iPad v MacBook - it's not just programmers

Monumental and fascinating piece by Mr Vittici

Working on the iPad: One Year Later, Still My Favorite Computer – MacStories

In some corners of the Apple community, too, the iPad has suffered from faltering evangelism due to an unwillingness to recognize iOS as a valid productivity environment. Across multiple blogs and publications, the "you can't get work done on an iPad" argument morphed from intriguing criticism to inconclusive meme that failed to understand the improvements of iOS 8 and iOS 9. For example, a common take on using the iPad as a primary computer I've seen is to dismiss it as "jumping through hoops" or, more amusingly, as "masochism". Some of these opinions stem from a one-sided (and often patronizing) perspective: they usually come from programmers who have to use Macs – and only Macs – for a living.

OS X is a fantastic desktop operating system, but it runs on machines that increasingly don't fit the lifestyle of users who, like me, can't sit down at a desk every day. I can't (and I don't want to) depend on Macs anymore because I want a computer that can always be with me. The majority of the world's population doesn't care about Xcode. I want to use an OS without (what I see as) cruft of decades of desktop conventions. I want powerful, innovative apps that I can touch. An iPad is the embodiment of all this.

Not quite right. It's not just programmers. If it was, the debate would be over and OS X would be toast.

It's folk that have to do something in their workflow that's still not practically achievable on a phone OS (For that's what iOS presently is) For me that includes spreadsheets, scanning and auto processing documents, reading wimail.dat attachments that some exchange servers spew out and even dealing with calendar invites which still fox iOS half the time.

It's not just programmers. It's a wide cadre of people that use computers to get stuff done productively across commerce. These people aren't programmers, they are not writers or artists or creators. They are people who work in logistics, supply management, finance, real estate, coms, marketing etc. - they are the white collar army that keeps the western world moving. The phone OS has taken the lower hanging fruit, the first 50-60% of tasks (email, messaging, social media, audio etc) and created use cases that are better than the computer. The remaining 40% is harder. It's a long and diverse tail. The iPad is slowly Salami slicing through those tasks.

I can do more on my iPad than ever could and each time an app like Airmail or Fantastical comes out for iOS another couple of tasks, another 1 or 2% gets shaved off my 'not worth trying to do on iOS list' but Apple needs to make faster inroads into that remaining 40%.

The irony is, by the time the tail of stuff that it's better/easier to do on a computer is less than 20%, by the time tablets are adopted across the piece to do the day to day grind of commerce, iOS (or at least iPad OS) will look a lot more like the hefty cruft of existing desktops.