iPadOS 18: A Disappointment in the Shadow of macOS?

iPad Running iPadOS 18

From an M4 chip to Magic Keyboards, Apple has done a lot to make us believe that the iPad can effectively become even more portable versions of Mac. The 2024 iPad Pro was met with a lot of enthusiasm, and you would have thought that iPadOS 18 would justify the hype. 

So, did that happen? Not quite, no.

iPadOS 18 was a huge disappointment compared to macOS Sequoia, and it’s not even like that was groundbreaking. I thought the macOS announcement was disappointing in and of itself, so for iPadOS to still look pretty bad was somewhat impressive. It seems like I’m not the only person who was underwhelmed by iPadOS 18, either. Several users have expressed their discontent. Here are all of the reasons why iPadOS 18 was a major disappointment. 

The Biggest Disappointments With iPadOS 18

1. I’m Glad That I Don’t Have an iPad Pro 

The iPad Pro With an M4 Chip
Credit: Apple

I bought an ordinary iPad in 2022, and it has been pretty good for most functions. I have often thought about getting the iPad Pro, especially as I’m a photographer and also like editing videos (my iPad can only edit 1080p in DaVinci Resolve). But as of yet, I haven’t been able to justify buying an iPad Pro. My device can edit RAW files in Lightroom, for example. 

If I were an iPad Pro user, I’d be feeling a bit offended at the lack of effort in this latest iPadOS update – especially if I had just bought the device with an M4 chip. Besides people being Apple fans, you have to have a pretty good reason to purchase an iPad that powerful. And to be honest, nothing in iPadOS 18 interests me enough to get one. 

I know that Apple Intelligence is supported only on Apple Silicon iPad models, but I don’t think that’s enough to warrant a purchase. 

2. The iPad Pro Surely Deserved More Than New Math Features

Apple made a big deal of the new Calculator app features in iPadOS 18, and Math Notes is a pretty neat feature. I can imagine that it’ll be particularly useful for students, and I wish that I had this kind of feature while at school. I also hated math with every fiber of my being.

But do I think it deserved as much attention as it got? Not really, to be honest. 

byu/TechExpert2910 from discussion

Considering how Apple had advertised the iPad Pro to “crush” every other piece of equipment, it feels a bit laughable that this was the first software announcement after that. Let’s just say this: I don’t think I’m going to be changing my camera anytime soon for an iPad. 

byu/TechExpert2910 from discussion

3. It Would be Nice for iPadOS to be Somewhat Unique 

I could rant and rave all day about how disappointing I found iPadOS 18, but I don’t think that’s very productive. However, this isn’t the first time that iPadOS has felt like a hasty afterthought. For example, Lock Screen customization was one of the biggest announcements for iPadOS 17 at WWDC 2023; it was basically just the same thing as what we already got in iOS 16 the year before. 

For years, it has felt like iPadOS is basically just “Here are some things that iPhone and Mac models got a while back — hope you enjoy them.” So, it’s hardly unsurprising that this announcement was the same. Most of the coolest features, such as collapsible notes, are just what is available in iOS 18. 

While I said that iPadOS was disappointing compared to macOS, I don’t really want iPads to be just another version of Mac either. However, I would like to see some unique features that you can’t get on iPhone or macOS. My hope is that with the Apple Silicon chip iPad models, this will happen in years to come. 

byu/TechExpert2910 from discussion

4. The Journal App Would be Nice, Too

I don’t know how this stuff works as I’m not a software developer, but I have to say that I’m quite surprised you still can’t get the Journal app on iPadOS. With the bigger screen, I’d actually argue that it makes more sense to have this app on iPads than iPhones. 

It seems strange that we’ve had to wait this long for the Journal app, especially when Freeform was introduced at the same time as it became available on iPad and Mac.

This is another case of Apple releasing features and apps on iPadOS years after they did so elsewhere. I’m sure that Journal will eventually make its way onto iPads, but to have that happen this year would’ve been nice. 

Tip icon Tip
If you already have an iPhone, you can at least still use the Journal app on there. You can learn how to use the Journal app on your iPhone in a separate guide. 

What Should Apple Fix About iPadOS in the Future? 

iPad From WWDC 2024 announcement
Credit: Apple

I get that companies have different priorities. But since Apple clearly puts a lot of effort into its iPads (especially the iPad Pro), I’d also like to see the company be more innovative when introducing new iPad features. The new iPad models are better than every other tablet on the market, in my opinion, but their potential is limited by their software.

Not everything has to be brand new, but some unique features – and not just giving users what already existed on iOS or macOS years before – would be nice. The iPad makes lots of things easier, such as organizing workflows and casually browsing at home; it’d be nice to see Apple hone these further. 

Verdict: Not the Worst Update Ever, but Far From the Best

I don’t think that iPadOS 18 is the worst update ever, and there are some cool features. For example, it’s nice that you can at least get AI integration with the Apple Silicon models. I also like Smart Script, and I think that will be useful for people who use their Notes app frequently. 

But at the same time, iPadOS 18 certainly felt underwhelming. All of the best features are things you can get on an iPhone. And honestly, dedicating so much time to the Calculator app was pretty laughable. The good news is that iPad at least has the capacity for powerful future updates. Hopefully, this is something that will change.

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