Bryan Chaffin is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of The Mac Observer. He is also our Editor-in-Chief. He’s been working lately as co-author of a new edition of iPad For Dummies, and so I enlisted him to discuss the future of the iPad.

We chatted about how the iPad has made enormous gains in CPU and graphics power over the last 10 years. But iOS and then iPadOS not so much. In the early days Apple wasn’t quite sure where the iPad would go, and that’s perhaps a factor in its development. We examined how multi-tasking has been implemented, the prospects for larger displays, home screen operations, consumption vs. productivity, the stagnation of sales, and whether there needs to be a new product between the iPad and Mac. Bryan resurrects the notorious concept of the ::gasp:: toaster-fridge. There’s much more.

Bryan Chaffin

TMO Editor-in-Chief Bryan Chaffin (#2)

6:43 PM Feb. 24th, 2020 | 00:38:29

Bryan Chaffin is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of The Mac Observer. He is also our Editor-in-Chief. He’s been working lately as co-author of a new edition of iPad For Dummies, and so I enlisted him to discuss the future of the iPad. We...

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My Background Mode interview with Bryan Chaffin

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One Comment Add a comment

  1. wab95

    John and Bryan:

    Great discussion. Four observations.

    First, as to the comment that Apple did not know what we would do with the iPad, I believe that Apple have themselves admitted as much, and even offered that they could not wait to see what we would do with it. There was an empirical foundation upon which to base that statement, not least of which was the iPod, which was designed to be a music storage/player device. Who saw podcasts coming, and an entire new industry of infotainment? Not Apple. How could such a comparatively small company (smaller at that time) have anticipated the illimitable creativity of human genius? I think that this assessment was sincere and may have been a rate limiting factor in the evolution of iOS cum iPadOS.

    Second, while a plurality if not majority of early iPad adopters focussed on the iPad as a consumption device, many, including yours truly, began pushing the boundaries of even the first generation iPad to productivity. I can recall using it meetings to take notes, and whilst training my staff on a contemporaneous clinical trial that we were about to launch, producing my training slides and examination materials on my iPad whilst bouncing around in our micro bus on dodgy Dhaka roads because that was easier and less risky than using my laptop. With the advent of keyboards, and now courtesy of iPadOS, third party pointers and touchpad keyboards, as well as monitors (have a new 27” display arriving today just for the iPad Pro), USB-C connecting hyper drives, external hard drives and the like, productivity with third party apps has exploded. This is a productivity tool that also serves consumption, (like now as I’m streaming classical music), including using a floating TV viewer during work more reliably than my Mac. This leads to the third point.

    Third, what makes the iPad Pro such a compelling productivity device? Different people will offer different reasons (just see some of the chatter on internet). For yours truly it’s the triple threat of speed, reliability and minimalism. Speed: the device is instant-on, apps pop right. Reliability: apps open and are ready to work immediately, consistently and productivity apps have yet to hang or crash on my iPad Pro. Minimalism: not only is the device ultra-portable, its interface selects for a distraction free workspace, which makes me more efficient (output per unit time). In short, any task that I can do on my iPad Pro, I will. First device that a pick up (okay, my Apple Watch when I wake up), and last device that I put down (okay, my Apple Watch when I lay me down – but you get the idea).

    Fourth, as for the future, I see the following taking the iPad forward. In terms of the OS, more robust multi-tasking and app selection. App selector is already blazing fast using a keyboard, but swipe-able windows (elements already exist in Safari) or a grid might help. I would like a miniature window that I can move at will that shows open apps that I’m actively working in that I can pin to that window of immediate tappable access. Apple’s engineers will come up with something more elegant, I’m sure. A finder that provides columns that I can organise as desired, eg by date, type, etc). Alternatively, voice may become that interface. In terms of apps, desktop level app performance, including apps that need to interact with other apps, like Word or Pages with Endnote, any word processor with TextExpander. In terms of hardware, a backlit keyboard preferably with a touchpad for writing from Apple, that would be both elegant but minimal would be great. These could also feature more ports, to displace the third party USB-C connectors we now need attach.

    Anyway, back to the salt mines. On my iPad Pro.

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