Hands down, the 2018 iPad Pro is one of the most controversial products Apple has ever made. Pundits are not just arguing with one another about it. They are arguing with themselves. After living with it for a few weeks, Rene Ritchie of iMore claimed he was wrong about the iPad Pro and did a re-review. That is unprecedented in this space.
The problem is that both defenders and detractors of the 2018 iPad Pro are right. Every praise of the product is true. Every criticism is true. And every rebuttal on either side is true. Even in an article intended to praise the iPad by 9TO5Mac, some of the same criticisms came through that have been leveled by everyone else.
“While the iPad Pro isn’t trying to be a Mac, it is a grown-up device and it needs a grown-up operating system. Not macOS, but rather a tailored version of iOS, designed to take advantage of the additional capabilities of the iPad. What some people have termed padOS.
Here’s what I’d consider the minimum acceptable spec for padOS – if you gave me these things, I’d be pretty happy:
• A Home screen with a fully-flexible layout
• Properly windowed apps
• Support for a trackpad”
The 9.7″ iPad does not get any of this criticism. Here are three major differences that make the iPad Pro so controversial while the lower model is not:
iPad Pro is priced like a full, traditional computer. For the full-sized model, it is a cool $1,000. For $329, you can get an iPad that is capable of the same tasks. The extra $671 buys you no new functionality. It just allows you to do everything a little faster, and a little more enjoyably.
When you hold a 2018 iPad Pro, you feel like you are holding the future of computing. You simply expect it to do more. More to the point, you really want it to do more. You want it to be your main computer. And you quickly run into the barriers keeping it from being that for you. The 9.7″ iPad does not make you feel like that at all. Ironically, if the iPad Pro was not such a great device, people would have lower expectations and criticize it less.
This time, those heightened expectations are being stoked by the fires of Apple’s marketing. Apple is positioning the iPad Pro as an alternative to a traditional professional computer. So reviewers have every right to approach it with the highest expectations.
Every reviewer acknowledges the iPad Pro as the best of breed, without peer. Now, Apple wants you to think of the iPad Pro as more than an iPad. But the universal consensus is that the OS and software just aren’t there.