Apple has made great strides in updating the iPad with the recent release of iOS 11.
The iPad now has added multitasking features that make the iPad Pro to be a viable laptop replacement contender. The new iOS has a dock which looks like something from a MAC computer, and the side-by-side app placement makes it mimic Windows 8. However, are these new changes viable, or are they confusing apple users more?
Starting with the dock
The dock adds more space to pin frequently used apps to the bottom of the iPad screen, and also acts as a control for apps which can be used simultaneously. First time users who were used to swiping from the right to access apps were initially confused, because in iOS 11 you have to swipe from the dock at the bottom. Others were not even aware of the multitasking feature and how they could activate it.
Using two apps at the same time
Apple’s “Split View” feature can be used to run two apps at the same time. Simply tap, hold and drag the app into the split view feature and the two apps will run side by side. However, this will only work when you swipe the dock upwards. You can also do the same using the “Slide Over” view. You drag an app icon on top of another, and two windows will appear and you can proceed to arrange them in a way that you can use both at the same time.
Does it mean that the iPad Pro will replace the Laptop?
Despite all these promising features, Apple would be mistaken to think that the iPad pro will replace the laptop. One thing that Windows 8 came to learn at great pains is that people want to work quickly. They pushed Windows 8 to laptops in an effort to popularize their OS on their Smartphones. However, laptop owners do not want to move their fingers from the laptop and mouse, and then touch the screen to interact with any program that they are using. For example, selecting text for editing using the mouse is much faster on the laptop than selecting the same text on a screen using touch. Now Apple is trying to do the same, but by trying to push laptop features onto the iPad.
The gestures and other shortcuts being added to iOS 11 will probably increase productivity to a certain level, but they cannot truly replace the ease of using a laptop for typing, multitasking, and accuracy when using the mouse. When closing an app on the iPad pro, you would expect that swiping down would close it quickly, but if you miss the touch target, the app may go into Split View. When closing a program on the laptop using the mouse, the action is swift and accurate, thereby speeding up your work process. Although Apple is really trying to turn the iPad Pro into a miniature laptop, the hardware and software oddities will still hold it back from truly competing against the laptop.
Ignore the gestures just like shortcuts are ignored on laptop keyboards
It is true that people are not concerned with many keyboard shortcuts that are available on a laptop, and one can argue that some of the features introduced in iOS 11 can be ignored and the iPad can be used like before, but even with these exceptions, the touch interface is not as productive as a keyboard and mouse. The gestures in iOS 11 are intended to replace the mouse, but they are too complicated to figure out quickly as opposed to figuring out how to use a mouse.
Since Apple has already agreed to implement keyboard and stylus support for the iPad, it seems like they will soon look for a way to implement a mouse-like feature that will respond well with the touch interface. This may not be easy, given that the hardware used by Apple is configured mainly for touch.
Apple has made great steps in trying to turn the iPad pro into a laptop replacement, but given the number of decades that the PC and laptop has been around, they may be decades away from making that wish come true. The speed of technology advancement today, may cut this period short, but that is something that is yet to be seen.