In recent years Apple has had some fun with its iPad marketing, often making jokes about the ‘out of date computer’. This year is no different with the use of the tagline ‘The Correct Way to Use a Computer’ for its 2020 version of the iPad Pro. Apple wants to change the way consumers view the idea of modern computing, and even if the Ad from late 2017 wherein a young child asks ‘What is a computer?’ was poorly received, the final message of the ad ‘With iPad Pro + iOS 11, a post PC world is closer than you think’ says it all.
The wide range of accessories and software updates that have been released in recent times is testimony to this and Apple is certainly going in hard to make this a reality.
With IOS update 13.4, Apple included enhanced mouse and trackpad support and redesigned the cursor and its functionality. The traditional arrow-shaped cursor was replaced with a circle that can be customized in several ways, including color, size, and the way it interacts with App icons to name just a few.
Whilst it will no doubt take a while for the majority of developers to include this new support in their App’s, this step shows Apple’s vision to increase the iPad’s capabilities and open it up to even more creative professionals. By giving the incredible processing power and portability of the products the software to make use of it, Apple is hoping to bring its consumers further into the ecosystem.
In terms of hardware, the Apple Pencil was a great start for graphic designers, artists, and writers but it has limitations and some things that are just easier with a mouse. Tasks like Video and Music editing are possible, but when it’s faster and easier to do on an actual computer people aren’t going to want to make the change in a hurry. Mouse and trackpad support makes the argument all the more compelling, and so does Apple’s latest creation.
The accessory market already has a wide variety of Bluetooth connected keyboard cases, mice and trackpads available, but with the new mouse and trackpad Apple have the need for an all-new product that has both in one. Here, we say hello to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. A brand new folio case that includes a full-size, back-lit scissor-switch keyboard and trackpad designed intentionally with Multi-touch gestures and cursor designed for natural use with iOS that magnetically connects to your iPad. And to add a special touch that warrants its ‘Magical’ name, it floats using a cantilever design to give you the best viewing angles.
Add this to your iPad Pro and you have yourself a pseudo-computer that costs as much as a baseline Macbook Air, if you go for the cheapest configuration possible, and more if you choose to add a Pencil to the mix. So the question is why would people want to?
The original iPad was by nature and design a device made for media consumption and portability. You no longer have to hold or carry weightier objects if you want to watch a movie or read an e-book whilst traveling, so for the regular consumer who consumes media, browses the web, writes a few e-mails and does little word-processing, the iPad without a physical keyboard can replace a laptop.
But for the professional, who likes to create, edit, and consume media on the go, is the iPad with all its accessories a better option, considering that they’re very similar in weight, thickness, and price?
If you’re a graphic designer, photo editor, or even a writer who makes use of the pencil and the many apps that support it, then the answer could quite easily be yes. Throw on the magic keyboard and you’ve turned your tablet into a fully functional ‘computer’ in a hot second and all your word-processing and email management can easily be done on the same device.
For video and music editors, however, the answer isn’t as clearcut. For working on quick edits and showing off bits of work on the go, it’s easy enough to say yes, but not many people would want to purchase a whole other system alongside an already expensive and powerful Macbook or iMac.
Apple is certainly trying to change the way we think of computing and doing all it can to change the way we do it physically too, but for their message, it’s ‘The Correct Way to Use a Computer’, we might still be a way off for everyone just yet.