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iOS 9 On The iPad Does Not A PC Make

Does work involve looking at PDFs all day?
One of the big messages coming out of Apple's big launch last week was that the iPad Pro was a professional class machine, ready to take on the duties that would normally be completed on a laptop. The bigger screen does make this easier - especially multi-tasking apps using iOS 9's new side by side feature, however otherwise the enhancements should apply just as much to the iPad Air 2.

I retrieved my iPad Air 2 from the desk drawer where it has sat untouched ever since I swapped to the Surface 3, charged it up and the updated it to iOS 8.4.1 in order to get the iOS 9 upgrade.

Frankly it wasn't worth the effort.

The iPad is a working replacement for a laptop only if your work involves a very specific set of tasks. For me I need something beyond what the iPad and its cut down applications can offer. My intention had been to bench the Surface 3 and use the iPad exclusively for a period of time to record my observations. After just one hour with the updated iPad it became clear that was never going to happen.

The new multi-tasking feature is rather hamstrung at launch by requiring code to be rewritten to allow apps to be used in this way. Pretty much none of the apps supported the feature, even after I'd gone to the App Store and updated them all.

To be honest that's not a big concern for me, the iPad's ability to switch between apps with a four fingered swipe still feels like a better way to multi-task on a device where apps are designed to run full screen.

However the iPad doesn't feel like a more capable machine after the update. I certainly couldn't imagine using one as my only machine - something that the Surface 3 has successfully managed since I bought it. The strength of the iPad remains in the clever uses that developers have thought up for it. Clever though they maybe they don't make for a very enterprise-ing machine.

I do think that Apple will see a bounce in iPad sales as a result of the release of iOS 9 and the iPad Pro. Its customers have been waiting a long time for a replacement for their existing iPads and the Pro seems like the sort of machine that would prompt an update.

Whether that rebound is a sustained surge in iPad demand or just a dead cat bounce will only become clear after the bigger machine has been on sale long enough to make a sustained impact.


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