April 28th 2014
By Mike Flaminio
I see the lull in iPad sales as a coming down to reality after unrealistic expectations, a realization that iPads aren't as ready to replace PCs as many initially hoped.
In his introduction of the iPad in January, 2010, Jobs himself seemed a bit tentative when positioning his latest creation. Sitting in the Le Corbusier chair, Jobs stated that his new tablet would have to "find its place between the iPhone and the Mac".
This "in-between place" is still elusive.
I think this is spot on. Myself, I love my MacBook Air. That's my productivity workhorse and my iPhone is its satellite. The kids use the iPad more than I do, although it's my go to presentation tool. I stopped trying to find a role for the iPad a long time ago. I just use it where it makes sense. Often reading, sometimes games, usually presentation. In no way is the iPad ready to replace any of my Mac, although, every day I see people who have nearly done so. I would probably describe their needs are more pedestrian. They really just need a dummy terminal to ingest text, handle email, and surf the web.
So far, Apple's bet has been to keep the iPad simple, rigidly so perhaps, rather than creating a neither-nor product: No longer charmingly simple, but not powerful enough for real productivity tasks. But if the iPad wants to cannibalize more of the PC market, it will have to remove a few walls.
Specifically, the iPad is a computer, it has a file system, directories, and the like -- why hide these "details" from users? Why prevent us from hunting around for the bits and bobs we need to assemble a brochure or a trip itinerary?
I'm not sure I agree with this. What makes the iPad great is its simplicity. I don't agree the goal of the iPad should actually be PC domination. Rather I'd like to see it keep expanding its capabilities to be hired to do some PC jobs better, but also invent new jobs that are possible through its unique form factor and simplicity. Before we go make it more complex, I still see people struggle with iOS. Frankly iOS 7 has made this worse as I feel it relies more on learned experiences than previous iterations while at the same time the platform continues to expand.
With that said, I think some kind rudimentary file system is needed, even if is iCloud. I really need a simple way to move files of any type between devices and have access to them within apps. My example is if I want to upload an file in a web form, which is increasingly a Web 2.x thing to do. No way to do that on iOS. I either need a dedicated app for that service or just use a desktop computer.
iCloud would seem a good idea without breaking down the sandbox protections between apps. Its current iteration is user friendly since the user doesn't have to concern themselves with context. They don't even need to remember to save anymore. It just works. The problem iCloud is locked down to a single context, which makes it impossible to work with media between apps. Except for the awkward "open in" function, which doesn't even work everywhere and for everything.