Why iOS is Compelling

Just give into the seduction of iOS.

Much like with 2Do, an astonishing amount of people right now are moving — in one way or another — to iOS as a full time computing platform. Perhaps not ditching the Mac completely, but at the very least declaring iOS ready for most of their work. And it’s not just writers, I’ve been seeing some people who do seriously heavy duty work moving to the likes of the iPad Pro and other iOS devices. Justin Blanton just penned his post on how he is mostly iPhone only:

With that in mind, nearly all of my professional (and personal) consumption can be done enjoyably from my iPhone or iPad; and almost all of my professional output is channeled through either email or Messenger, also easily handled by my iOS devices.


I recently wrote about one of the biggest mental hurtles you have to surmount in moving to iOS:

In other words, selecting an iPad Pro feels an awful lot like it did when I selected a PowerBook G4 back in 2004, you knew this was the future, but you also knew there were going to just be some things which you could not do on the device. I hedged back then, as I guess I am now, by having a desktop PC I built out — as I have the MacBook now.

Back in 2004 there were simply some banking websites which were not compatible on the Mac. Full stop, no matter what you did, they wouldn’t work. There were inconsistency in some files which would drive my professors nuts. Though, I did have an easier time connecting to the campus WiFi network.

I know a lot of people switched to Macs around that same time period because there was an allure there to Macs. We were tired of borking our systems because we dared to plugin a new peripheral without first installing software and rebooting our machines a couple times. We were fed up with registry issues, with reformatting every 6 months — and so much more. The Mac offered a simplified life — a ‘just works’ mantra. And truthfully, back then, stuff either did just work, or it wouldn’t work at all — rarely any in between.

It’s that same allure many of us are feeling with iOS now — the idea that while the Mac is still pretty simple and mostly just works — iOS is even more simple. Like Macs in 2004, iOS either just works, or it flat out won’t work for that task. Either you can do it pretty easily, or not at all.

The similarities with Macs around 2003-2004 are striking.

And I keep saying how things are simpler on iOS, but really I mean they are easier on iOS. And that’s likely to break some of your minds — it won’t compute.

How could this be?

Some of this is simply intangible and not worth trying to explain, as words will never do it justice. Another subset is personal preference, and not worth explaining as it is personal. But there is a chunk of the allure that is easy to point your finger at and say: that’s better, that’s easier, and that makes more sense.

So, let’s point away.

Window Management

On a Mac you have to decide if your window is going to be full screen or not. If it is full screen, is it full screen but split with another app, if so by how much? Or is it going to be a window on the desktop, if so where and how large? Repeat that for every app, and a lot of your day becomes just managing the size and location of your windows.

With iOS you only get one size on your iPhone, and four sizes on the iPad (full screen, 2/3, half, 1/3). That’s simpler no matter how you slice it. It’s also faster, as you are now spending far less time managing application windows. Spend your time arranging your application windows or spend it getting shit done.

File Management

I love how iOS handles files — it’s far better than most operating systems with fully exposed file systems. It’s a matter of iOS asking: What do you want to do with this thing?

Instead of a Mac telling you: here is this thing, now you can do something with it.

The share sheet system in iOS is fantastic as I can take this file right here and send it directly to where I want it to go, without any hiccups or shuffling. The worst experience on iOS is trying to find a file in something like BitTorrent Sync, Dropbox, or the iCloud Drive app. Yuck. I take my file from one app to another, always working on it.

On my Mac I have files I drag out to the desktop, to drag into another app, to export back out of that app, to drag back to another window, to then upload and finally use. It’s madness if you really think about it. On iOS I rarely touch icons representing files, instead I get to where and what I need much faster.

I don’t care where the file lives anymore, I care only about getting my file to the place(s) I need it. From Ulysses to WordPress, Photos to Pixelmator, or Mail to Documents.

Power Management

I use my iPad Pro everyday for everything, and all without charging it. On a bad day, it’s at 2% around 10pm. And I start work at 8:30am. My MacBook would have died, recharged, and been half dead again by that time. And my MacBook gets great battery life for a Mac.

This translates into not only never needing to carry a charger, but never having a wire plugged into my iPad — or needing a battery backup. Amazing.

You simply cannot overstate how important power management is.


Or the lack of heat. My iPad gets warm when I play some games. Otherwise it is just a cool glass slab.

My MacBook: warm. Even more warm with each thing I do. Heat is important, as it can be uncomfortable touching my MacBook, but I’ve never felt that way with my iPad or iPhone. We don’t like warm — warm devices is disconcerting to say the least.

Computer State

Log Out, Restart, Shutdown, Sleep, Hibernate — none of that confusing lingo matters on iOS. If it isn’t working, I force a restart. If I’m done using it for the moment, I tap the button which turns off the screen.

I don’t really care about states beyond that, because I never need to. Mac users might feel they have this already, but I can assure you that Windows and Surface Pro users still very much need to be cognizant of this.

This matters more than you might think, but which option do you choose, which is better, which is faster? My MacBook wakes up very fast, but I can be logged into my iPhone or iPad before I can even input the first character of my password. That may sound like I am counting seconds, but it all adds up. If I need to check something really quick — well who in their right mind would grab a “proper” computer to do that. Too slow, no thanks.

Everything is Here

iOS is my everything place now. It’s not only always with me, but it’s always in sync with itself. What’s on my iPad is on my iPhone. You still can’t get that level of parity between two Macs.

This makes it dead simple to move from one device to another. Everything I do also goes into iOS, as it does for most people who use iOS. Therefore, everything is everywhere all the time. My iPad and iPhone are the same, the only difference is screen size. That’s it. And that’s amazing.

And more, but I think you get the point. Just about everything many people think makes iOS harder, actually makes it better if you take the time to get used to it.

That’s the key too — you need to get used to working the way iOS wants you to work. Once you stop fighting it, once you stop analyzing it — well that’s when you get shit done.

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