What the iPad can do for the future of tablet computing

I shamelessly rave on Chrome OS a lot. As an Android user, and also an iPad fan, I use the best tablet that I believe can give me the most productive experience. 
Chrome OS I still believe can pave the way for a solid tablet/laptop experience to replace Android, but there are a fair few kinks to work out on the way to ensure a smooth experience for mass users and to replace Android on tablets but there is plenty of promise for tablet/laptop productivity machines running chrome OS.

Enter the other side of my brain, the iPad lover and advocate of using the iPad for essentially as much as humanly possible.
The last few years I have owned most of the major models of iPad Pro. The original 12.9 and then the 10.5 the following year. 
This year I’m interested in going back to the 12.9, purely for the extra screen real estate and having a slate that can now truly compete with other tablets and laptops.

Apple have been trying to pitch the iPad as true laptop replacement for years, but a limitation on the lightning port and the lack of a file system (to name a few things), has been severely limiting on the ability to be used on things like external displays, docking stations, read USB drives – so true desktop/laptop needs.
The current generation of iPad announced yesterday (combined with iOS 12.1) sets to improve on the existing shortfalls of the Pro iPad lineup and to prove that you CAN do everything on an iPad.

The New 2018 iPad Pro looks amazing

I originally fell in love with the idea of using a tablet as one computer for everything back in 2014. The iPad Gen 4 was the weapon of choice and combined with a wireless Apple keyboard, I did the majority of my uni work on that thing (aside from a 2012 Mac Mini).
To me this was the beginning of “how much can I really get done on this thing?” lines of thought and, fast forward to 2018 I’m still experimenting trying to really break the convention of what a tablet can do and how one slate can fill many roles.  

For example, Retro gaming on Android tablets is easy with DOS emulators, and deprived of decent games on the Play Store, I have 1996’s Blood from Monolith Studios, and MicroFortè’s 2001 Tactical hit Fallout:Tactics on my tablet. For me tablets come everywhere with me since having a slate I can write on, draw on, record audio, video, share notes, keep me entertained and do hard core writing on has been apart of my workflow for years. Hell right now I’m writing this on my Galaxy Tab S3 and waiting for the online pre-order option for the iPad Pro 12.9 through Optus (any day now…..). 

I gave my 10.5 iPad Pro to my sister since she was starting uni and needed something substantial for her coursework, and I am proud to still say that is her daily driver and every day machine. Her iPad is her computer, and thats exactly what Apple wants you to consider it as. She is one of their target audiences (amongst plenty others), the iPad is portable, practical and powerful. The newer generation now seeks to advance on that and make it even more capable as machine, regardless of what hands it is in.

I have seen iPads at the forefront of my last work industry. Emails, task management, inspection notes, Real Estate related data input; you name it. In my last line of work it was my daily driver, an external display and I had it everywhere with me. Meetings, photo editing work, organising my day, reading books when the day was slow (shoot me, we all do it). It brings the power of the iPad relying on the apps that it is centered around, and one of the biggest showcases was the up and coming Photoshop CC on iOS coming in Early 2019. This is not very far away, and for professionals who already use Lightroom, Procreate and Concepts for illustration and editing work, this will come as a welcome arrow in the productivity quiver. 

It should also be noted that tablet computing, and tablets as a whole, have taken large strides forward in the decent amount of games available on Android & iOS in the last few years. Alot of developers are porting or even launching AA and AA titles in Indie and strategy style categories on the App Store and Play Store.
A few that spring to mind are FTL, Baldurs Gate 2, and more recently Stardew Valley on iOS. 
Apple’s AR experience last year and refined this year in iOS 12 is only improved on the new iPads. Their 8 Core A12X Chips and 7 Core GPUs, Apple compared the new iPads to having the same raw graphical power as an Xbox OneS. 

This is huge, and even with that comparison, I severely doubt that developers will folk to have the latest shooters and games available on iPad Pros, along side PlayStation and Xbox consoles (sadly…. One can drea though).

However the Tablet market, iPads and ChromeOS/Android slates, isn’t perfect. There is still a lack of decent app performance on Chrome OS, Apps on Android Tables are blown out phone apps most of the time still, the hardware is more and more expensive, and the amount of tablet sales has dropped in recent years. But, if the likes of Google & Apple keep creating more refined ideas on their existing hardware, like we have seen this month with the Pixel Slate and iPad Pro 2018, in a few years time we could be saying so long to laptops, and hello tablets that plug into everything and do anything we throw at them

Sam Toohey Written by:

Sam is a self taught Developer, focusing on Web Technologies and E-Commerce. He is also an avid writer, blogger and gamer. You can commonly see Sam toying around with web technologies or working on his Podcast, Markup.

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