Freedom? More on that in a moment. Second, for some of us Mac users, and certainly for many Windows PC users, an iPad could– could, under the right circumstances and conditions– entirely replace what a PC does for the great unwashed masses of traditional computer users. How?
Elementary, Dear Watson
Why Mac sales continue to grow in the face of Windows PC sales dropping continues to amaze me. Macs. Cost. More. That’s where cost is equal to price, of course (I don’t want to get into the whole ‘TCO’ issue right now; we all know where it goes). Obviously, people recognize that quality and value are worth a higher price tag.
Why are iPad sales declining when an iPad could be a good substitute for a traditional Windows PC notebook, and even for more expensive Macs? After all, common understanding is that the masses just need the basics; a browser, email, photos, music, calendar, some games, and sync capability between devices, and no maker does it better than Apple. Toss in Google apps and Microsoft Office with keyboard and it’s hard to tell an iPad Pro from a Windows PC touchscreen hybrid notebook tablet.
Even iOS apps come in greater number than apps for the Mac or apps for Windows PCs. So, while the continuing drop in sales?
In a word, functionality. Or, in two words, perceived functionality. For many who avoid swapping out a PC notebook for an iPad the decision boils down to a few basic issues.
File System – Windows and Mac users have an accessible, organizable file system. The iPad and iOS, not so much. No Finder for you, iPad user.
Attachments – Windows and Mac users have all kinds of attachments; USB this or that which add more functionality and capability. iPad users can choose from cases and keyboards. True, there’s Apple’s new Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, and the Lightning to SD Card Reader, but I’ve never ever seen one in the wild.
Multitasking – This is a misnomer because multitasking isn’t really what we want or get. We want multiple apps or utilities on the screen at the same time; just like Mac and Windows PCs have done for decades. iPad? No. Can. Do. Unless you have a bigger iPad, and even then it’s just two apps side-by-side on the screen with no positioning options. Even then, iPad Pro users rave over that capability. What’s wrong with loosening up apps so they can float around, be resized, and move wherever we choose?
Perceived Value – Let’s face it. The best iPads are the most expensive iPads, and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro does not compare well to a touchscreen hybrid notebook tablet, even with keyboard, at half the price– unless you know what you’re getting, where it belongs in your workflow, and you don’t mind the aforementioned and Apple sanctioned flaws.
Personally, I can live without the accessory gadgets on an iPad. I can get over the perceived value issue quickly enough, but I would prefer a built-in Finder-like file system that I manage and control my way and I would like to have a Mac vestige… insert drum roll here… a visible Dock.
Traditionally, Mac users switch between apps by clicking an app on the Dock. More experienced Mac users stick to the keyboard and switch with Command-Tab. On my iPad I have to use four fingers to swipe around, or leave what I’m viewing double-tap the Home button, sort through recently opened apps to get to the right one. A slide out Dock-like pane could reduce a few of those steps, and a Finder-like file management system could make the iPad Pro a more acceptable replacement for the Mac.