I really wanted it to work. A couple of weeks ago I closed my MacBook on a Friday afternoon with no plans to open it for a week. I wasn’t going on vacation—rather, I was testing the theory that the iPad could actually be “a computer.”

My setup was as high-end as you could get: a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 1TB of storage and cellular connectivity, a Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil—a setup that’s more expensive than the 13-inch MacBook Pro I got it in 2016. It looked great on my desk and felt every bit like the future Apple sells. When I snapped the iPad into its magnetic enclosure, I truly hoped it could replace my MacBook with a sleek, modern, and versatile device.

Sadly, it didn’t work out. I spent more time fighting my iPad than loving it, and when push came to shove, it was just too difficult to get things done as quickly and efficiently as I do on my Mac. Some of it is muscle memory, of course, but there are still fundamental issues with the iPad that prevent it from being the work-first device Apple wants it to be. So I’m giving it up.

While there’s a lot to like about the iPad Pro and Apple’s whole tablet experience, it isn’t as simple as a trackpad being the missing link between it and the Mac.

The cursor isn’t revolutionary

The iPad Pro didn’t just gain a trackpad, it also gained a “reimagined cursor experience” that Apple says is “the biggest thing to happen to the cursor since point and click.” Its circular design definitely unique, but I found it to be more frustrating than fun.

ipad pro cursor IDG

The cursor needs some help.

From the size to the slight parallax effect when the cursor hovers over an icon, the whole system feels surprisingly amateurish and cheap. Even beyond aesthetics, the cursor just felt more laborious than it should. The contextual awareness took too long with some fields, wasn’t always recognized by text fields, and made me long for the classic arrow on my Mac.

Multitasking is really not good

ipad pro multitasking IDG

Switching between apps is great on the iPad, but multitasking is a confusing mess.

One of the main reasons why Apple split iPadOS from iOS is its multitasking advantages. But while multitasking with my Mac is effortless and seamless, on the iPad’s is kind of a confusing mess, especially when using the trackpad. Split View apps need to be opened from the Dock, a Slide Over window is impossible to close without touching the screen, and resizing is basically a guessing game.

I understand that the iPad is different than the Mac so floating windows don’t make sense, but iPad multitasking still feels Apple would address these confusions in iPadOS 14, but that doesn’t seem to be that case.



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