Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The iPad’s Renaissance

John Paczkowski had the chance earlier this week to speak with Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller about Apple’s new iPad Pro models and the iPad-specific enhancements coming in iOS 11:

For a while — since its inception — iOS has been iPhone-first, with nods to the iPad as well.

This is the first time that iOS has (seemingly) been designed from the get-go with the iPad at top of mind. While last year’s iPad Pro may have delivered on hardware, without a strong OS update to match, it felt incomplete as a “primary” computer. Yet given this new operating system — especially when taken together with this year’s hardware — it feels like the iPad may be at another inflection point.

Apparently, the silicon used to drive iPad displays at 120 Hz took four years to develop. The software features in iOS 11 seem like they’ve taken a couple of years on their own to design and build. Consider, for instance, the drag and drop feature: it seems so simple, but — as noted in this years Platforms State of the Union presentation — Apple paid considerable attention to the security of a drag and drop operation, and it required APFS to be fast enough.

As much as the past couple of years have felt a little bit like a drought for the iPad — iPad Pro hardware aside — the innovations launched this year truly feel like a renaissance for the product line. Apple really is trying to tick all the boxes to make the iPad the best computer for most people, most of the time. I just hope that they can keep up the momentum, and not tick-tock between releases of iOS that seem primarily designed for the iPhone, and releases made for the iPad.