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Is iPad about to dominate in 2023?

It’s a big week ahead for iPad – expect it to be getting a lot of headlines

iPad gets pro creative apps - Final Cut Pro and Logic

The wait is over

Over a decade ago iPad came amongst us.

For much of its life, iPad seems to have been confused as to what it is. It had an identity crisis before it was even fashionable. A few years beforehand, Apple had changed the world forever with iPhone, and now they were back this time trying to meld together the worlds of desktop and laptop computing but now trying to convince us the way forward was doing it all with a touchscreen.

Recently, I’ve had a bit of a nostalgia trip looking back at old Apple ad campaigns and when I was researching for this article I came across another from only four years ago that aptly summed up Apple’s confusion. Do you remember the ‘what’s a computer’ campaign?

That ad summed up neatly where Apple thought the future would be.

Lying low

Much like Harry has lived a life in the shadows of William, the tablet has lived its life in the shadows of the Mac. There was a period when the Mac faltered and the iPad looked set to have its moment of glory. Sadly for the tablet, just as it looked to be about to make its move and become the mobile computing companion for the next generation, Apple silicon arrived and Mac swiftly grabbed back its crown & top spot.

But this week, it has another chance to come of age as Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro come to iPad. The wait for many has been insufferably long, drawn out and overdue, but I guess what remains to be seen is whether it’s all come too late.

Always the bridesmaid

iPad burst onto the scene full of intention – this was to be the bright new dawn.

It soon became clear though, that whilst iPad was great and possibly even superior to the Mac in some areas, it wasn’t equipped to usurp the emperor. Sure it’s great for content consumption – watching videos, and movies and catching up on your socials, but it wasn’t equipped to do the heavy lifting of day-to-day work – but that of course though depended upon what your day’s work involved. For the sake of this conversation though, I’m looking at a pro workflow.

One of the first signs of Apple losing faith or conviction in its original playbook for iPad was the introduction of the Magic Keyboard. Don’t get me wrong, having a comfortable, clicky keyboard and trackpad makes the tablet way easier to use, but its DNA had also been denatured and somehow lost.

Apple had once been gun-ho and convinced they were once again going to change the course of history. As far as they were concerned the future generations would be done with a point-and-click working day favouring instead an interactive touchy-feely, onscreen, finger-tapping one. Sometimes though the wheel simply doesn’t need reinventing.

The past few years have been tough on iPad – there was suddenly a bewildering array you could choose from – so many in fact to be almost baffling. Not only that but when M1 Apple silicon arrived on iPad they were given serious amounts of power. But even the most die-hard tablet lover couldn’t help but ask why?

While Apple floundered and offered more functionality to iPad with external display support, improved file management systems and latterly Stage Manager, the one question that had never been addressed was giving iPad apps that would enable it to show off what it was truly capable of and what the future could be.

Well, that call was answered a few weeks back and tomorrow Logic and Final Cut will finally be available for iPad.

Lost again

The next few weeks are going to be pretty eventful even by Apple’s standards.

WWDC is just around the corner and not only will we see the latest developments for iPadOS, iOS and macOS but also we expect to get our first glimpse of their mixed-reality headset – the first entirely all-new platform since Apple Watch.

And amongst all that flurry iPad will once again be trying to splutter back into a meaningful existence. Reading through the recent press release about the upcoming pro creative apps there was a phrase that jumped out to me as being of particular interest though.

Rather than simply taking a lazy, quick and lame approach to bring FCP & Logic to iPad they claim to have developed “all-new touch interfaces”. So where they could have utilised the Magic Keyboard and trackpad, making these new versions similar to Mac, they’ve decided to take the approach to let iPad sizzle in all its tactile glory.

From the limited amount we have been able to see so far these two apps will be fully touchscreen interactive – they have been reworked from the ground up to play into iPad strengths. Rather than clicking it will be pointing. Pinch, zoom and pencil are how you’ll edit videos and audio on iPad. Apple seems to now again be demonstrating faith in their tablet’s abilities of what it was always supposed to be. And Apple has to be commended for their approach.

A show of belief and pro apps that have been redesigned purely for iPad may be just the love and medicine it requires.

Is iPad about to come of age? Does Apple have other genuine pro plans in mind for iPad? Have they now smelt the coffee and have a cohesive iPad vision?

Into the future

There is no secret about the fact I have never been the biggest fan of iPad. I have never seen how it would augment my desktop workflow – but that doesn’t mean I’m too set to accept change.

I’m heading to London this week for the Podcast Show. While the MacBook Pro will be staying home for sure the MacBook Air will be with me throughout the day. As lightweight and compact as it is though, even I’ll admit that an iPad that could fully help me capture the day appeals.

I fully intended to be recording all sorts while I am there and posting shorts and clipping together content for later. Imagine if I could have complied, edited and posted all directly from the tablet.

The hardware has always been capable, but now it looks as if the software is about to catch up. Now users have distinct options and choices – use it as a laptop with the keyboard/trackpad option or now in tablet form but not having to forsake its creative capabilities. Is the iPad about to now become everything to everyone? One device suits all.

Wrapping up

Many have derided and denied the fact that the Mac would ever get a touchscreen, and if Apple gets it right with this latest stab with the iPad, maybe they’ll be proven correct. Maybe there’ll never be the need to.

The iPad could soon be able to fulfil both roles. If Apple gets it right with these iPadOS iterations of Final Cut and Logic, it will pave the way for them and other developers to redefine and develop other apps that were once only for the point-and-click brigade. Pinch, hover and zoom may yet be the creative future. The answer may have been staring us in the face all the while.

There was recently talk of a foldable iPad. Who’d dare to say that the future won’t see an iPad be an iPad when needed and then fold out into a desktop when needed?

The reviews will start to land this week about how these apps work in the real world. Even though I am an Adobe user I really hope they are a success. Not for the sake of mobile editing of audio & video, but more for the iPad.

iPad deserves a happy ever after and its’s day wearing the crown.

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