What Happened to iPadOS 15?

Why people are angry about iPadOS 15, how to get to your passwords quickly, and more WWDC details.

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What Happened to iPadOS 15?

WWDC has now come to a close, but the biggest part of the event, the keynote, is now a week old. While there are a lot of things to be excited about, there's also a number of people who have shared feelings of underwhelm, disappointment, and anger with how iPadOS 15 didn't meet the expectations they had.

The truth of the matter is that iPadOS 15 wasn't the flagship release everyone wanted, but many had unrealistic expectations from Apple regarding this year's version of iPadOS.

When Apple got to iPadOS 15 in the keynote many, including myself, were on the edge of their seat hoping to cross off all of their wishlist items for the iPad. Sadly, those people left the keynote with little to no checks next to their wishlist. I'm not exempt from this either. If you look at what I had in my last newsletter many of my predictions and wishes never came true either.

Why iPadOS left a lot to be desired

The iPad, especially the iPad Pro, has had hardware that far exceeds the software. There have been many times where the true limitation in the iPad is the software. The hardware has been a powerhouse year over year since the iPad Pro was originally announced. When the new M1 iPad Pros came out it seemed like this was the beginning of the iPad to gain some serious power in the software. The M1 chip isn't just an iPad chip, it is the chip in all of the new MacBooks and the new iMac. When the M1 chip was announced, the unrealistic expectations immediately began. It was obvious this was going to happen, Jason Snell called it almost immediately in his MacWorld Article The iPad Pro is a killer machine but its software is killing me writing:

This is the crux of the issue: Apple’s decision to market the iPad Pro as being powered by an M1 processor. As a marketing move, it’s solid. There’s been so much positive press about the M1 that wrapping the iPad Pro in its halo makes sense. (In truth, the M1 is an evolution of the processors Apple has been building for the iPad Pro for years, so the real story is that the Mac has adopted the iPad Pro’s processor, not the reverse.)

Here’s the problem with this clever marketing, though: it draws a direct parallel between the iPad and the Mac. And while the Mac definitely lacks in some areas (no touchscreen or Apple Pencil support, for instance) you can basically do anything on your Mac, including run a bunch of apps that originated on the iPad.

The iPad Pro, in contrast, can’t do all sorts of “pro” things that a professional-level user buying a device starting at $1,099 might want to do. They can’t run Mac apps (though if you connect a keyboard and trackpad, you certainly could!), and Apple has failed to build iPad-optimized versions of its own professional apps.

There are a number of things that I was hoping to see this year after the M1 iPad Pro announcement, but for one reason or another Apple hasn't delivered on these wishes.

Things like Apple pro apps (XCode, Final Cut, Logic Pro, etc.), multi-user support, better external display support, and more were strong and optimistic hopes for the next version of iPadOS 15. Many felt that there was no reason for Apple not to include these features. The hardware was there, it is the exact same chip on the new MacBooks and iMac. It is clear that it can handle the power, but alas none of the big features I mentioned happened. Why was this? There was one person who shared their explanation that resonated with me.

Youtuber Rene Ritchie, formerly of iMore, shared an interesting video where he answers questions from people who were upset with iPadOS 15 after WWDC keynote.

One question asked in the video was "Why is Apple intentionally holding the iPad back just to sell more Macs?" Rene's response has been living in my head rent free since I watched it a few days ago.

Apple has this doctrine [...] where they will happily cannibalize any of their products with another one of their products because their worst fear isn't losing sales on any one product from another one of their products but losing those sales to a competitor's products, to another company's products.

[...]

So the thinking within Apple, as I understand it, is that the iPad's job is to get so good that a majority of people no longer need a Mac again.

[...]

To totally abuse Steve Jobs' Car and Truck analogy. We still needs trucks but there is no reason why we can't have the amenities the comforts of the car at the same time. The good sound system, the comfy seats, all of those things.

So whenever I hear things like "Apple is intentionally holding it back" I just think that they have very set philosophies and markets in mind for these products and why have one product that fits well in one market and fits badly in another market when you can have two products that maybe have some overlap in the middle but each one is best suited for a particular market.

I think in their minds the Mac is that traditional computer for people who want and need traditional computing tasks and the iPad is that "Think Different" machine for everybody else. The computer for everybody else.

This isn't to say that iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 weren't given some wonderful improvements and features. In fact, there are a number of things that were announced that makes me truly excited to play with the public betas later this summer.

Announcements like added features to the Files appLive TextQuick NoteFocusimproved multitaskingiPadOS Widgetschanges to Safari, and Shortcuts on the Mac makes me want to be a tech writer.

It was the nourishment I needed to keep me going this year on Tablet Habit. I am excited to sink my teeth into these new features and additions, but I also understand why people are not thrilled with iPadOS 15.

I for one left WWDC wishing for more big features, but the smaller additions seem fantastic for both pro and non-pro users of the iPad. For that, I can't wait to see what people do with it.

My hope is that as more people use iPadOS 15 this summer. As they do they will share the cool things Apple didn't tell us about in the new release. Hopefully that will help ease the frustrations of many.


Workflow of the Week - Open iCloud Passwords

This week's workflow is a simple, yet effective, Shortcut I didn't think about having until a recent episode of ATP. One of the hosts mentioned having a Shortcut on the home screen that takes you directly to the iCloud Password Settings page.

Recently, it was discovered that there are special URLs you can use to open specific Settings sub-menus. What is even more exciting is that you can use those URLs in Shortcuts to make it easier for users to get to the Settings page(s) they need to in less swipes and taps.

The Passwords Shortcut is fairly straightforward, it opens a Settings URL that goes right to your iCloud Keychain in iOS.

You can download this shortcut yourself here.

If you want to learn more about Setting URLs and what else you can do with them Federico Viticci has you covered over at MacStories. I suggest bookmarking this page as I have been going to this more and more ever since I discovered it.

Video Roundup

This week of weekly Roundup has both regular links of things I thought were interesting reads as well as a ton of WWDC related links, videos, and tweets.