The new iPadOS release from Apple aims to do something revolutionary with the iPad tablet, namely transform it into a serious production laptop. Apple has dabbled with this concept in the past, but is the iPad now ready to replace your laptop computer?
Statement of intent
iPadOS is a statement of intent from Apple, clearly aimed at ensuring that its iPad range can effectively and efficiently do way more than the simple tasks that are typically associated with tablets. Just the change of branding in itself indicates that Apple intends to do something completely new and exciting with the iPad going forward.
Top of the list of improvements for this next generation software is significantly improved multitasking features. Apple has built on some of the functionality already included in the iPad series, but has also introduced the completely new feature of multiple windows. This makes it far more feasible to multitask with the iPad series, definitely opening up its potential as a productivity device.
Updates to the Files and Safari software included in iOS also makes a massive difference to the scope of the operating system. In particular, the ability to open multiple windows at one time with the Safari browser means that the iPad can much more readily function in a manner akin to a laptop. Any professional or freelancer using productivity platforms will tell you that this is an essential feature.
The iPad’s virtual touchpad also works extremely well, while the iPad also supports Microsoft Office and comes complete with iWork. And the tablet can even do some jobs better than many laptops. For example, the rear-mounted camera makes it possible to shoot a home movie, while the 12MP front-facing camera included is as good as many smartphone snappers.
The iPad is also easily powerful enough to be a strong portable gaming machine, making it a rival for the likes of Nintendo’s Switch; useful at a time when Apple is strongly promoting its Apple Arcade platform.
However, there are still a few issues with the iPad that could lead you to stick with your laptop. For example, storage space is a little slim, with the latest model offering a relatively paltry 256GB. iCloud offers a solution, but also charges a monthly fee for storing your data. Some users have also found some of the navigation associated with the new features to be fiddly.
Also, the new functionality is slick and impressive, as one would expect from Apple software, the new emphasis with the iPad does create something of a quandary. It’s great that this is now a much more capable computer, but it does also somewhat defeat the point of the iPad in the first place.
The iPad is supposed to be quick, slick, and user-friendly, and Apple already has its hugely popular MacBook range for the laptop enthusiast. It does make you wonder whether the new changes will be received enthusiastically by the established audience for the iPad. Nonetheless, one can understand why Apple has made this decision, considering it is generally regarded that the potential tablet market is dwindling.
In summary, the iPad Pro can now very strongly imitate the best laptops available, but the jury remains out on whether serious users of those laptops will be willing to migrate.