On Touch Screen Macs birchtree.me

Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal:

[Apple vice president of iPad and Mac product marketing Tom] remained firm: iPads are for touch, Macs are not. “MacOS is for a very different paradigm of computing,” he said. He explained that many customers have both types of devices and think of the iPad as a way to “extend” work from a Mac. Apple’s Continuity easily allows you to work across devices, he said.

So there you have it, Apple wants you to buy…both? If you pick one, you live with the trade-offs. I did ask Boger if Apple would ever change its mind on the touch-screen situation.

“Oh, I can’t say we never change our mind,” he said. One can only hope.

Matt Birchler, commenting on a somewhat disingenuous article from Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac:

This is fair, and if you were forced to use a touch screen Mac on a vertical screen with no keyboard or mouse to help, then sure, I believe that would be a tiring experience as well. What I find frustrating about this idea is that it lacks imagination. I get the impression that people who hate the idea of touch on Macs can only imagine the current laptops with a digitizer in the screen detecting touch. It’s kind of ironic, but this is exactly the sort of thinking that Apple so rarely does. As we often say, Apple doesn’t add technology for the sake of technology, they add features users will enjoy.

Apple has never pretended the iPad is a tablet Mac. As I wrote several years ago, it has been rebuilding desktop features for a touch-first environment: multitasking, multiwindowing, support for external pointing devices, a file browser, a Dock, and so on. This is an impressive array of features which reference and reinterpret longtime Mac features while respecting the iPad’s character.

But something is missing for some number of people. Developers and users complain annually about the frustrations they experience with iPadOS. A video from Quinn Nelson illustrates how tricky the platform is. One of the great fears of iPad users is that increasing its capability will necessarily entail increasing its complexity. But the iPad is already complicated in ways that it should not be. There is nothing about the way multiwindowing works which requires it to be rule-based and complicated in the way Stage Manager often is.

Perhaps a solution is to treat the iPad as only modestly evolved from its uniwindow roots with hardware differentiated mostly by niceness. I disagree; Apple does too. The company clearly wants it to be so much more. It made a capable version of Final Cut Pro for iPad models which use the same processor as its Macs, but it makes you watch the progress bar as it exports a video because it cannot complete the task in the background.

iPadOS may have been built up from its touchscreen roots but, let us not forget, it is also built up from smartphone roots — and the goals and objectives of smartphone and tablet users can be very different.

What if it really did make more sense for an iPad to run MacOS, even if that is only some models and only some of the time? What if the best version of the Mac is one which is convertible to a tablet that you can draw on? What if the most capable version of an iPad is one which can behave like a Mac when you need it? None of this would be simple or easy. But I have to wonder: is what Apple has been adding for fourteen years produced a system which remains as simple and easy to use as it promises for its most dedicated iPad customers?