The State of the iPad Before iOS 9

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Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 6.46.34 PM

I’m feeling more and more that there needs to be a large change to how the iPad operates in iOS 9, and that feeling has actually been brought about by my Apple Watch. One of the things I’ve written the most about over the past few years — aside from software and hardware reviews — is how to take advantage of the iPad as a portable tablet, a hybrid device. My Air 2 is larger and more comfortable to browse on than my iPhone 5S, but not quite as powerful or heavy as my 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

I prefer to use the iPad for referring to Excel sheets at work, but the iPad’s file system and sharing options don’t make it very easy to access and sync certain work files without reliable Wi-Fi. I’d also love to do more photo editing on the iPad, but certain iOS 8 limitations keep me from editing my pictures at full resolution. Given the specs on the latest iPads — especially the 64 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM on my iPad Air 2 — it’s strange to struggle with these limitations when a MacBook Air of equal size and price could easily accomplish the same thing. I’ve become so used to thinking about the right use cases for the iPad, treating it like a puzzle to solve, that it can almost be a little tiring to use at times.

That’s in sharp contrast to the Apple Watch, a new member to my device family, and yet another thing I have to put on a charger every night. However, because of its very particular set of functions and its convenient placement on my wrist, I knew exactly what to do with my Watch a few days into it. One definite reason is that it’s designed as a satellite device for the iPhone, but I also think it’s because there’s more specific intention baked right into the software.

With WWDC coming up, I’d like to see Apple take more advantage of the flexibility of the iPad, and untether it from some of the limitations of the iPhone. I still love how light the Air 2 is, and I’m still impressed by its speed, but it’s also being sandwiched by newer devices like the iPhone 6 Plus and the new 12-inch MacBook. Keyboard shortcuts, inventive multi-window multitasking, sharing information quickly across apps — some new software spark is needed to jolt some life back into the iPad.

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