Thinner, lighter, faster; small side bezels, Face ID. There. Was that so hard? Maybe we’ll get a few new Macs to fill out the line for the average user, but it won’t matter. iPad still has a problem and Apple won’t fix it.
In its original form, Steve Jobs placed iPad perfectly between the iPhone and Mac to ensure that Apple’s faithful customers would buy one of each. The end result was better than expected and iPad became Apple’s fastest growing hit product ever. Better than Mac, better than iPod, better than iPhone.
After a few hundred million iPads were sold and Apple’s customers decided to keep them forever instead of getting new models every couple of years, the bandwagon hit a brick wall. iPad sales took a nosedive because Apple did little to change the form factor or give customers more reasons to buy upgraded models. An iPad is a tablet. That’s all it was. That’s all it is. A handheld touchscreen device for the masses.
Input. It’s all about input. iPad, like iPhone, is a touchscreen device and that’s exactly how most of us use iPads; regardless of how old they are. They are, for the most part, a content consumption device that can double up and do more, but usually falls short of the heavy lifting capability you get with a Mac.
What’s so special about the Mac? Keyboard. Mouse (or, trackpad).
Yes, you can hook up Apple’s ridiculously expensive Smart Keyboard and get some work done, but there’s still no mouse input so navigating around the screen is a good source of tennis elbow and other shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand ailments. You can also add an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard and bang away on whatever Word document you need to crank out, but anyone who has used both knows that real work is handled on the Mac.
iPad can work, but doesn’t do real work. The Mac is the workplace workhorse thanks to a sweet combo of keyboard and mouse (or, trackpad; but to be honest, I still use a mouse with my MacBook Pro because old habits are hard to break).
Why doesn’t Apple add good keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) support to iOS and iPad?
What Steve Jobs did not fear– cannibalization– Apple seems deathly afraid of these days. Why buy a Mac when you can get an iPad to do much the same thing but for less money. The original iPad was positioned between Mac and iPhone for a reason.
Hardware sales. Apple is a hardware company. That’s where the money comes from. Apple may sell double the number of iPads vs. Mac, but their revenue remains about the same and if too many Apple customers move from Mac– or don’t upgrade as often– to an iPad that can do more than a Mac, including real work, then Apple loses and customers win.
It all boils down to input. iPad needs a Mac-like user interface with focus on keyboard, mouse, or trackpad so our hands can stay where God intended. On the keyboard. As it stands now, a fully equipped iPad Pro to rival a MacBook is priced about the same as the Mac. That’s by design, folks.
So, Apple; get wise. Improvement the iPad’s input options to rival a Mac. Oh, and while you’re at it, bring the Mac a little closer to the iPad with a touchscreen. I’ll buy one of each.