Microsoft is right; the iPad is a kid’s toy

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“Gramdma don’t run out and buy an iPad. Fine when I was six but now I’m 10. My dreams are big so I need a real computer.”

Microsoft’s Surface Go 2018 Holiday ad doesn’t pull its punches. And in many ways they’re right. The iPad is a kid’s toy.

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The iPad is one of those devices that I’ve tried to love. I really have. I’ve owned quite a few in my time, and had the opportunity to test most of the iPads that Apple has released.

After I’d grown tired to trying to make the iPad fit my workflow (no amount of throwing external keyboards or apps at it could make it work for me, and it ended up being used as a mouse mat until it was rescued by a family member), I then gave the iPad Pro a try.

While the iPad Pro did overcome some of the issues that I felt kept the iPad back, but it I still couldn’t make it work anywhere near as effectively as using a laptop. I was fighting an uphill battle, and trying to make do with the iPad Pro felt like I was waiting time and effort. Sure, it was better than using my iPhone, but I was nowhere near as efficient as when I was using a laptop.

The problem with the iPad and iPad Pro wasn’t so much the size – the display on the bigger iPad Pro is more than adequate for most of what I do. The problem was the operating system.

iOS is great on a smartphone, but I don’t feel that it scales up well to a device that wants to be a laptop replacement. There are just too many limitations, relating both to how iOS has been designed to work, and to the software that’s available for it.

Now you might be thinking that it’s not an iPad issue that I have, but that it’s down to the fact that tablets don’t fit in with my workflow.

I hate to tell you this, but this is wrong. How do I know this? Because I have a number of Windows-powered tablets – including a Surface Go – and I don’t find the same limitations when using these devices.

Compared to the versatility that the Surface Go offers, the iPad, even the iPad Pro, does indeed feel like a tablet made for a six year old. And remember, the Surface Go is the budget model. To make the comparison a fair one, we should the comparing the iPad Pro to the Surface Pro.

And the Surface Pro blows away the iPad Pro.

The problem is clear – it’s Apple’s insistence on running iOS on the iPad Pro. If the iPad Pro ran macOS – and I have no doubt that the hardware is powerful enough to do just that – then it would be pretty much the perfect device.

Who knows, maybe Apple has a macOS-powered iPad in the works for 2019. I’m not holding my breath for one though.

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