iPad Pro is literally like leaving a world of shit behind and going to heaven.


Ah, the lamenting of wanting to use a toy in a business environment. iPads are the worst device ever created to work in a business environment. I’m working on one this morning trying to wedge it into our MDM and secure WiFi requirements. After yesterday’s blog of how Apple is turning the screws on its customers, why is this blog now promoting an Apple product? iPad’s are great for browsing the internet and watching videos, not much else.

IIRC, Brooks’s work involves tons of collaboration.

I’m not denying that IOS is unsuited to certain kinds of work. I’m saying that the stumbling block seems to be less the enforced simplicity of IOS and more the lack of certain apps (full fledged Photoshop is finally coming to IOS next year, which closes a big gap in the ecosystem) plus a refusal on the part of people to let go of the file system. The file system is a powerful tool but it is also a ball and chain of complexity and confusion. Giving it up can be liberating just as much as it can be frustrating.

I don’t think that it’s in any way wrong or old fashioned to decide that IOS does not meet your needs. What I’m objecting to is people saying “IOS is not up to the job”, because that’s rarely correct anymore and it’s becoming more and more incorrect with every passing year. A true statement would be “IOS is not the right OS for the work I do/ the way I do my work.”

ETA: I don’t know what it is about computers that makes people lose their minds this way, but it seems to be very hard for nerds and tech writers especially to understand that “this device is not what I need to do my job” does not mean you can legitimately say “this device is not suited to doing my job/jobs in general.” There are entire blogs devoted to perfecting workflows on IOS. A non trivial number of people use Ipads as their main computing device with which they make their living.


iMac or MacBook products can be used in a Windows domain, but they’re still a PITA, almost always requiring VMWare to support access of databases etc. An iPad shoud never be purchased in an established business environment. Perhaps for individuals in their own business it would work, but pretending iPad’s are sufficient for working domains, it’s not.

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I’m not sure what sort of ‘business environment’ you’re using an iPad for. They’re used every day in creative businesses, hospitals, as cash registers, as notepads, etc. I’ve seen car salesmen using them for paperwork. Restaurants use them for menus or POP payment systems. They’re a terrific tool for tons of things and are extremely popular. For accounting, maybe not.


That’s because it’s not up to the job.


Basically, anyone who has a lot of files (photos / videos especially) can’t use an iPad Pro because you can’t just plug in an external hard disk.


I have a Surface Pro 4 with an i7 CPU and it’s pretty terrific. I was fortunate to be able to work with an Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd gen), and I had a great experience with it but I kept going back to the Surface at times when I needed an full featured PC program. The iPad Pro is a pretty sharp device. Apple wants a lot of money for the latest model & when you factor in a pen, keyboard, and dongles for the iPad it’s definitely not cheap. At this point both tablets are pretty great. I did go back to my Surface and I’m probably going to buy the newest one. I wish Apple would stop messing around and build a real Mac OS iPad. Until then my Surface Pro seamlessly fits in to my Mac environment at home and with the PC/Mac’s at work.

Rent seeking all the way down.


The lack of a user-controlled file system is the greatest limitation to the use of iOS for a professional workflow. It’s true that for 90% of the time, the invisibility of the OS makes using iOS easy and unobtrusive…

But the second you need to move a file from one place to another, the OS just presents itself as a giant wall to productivity… Suddenly I’m emailing myself… wait, no, the file size is too big… Ok, no worries, I’ll just drop it in my google drive… and then… wait, the app I need the file in doesn’t have access to the google drive app?!? No, it’s no problem… I’ll just open the file in the… uh… the notes app and then…uh, copy the file and then paste it in the place I want to use it! Fucking awesome!