The iPad is a confused device. Apple envisions it as the next wave in personal computing, while many people view it as a bigger screen on which to watch Netflix.
Sales of the device have reflected this confusion, with sales steadily declining for the past three years. Apple always saw the iPad as a device you would upgrade like your phone, every one or two years.
Unfortunately for the company, iPads have taken on the buy cycle of a PC – around five to six years. This begs the question: Is the iPad Apple’s greatest overestimation?
I am here to gladly say no.
This summer, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple announced iOS 11. Besides updating the control panel and a few other things, some of the biggest changes in iOS 11 came on the iPad.
With iOS 11, the iPad finally has the potential to realize Apple’s dream. iOS 11 finally brings the iPad closer to parity with a PC.
This has been the biggest problem with Apple’s dream: The iPad was too constrained to encourage people to replace their laptops. This isn’t because of a person’s preferences, but because of a lack of basic functionality. A big change in iOS 11 is the ability to drag and drop files.
Yes, this sounds really miniscule and boring, but this is a huge thing.
One of the biggest advantages of using a laptop instead of an iPad was being able to organize your files and move them from one program to another with ease. Being able to do this graduates the iPad from an iPhone with a big screen to a serious computing device.
Another huge change is the ability to multitask with up to three apps at the same time. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is very helpful.
I very regularly have three programs running, even when I am just browsing the internet. This also isn’t just something I do; it’s very common for professionals who need to see their browser, email and a word processor all at once. This finally allows users to take full advantage of the power housed within the iPad.
I know all of this sounds like a boring addition, but that’s the point. These seemingly boring things were holding back the iPad.
That’s where I think Apple made its greatest mistake. It underestimated how important the boring things are. This is very strange to me because Apple is a company that notoriously pays attention to detail. I don’t think this is Apple not paying attention, but more likely having hubris.
I’m happy Apple made this mistake, because I think it was a humbling experience, and that ultimately is the biggest change in iOS 11: humility.
So, will iOS 11 save the iPad? No. Will it make the iPad into what it already should have been? Absolutely.
Andrew Wildman is a sophomore integrated marketing communications major from Laurel.