Most people are decidedly not developers, by the way.
It’s a statement I hear all the time — people either asking me to convince them the iPad Pro is better, because they want to be convinced, or because they want to prove me wrong. Either way, people either want to get it, or they simply cannot fathom how such a setup would actually work.
It’s a moot point — more than that though asking to be convinced is simply the wrong question. The better questions to ask are:
- What about the Mac/PC do you miss?
- What is the most limiting part of iOS only?
- How can you get past the hurdles of switching your mindset to iOS?
People are too hung up on what they can and can’t do, to figure out if they would even enjoy making the change. Instead let’s take a look at the three questions above.
What about the Mac do you miss?
Mostly the amount of powerful software, and never being forced into a dumbed down website. Software like Keyboard Maestro and Hazel just is not available on iOS. Additionally, whereas you can script a Mac to do things for you on certain events, or times, you just don’t get that with iOS. In other words there’s a lot of minutia a Mac can do for me — either while I work, or while I sleep — that I cannot get an iPad to do for me in the same way. With iOS you have to rely on web services for any of this type of work, or hope Apple bakes it into iOS itself.
The biggest issue for me, is having to deal with websites that don’t want to show you a full site. It is maddening. Even Apple’s own iCloud.com site doesn’t work on iOS. Luckily iCab Mobile exists, but what a pain in the ass. There are more than a few time each month where I run into a web service of some sort which is fundamentally broken, or dumbed down for anyone broadcasting an iOS flag with their web browsing.
What is the most limiting part of iOS only?
The most limiting aspect is also one of the greatest benefits: touch input. Let’s take editing text as an example. If you want to move the cursor to a specific part of a document on a Mac you can either use keyboard shortcuts or the cursor. Both are highly accurate and the cursor itself is extremely efficient at this task.
However, on iOS you have varying ways depending on how you are using the iPad. If you have a keyboard attached you can use your finger to tap the cursor to a new spot, or use the same keyboard shortcuts. If you are using a software keyboard you can still use your finger, or you can use two fingers on top of the keyboard to act as a cursor and move the insertion point.
The keyboard shortcuts notwithstanding, moving a text insertion point on iOS is considerably less efficient than on Mac. You get used to it, sure, but there’s no arguing it is more efficient. If you add in an Apple Pencil things get much better, but then you constantly are picking up the pencil.
Aside from heavy text editing being cumbersome, you are also very limited in what you can do with the iPad. Sure, you can do almost anything in the web browser you can on a Mac, but you are limited to the apps in the App Store — both by what those apps can do, and what Apple will approve. Compounding this problem is that the App Store for the iPad is only six years old — far too young to have a robust offering of niche software. For all its flaws macOS simply does not suffer this same fate.
How can you get past the hurdles of switching your mindset to iOS only?
I touched on this earlier, saying:
Ease has nothing to do with it, as I keep saying: there’s a mental shift that needs to happen.
Shifting to iOS requires doing some initial mental hurdles to understand how the system works. Same as shifting from Windows to Mac, or from iOS to Mac. Things work differently and when things don’t work the way you are used to them working — it is natural to find the new way tedious, frustrating, and slow. Most peoples natural reaction to such frustration is to want to revert back to the old way of doing things.
I don’t advocate throwing caution to the wind and plunging iOS only head first — it’s a huge commitment both financially and mentally. Instead, the next time you are using your iPad or iPhone and find a task where you feel compelled to go to a Mac in order to complete it, try doing it on your phone. Can it be done? Typically, yes.
The difficult part is in accurately gauging if it was easier/faster/better on iOS or not — as the tendency is to include the initial frustration of having to problem solve. I too still run into these situations, except instead of running from an iPhone to a Mac, I am running from one iOS device to another.
I’m not here to convince everyone they should be iOS only, but rather to stop the argument that most people cannot go iOS only. Not knowing how to work on iOS day-to-day is likely to set you behind the curve in two years or less. There are simply more iOS devices being sold and used, than there are Macs being sold and used.
Plus, if you can figure out how to work from your phone — it’s the most freeing way to travel you’ll find.