The iPad’s Other Shoe Has Dropped

Matt Gemmell’s full-time computer is his iPad, so he has some thoughts on the big changes coming in iOS 11:

The presence of a persistent dock, for example, changes the whole language of the machine. It’s no longer a phone-like launcher, with app sessions sitting on top; it’s a task-focused device, where you can arbitrarily branch to other areas as you wish. The Home screen has been demoted from its hub status, and instead it becomes the Mac’s Launchpad, to which it gave its look and functionality.

Drag and drop, with cross-app persistence, multiple non-modal sessions, and multi-touch adding and stacking, is an example of what iOS and the iPad should be all about: showing how we can not only replicate sophisticated desktop-era interactions on a touch device, but even improve upon them by being freed from the tyranny of the pointer.

Aurélien Che’s recording of stacking multiple kinds of objects and being able to drop them individually really indicates the power of upgrading an old computer paradigm for a device that you can directly manipulate with your fingers. It has been a long time coming, but it’s extraordinary.

Gemmell also posted a slow-motion video of scrolling on his new iPad Pro. It’s so smooth that it makes the 60 Hz display of his old Pro look like a basic animation, rather than pushing the webpage up and down. I hope ProMotion comes to every single one of Apple’s devices, but I’d especially like to see it on the Apple TV — potential technical limitations aside, it would allow movies to be shown at their correct frame rate.