iPad Air 2 apps

Ever since the first iPad was introduced by Steve Jobs way back in 2010 there has been the argument about whether it is just there to be a media consumption device, or can actually be used for what PC users seem to be so determined to call ‘real work.’

Steve Jobs knew, or at least he hoped that iPads would eventually replace computers as we know them. When launching the first iPad he spoke of his new tablet as a car, and the computers that came before it as trucks.

I’m trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them.

He knew the transition wouldn’t be easy, and he was right.

Even now, four years and more generations of iPads than I can keep up with later, it’s a debate that still rages on. Some will tell you that until an iPad Pro arrives, with a screen the size of a small television and multi-window multitasking to go with it, iPads will always be reserved for browsing Twitter, watching YouTube videos and maybe sending the odd email here and there.

So long as those emails aren’t for work, obviously.

But it’s all starting to change. People like Federico Viticci have dared to disagree with the normal view that iPads aren’t for work. Using a combination of powerful automation apps and a real requirement to do work in places that aren’t suited to using ‘real computers,’ Viticci manages to do some truly impressive things with an iPad. He lives in that post-PC world Apple promised us and you know what? I think he’s on to something.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t jumping the gun, because it’s all too easy to say something bold online and then either not follow it through, or be found out almost as soon as you hit that big ‘Publish’ button. But now the time feels right. Now I’m comfortable, almost ecstatic when I proclaim something I didn’t think would ever spill from my lips.

I don’t use any of my Macs anymore because of an iPad.

I’ve in fact been toying with the notion of going all iPad, all the time ever since getting my iPad mini with Retina back in January, but I never quite managed to make the jump. The reasons for that have been few, but troublesome. Even with a hardware keyboard the iPad was missing some vital components of the software variety that left me unable to live on iOS full time, and I’ve always had to fall back to doing some things on a Mac through necessity.

The apps that I was missing were simple staples of the Mac – a top notch text editor, an app for connecting to remote machines via SSH and a similar solution for getting images onto that remote server via SFTP. There were apps already available that did those three things to varying degrees of success, but none really hit the spot for me.

People would probably say these kinds of things shouldn’t be done on an iPad – after all, there is always more YouTube to be watched – but that’s part of the charm.

Of course, all those apps now have top notch options on the App Store. For writing I use the excellent 1Writer, for SSH access I use Panic’s Prompt 2 and as for SFTP, well, it has to be Transmit from the same company. And then there are the extensions that iOS 8 brought to the party. They tie it all together, especially when it comes to getting files into Transmit for, err, transmitting to my remote server. Call it a perfect storm if you will, that tipped things just far enough into the favor of iOS and finally stopped me from waking a Mac up just to upload an image for a blog post.

It’s all backed up to iCloud too, so I don’t need to worry about losing anything. Between iCloud Drive and Dropbox, I have all my files everywhere, and it’s all backed up and versioned like a champ, so I’m not missing out there either.

Yes, installing beta builds of iOS and the like will require me to dust off one of the Macs, but that’s not something I’m doing for the vat majority of the year, and even then most of the updates are OTA anyway. It’s a brave new world and I may falter here and there, but as things stand, I don’t foresee a need to use a Mac in my day-to-day life.

This is all inside baseball, of that there’s no doubt, but it’s another example of how iOS, Apple, and its third-party developers have torn down the walls that previously made the iPad a glorified web browser. Of course there are still tasks that people need MacBooks for. Or Mac Pros for. Or even that lovely new Retina-powered iMac for. Even with the excellent iMovie on a new iPad Air 2, or any of the other quality video editing solutions that fill the App Store, some people will require more to make their particular brand of magic happen, and that’s fine. It’s all about trucks and cars as Steve once said, and that’s fine too.

But for me? Both of my Macs are sat idle, and for now at least, that’s how they’re going to stay.

  • klouud

    There just isn’t enough screen real-estate on an iPad yet. Maybe once they can project holograms into the air around you there will be enough space. Also, we haven’t moved to an all cloud based music and movie system yet. I have about 3TB of media in my iMac – I need it for my apple TV’s to connect to. iOS is also much more limited than OS X in terms of restrictions, so there’s that. It also has much more RAM (which the iPad lacks) and processing power to crunch the data that I need. I honestly think it all depends on what your needs are. I still see iPads as luxurious toys at this point. Yes they are getting better, but they just aren’t there yet. As removable media is slowly phased out, we are getting closer – and yes, your article is probably going to be gospel in about 5-10 years… but not yet.

    JMO

    • This is going back on the cars and trucks analogy which if you really think about it fits quite well. You wouldn’t transport a bunch of fuel in a car you’d use a tanker truck of some sort and the same is true with the iPad. Even with the excellent Photoshop Touch and recently released Pixelmator you wouldn’t normally and shouldn’t normally use an iPad for graphics design and simillarly you wouldn’t use one for real video editing nor would you program on an iPad. As for the stuff you would do (and would normally use a PC or Mac for) Emails, documents, researching the iPad does this great. I find myself consuming email more and more on my iPad Air 2 and less and less on my MacBook Pro for instance…

      An iPad will never be the powerhous that is the MacBook Pro at least not until an iPad Pro exists and do you know what? That’s okay since how many people actually need to do the powerful stuff Macs do? Not many people that’s who and those that do will have high spec laptops or PCs…

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    The future of computers will go from processor towers to tablets, to holograms, then neuornic signals transmitted from a chip..

    • Cristian B

      iRobot

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        iBot

      • It’ll be called Apple Robot otherwise the people that made the movie iRobot would sue

      • Cristian B

        I meant to say that the Movie iRobot is slowly happening lol

  • Naman Jain

    <3

  • sNick

    I do all my stuff on my iPad. But since I’m a gamer I could never get rid of my PC.

    • hkgsulphate

      what do you think of MS surfaces?

      • Simon Davies

        As a massive PC gamer I was impressed with my Surface Pro 2, it played BF4 but obviously it wasn’t as smooth as a dedicated gamer rig (with decent descrete graphics) but throw something like WoW at it and it handles it like a dream.

        Over all I really like it and partner it up with a decent keyboard (rather than the type2) and you’re on to a gaming winner (Logitech K810). Sitting in a hotel room at night with that compared to my old 17inch laptop is much better (and also means I don’t need to drag said large laptop around all over the place when I travel).

  • Dave

    I don’t see a wholesale move from traditional computers, to tablets, any time soon. There are so many different ways that people use their computers nowadays, and with so many different solutions to choose from, going back to a one-size-fits-all paradigm just isn’t going to happen. We all used desktops once because, for the most part, that was all that was available. We all used laptops once because that was the only alternative to a desktop. Now we have desktops, laptops, tablets and giant phones that each fill a space. Why would anyone want to go back to the days where we only had one, maybe two choices?

    Laptops and desktops are here to stay, IMO. And I believe that’s a good thing.

  • AJM

    iPad is great for games that only really work with a touchscreen. A bit of Twitter maybe.
    But everything else is so much more comfortable on a PC.

  • Dan

    For me, the iPad is not there yet. Not enough screen space, no real multitasking (ie: on the PC, I often have several windows opened at once, so I can see what’s happening in my web browser, Office and Excel at once). Not enough space and no access to root files. My PC has 12 TB of drives (overkill, but when doing video editing, hosting a home server, I need more than 128 GB of space).

    The cloud is not a viable option for me since I want instant access to large files. The list goes on, too many limitations. iPad may be productive for some people, doing simple tasks but not for me. I use iPad for casual web surfing, short emails and watching movies on the go.

    • Jonathan

      0_o Can I have your 12 TB? I’m currently doing video editing lol

      • Dan

        4 x 3 TB HDD’s in RAID, pretty cheap if you find good deals, useful for a home XBMC/Plex server 🙂
        Space is very handy when doing video projects but obviously the bulk is for my media collection lol

      • Jonathan

        Awesome setup man..
        Since you have a lot of drives, I think I’ll ask you this question.
        What is a really good brand to purchase? I bought Seagate (2 x 500 GB) and recently found out that they fail the most. So I’m currently looking into online storage just in case. But still, eventually I’d like to buy a beast drive to hold just about everything.

      • Dan

        I’ve had some real nightmares with Seagate, so I wouldn’t touch those.

        I’ve been using WD (Western Digital) for years and never had any problems. I have a WD blue (cheapest) still working and it’s over 8 years old. These days I buy WD Red for raid purposes. You could go with blue/green and get 3TB under 100$.

        I also like Crucial for the SSD’s (where I install the OS), good price/quality ratio.

      • Jonathan

        Thanks for sharing! I’ll look into them. =)

  • I suppose it all comes down to what a person’s work is, I imagine for a writer or photographer etc, it’s perfectly logical to be able to do all their work on an iPad. But other jobs like web development, game design etc. a computer is best suited.
    I do web development and despite there being web development apps available, I couldn’t dream of working full-time with an iPad. Too little screen real estate, lack of physical mouse and keyboard and no dual screens makes it near impossible for me to do that kind of work on such a device.

  • Anonymous11564132

    PC Gaming Master Race

  • Post-PC era? BS. It’s really saddening how Apple has brainwashed so many folks into thinking a PC is one that runs the full Windows and a Tablet is one that runs a so-claimed “mobile OS”. Here’s some insight; a PC is simply a Personal Computer. Personal Computers can come in multiple FORM-FACTORS; the ones currently available on the market are Desktop, Laptop, Tablet AND SmartPhone/PDA. The latter 3 form-factors (Tablet/SmatPhone/PDA) are called the “mobile form-factors” of a PC.

    The form-factor barely defines the device’s functionality like Apple makes it look. That is mostly done by the OS (Operating System) and there’s no rule of thumb stating that it has to be limited to consumption tasks or bastardized apps (like iOS/Android/Windows RT) in order to consider the hardware a Tablet or SmartPhone/PDA.

    The Surface Pro and other 3-in-1 PCs (like the Lenovo Miix 2) are materialized proofs of that; they’ve filled the gap between the Desktop, Laptop AND Tablet PC form-factors. Soon as the technology gets there, expect to see a Surface Phone that transforms into a Surface Pro, similar to this (bit ly/1gjmQtW | bit ly/1gjn7NB | bit ly/1gjn18z) but with full Windows functionality.

    Finally, the term “mobile OS” (bit ly/1jvtzGI) simply implies that the OS can be run on the mobile form-factors of a PC, it’s not an excuse for being limited to bastardized apps like Apple and Google make it look. Windows 8.1.1 Pro, which comes with the Surface Pro, fits that definition perfectly.

    • Hyr3m

      Ty mate. You saved me some serious typing today.

      Also, Oliver seems to have forgotten the “read more” thing, we can see the whole blog entry from the main page.

    • DogeCoin

      It already exsists, ubuntu phone. It’s even getting it’s own hardware soon. Runs a full gnu user land over the Linux kernel. Also uses Mir, although id prefer wayland. You also have root acess.

      • Awesome, so, you could just plug the phone into a monitor and you’d have a Ubuntu desktop where you could install all your Ubuntu apps?

      • DogeCoin

        Yea, right now they’re working on some libraries, they are making it so programes use a common library that allows them to switch from desktop, to mobile GUI, with out any extra work. Still wish they’d use Wayland, but I guess you can just install that after words

      • Very nice, might give it a shot on my upcoming OnePlus One (first Android phone)…

  • Frogmen

    I work as a Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. I use the iPad for all my Maintenance procedures, when a problem happens on an airplane and I don’t have to go to the office to see the manuals. All my Boeing and Embraer manuals are in my iPad. But for the Airbus fleet I still need the PC, because they don’t have pdf manuals.

    Of course I want the iPad PRO, NOW 🙂

    • Andy

      I’m curious, what iPad model is used for your work? I’m guessing the 9.7″ iPads (I don’t think I’ve ever seen an iPad mini at work), are they Wi-Fi only models and which storage capacity?

      • Frogmen

        Yes is the iPad 4, 32g WIFI only. The Boeing/Embraer manuals are about 4 gigas each one, so you have plenty of space. I use Goodreader app.

  • Valentin Mercier

    How do you download and extract a zip file on the iPad without jailbreak? Because I call that basic life on a computer 😛

    • Andy

      Download WinZip from the App Store?

  • R4

    PC is still the besr platform for gaming and i dont see that change any time soon

    • DogeCoin

      SteamOS. Debian, praise it!

      • R4

        Steam OS (which is based on Debian), maybe, but very few gamers use Debian for gaming. Its doesn’t have a lot of drivers and its not particularly user friendly for the mainstream.

  • Ernie Marin

    If you see the requirements for most modern PC games, there’s just no way a tablet could compete with them, and PC gaming is the number 1 source of income for any PC component maker, so until a table comes with the capacity to match a PC when it comes to gaming, there is just way they can actually replace a PC.

    • xSeriouSx

      Razer Edge Pro is already doing that…

      • R4

        Nope, it cant run a lot of these new generation games on ultra or high at a steady 60 fps.

        edit: it cant run Witcher 2 which came out in 2011 on ultra.

  • isitjustme

    It all depends on who is using what but many of us don’t use truck to go around when a car will do.
    They will always be people who use both but for the rest of us either one will do.

  • Thorasgard

    Text selection still is a headache with iOS. I guess a lot of it depends what you need to do, but my wife just purchased a MBP is is done with her iPad except as a reader. You only get 2 or so good years out of an iPad and then it performs worse than a windows box. My iPad 3 is painful on 8.1 Not sure the investment is worth it anymore. At least with a windows box you can wipe it and have a decent machine for a few months, not much can be done with this beast. Nice for laying on the couch with but little else.

  • Neil J.

    Not a single student in any of my classrooms use a tablet to type on, except a couple that use the keyboard which defeats the purpose essentially making it a laptop, I’m not seeing a trend here at all. Nothing but a toy for in bed, couch or on the road but not for real work. I could at least write on the tablet I had 15 years ago and it even converted it to text, never caught on. History always repeats itself. Sorry, nothing to see here, move along.