Does the iPad make sense as a computer now?

(Dieter exhales loudly) (mid-tempo hip-hop music)
– This week was WWDC and we saw a ton, and
I mean a ton, of stuff: that new Mac Pro, dark mode on the iPhone, iPad apps on the Mac, a watchOS App Store, and new features for the iPad. And today, I want to talk about the iPad because I have feelings, also questions, maybe answers, but definitely questions,
and here are two. Is it ready to be your primary computer, and then, is this new
gesture system intuitive? (quirky music)
So with the first question, we’ve got iPadOS, which is iOS 13 but renamed for the iPad, I guess. Can it do all the computer things? I mean, if you look at all of the features that Apple announced in its keynote, it’s like they were personally
responding to our gripes from our iPad Pro review. – You can plug as many flash drives or hard drives as you
want into this USB-C port, and nothing will happen. (audience applauds)
– You can now plug in a thumb drive! – You can’t even import photos directly into an app like Lightroom CC. – Sometimes when you’re
working with a camera, you’d like to import directly
into an app like Lightroom, and now you can. – The mobile version of Safari just isn’t a desktop-class browser. – Well, no more, because we’re bringing
desktop-class browsing. (audience applauds) (quirky electronic music)
– Now, with all of that stuff, I don’t really know if it’s all better because Apple changed the
iPad at a fundamental level or if Apple’s just
fixing one-off annoyances we’ve been complaining about
by just doing whack-a-mole. We’re going to have to
wait for the full review to answer that question for real. I should note right now, though, that I only had a short time
with the new iPadOS directly. All the video footage that
you’re seeing here and elsewhere is Apple’s own on-rails demo. Anyway, I do think the
new windowing system alone should make this update worth it. You have a ton of new
Slide Over app options, and you can fan them out or swipe through them just like an iPhone. You could have a single
app with multiple windows and even get a view of
all those app windows just like you can on the Mac. iPadOS is built so that
anything you can drag, you can pretty much make a window out of, and although the first
version of this developer beta is a little bit buggy, the window thing, it actually
really did kinda work. But we need to talk about
the new gestures now, and that means we get to talk about grammar. – [Off-camera] No. – This is the, look, look! I got an English degree
(mid-tempo hip-hop music) and I’m going to use it, damnit, and I promise this is going to make sense, so just hang with me here. First thing, we need to talk about what all of the iPadOS gestures are because there are just a lot of them. One finger, tap. Also drag. Also tap and hold to do some stuff, but it changes depending on the context. It might be jiggly mode or
it might be something else, but then, there’s also new stuff. There’s a new way to just
drag the cursor around, but if you do it just so, instead of moving the cursor, you can select text with it. Then, two fingers. This is new, but there’s a way
that you can use two fingers to select multiple items
on a list by dragging it. I don’t think we’ve seen all the ways that this can work just yet. Now, the other new thing is three fingers. First, there’s cut and paste. You use three fingers like you’re picking something up to copy. You do it twice to cut, and then you do this
like three-finger plop to paste stuff. There’s also undo and redo, which is a three-finger swipe
to the left or to the right. Also, you can hold down three fingers to get a pop-up user interface
for cut, copy, and paste. Lastly, four fingers. Just like before, a pinch will take you home. It’s actually pretty easy to mix this up with the three-finger thing, but whatever. (Dieter exhales sharply) The thing is if we made this
same list for Mac or Windows and everything that you
can do with a keyboard and various mouse clicks
and drags or whatever, it would be pretty long, too, which is what brings me to grammar. Okay, so how long do I have to get into the theory of language and maybe just a little
bit of bonus semiotics? – [Off-camera] I’ll give you like a minute? – Okay so, yeah, no semiotics then. (books thud heavily) (Dieter groans) (percussive music)
Think of language as being on a spectrum. On this end are really rigid languages like math and formal
logic and computer code. If you use the wrong
grammar in these languages, they totally break and they
don’t communicate any meaning. They form an internally
consistent framework that runs like a clock, and you pretty much have to take classes to learn how to use them. On the other end of the
spectrum is natural language, the stuff that you and I speak every day, like English or Mandarin or whatever. These languages are really flexible. Their rules of grammar can bend without breaking their meaning. The grammar, though, it’s super messy because we basically make it up as we go. However, we learn these
languages naturally just by having people talk to us. In the middle, you can
think of a user interface as a kind of language. It’s how you communicate
with the computer. It has to be really rigid
and consistent like code because that’s how computers work, but it also needs to be
flexible and learnable over time because that’s how our stupid
squishy human brains work. So the iPad user interface has a grammar. It has rules, but where does it fall on this language spectrum? Did I do it?
(percussive music) I didn’t do it? Great. I was close! (electronic drum thumps) So let’s answer that spectrum question. (mid-tempo hip-hop music)
I do think the grammar on iPadOS is mostly internally consistent and fairly flexible. One finger, do stuff. Two fingers, select stuff. Three fingers, edit stuff. Four fingers, go home, I guess? I don’t know. These different finger
gestures do different things depending on the context, which is a little bit of
a problem for consistency, but hey, this isn’t code, so I’m not mad. But I worry that the iPad’s grammar is too hard to naturally learn. With the grammar of a
mouse and a keyboard, you build up more skills
naturally over time as you use it. You right-click and see a menu and then you do it elsewhere. You find the keyboard shortcuts
listed in the top menu. Now, part of this is that we’ve had the desktop around for 35 years, so it feels normal. But the truth is that the
desktop UI is super weird, and we all learned how to use it, but it has a smooth ramp-up
from basic user to pro user. On the iPad, I just don’t
know how one of these gestures leads naturally to the more advanced one. I think once you learn them
all and get good at them, the iPad can be incredibly
flexible and powerful, but there’s not a smooth ramp-up. You’re going to have to, like,
watch a lot of tutorials to figure all these gestures out. (mellow music)
Look, I know this grammar stuff,
it’s not a perfect metaphor, but I do think it’s a
really helpful framework for answering the question I started with at the beginning of the video: is the iPad’s user interface intuitive? Now, I think intuitive is a dumb word because most people use it wrong. They think it means something that everybody just knows inherently. What intuitive actually means is stuff that you learn without noticing that you’re learning it. We all know that the iPad is intuitive because you can just
hand it to any toddler and they’ll figure out the
basics just by playing with it, but these new, more advanced gestures, I’m not sure they’re there yet. I think we might be looking
at the same story as always with the iPad. It can be really powerful, but only if you take the
time to learn its quirks. Hey, thank you so much for watching. Let me know what you think of this weird argument
down in the comments, and specifically, do you think that iPadOS makes this a primary
computer for more people? Also, if you’re more interested in an, like, actually powerful computer, we have a great video with the new Mac Pro and a ton of coverage for
that so check all that out.

100 thoughts on “Does the iPad make sense as a computer now?

  1. though i liked the content of the video i think it doesnt realy answer the question brought up in the title because u covered up just a specific part. otherwise a good video 🙂

  2. I disagree that laptops have a “smooth ramp up” from beginner to pro. My sister, who has been using a computer as long as I have (30 years) still doesn’t know any keyboard shortcuts. The truth of the matter is, to become any type of pro user, iPad or laptop, you will have to go out of your way and want to learn to be more efficient on your device. The Smooth ramp up might have felt natural to you, but look at what you do for a living… you love and review tech… not so much for everyone else.

  3. Actually, it's not watching a lot of tutorials that will help you get proficient with this UI Language; but rather using it in complex situations as much as possible.

  4. I think it’s reasonable to compare the new gestures with those of Apple’s trackpad. Personally, although there are many, I almost can’t live without all those trackpad gestures. They make life so much easier. I hope the same rings true with iPadOS.

  5. Your observation about the ‘grammar’ of iPad gesture was ingenious. Something I had felt, but could not put into words. Great review

  6. How many mor videos are going to be uploaded discussing the iPad’s worthiness as a lap top? Laptop is a broad and sweeping term and covers a multitude of sins.

    The iPad Pro is just one of dozens of computing devices out there in an ever evolving market. You pay your money, you make your choice according to your computing needs. Don’t criticise a product just because it doesn’t suit you.

  7. Okay we’re getting there!- so what about time machine? You can’t rely on storing stuff in the long run on an iPad. And, I need to make safe copies of all my family vids and pictures 👌 then I actually would skip the MacBook

  8. Great Video!
    I think the Recap of the critics in the iPad review from last year shows how great the iPad OS improvements are and how big the step into the direction of a computer replacement really is.

    Overall, apple probably fulfilled us more wishes that we could have had expected, what do you think?

  9. Did Apple talked about the Maps app on the recent WWDC? Why can’t Apple make the Maps operate even without a data connection? Only for the iPhones and iPads that has gps.

  10. Unfortunately you’ll never please a you tuber, you could place perfection in their hands and they’d still say it is as the wrong colour. Look back at technology 10yrs ago to now.

  11. Great video! I’ve been “iPad only” for over two years now! I build/maintain websites, am a hobby artist, edit video, make/record music, and of course, general user! the iPad 2018 made everything easier, and I’m looking forward to iPad OS to see how it impacts my work/workflow. I’m not a fan of the gestures Apple has chosen. Some powerhouse apps like Procreate have adopted a set of gestures that are common in other drawing apps such as 2 finger tap for undo, 3 finger tap for redo. Not to mention, those apps often have a settings feature allowing me to choose/set how the gestures work. I’m hoping Apple will do the same at some point so we can have standard gestures across the whole iPad experience. I suppose it will more likely be up to 3rd party apps to adapt to Apple’s choices…but we’ll see. I love that you related gestures to grammar, and I agree that the choices are not necessarily intuitive. Thanks again for the video!

  12. Funny how I’ve used an iPad as a solo device for a while now and I don’t feel limited. Also funny how the Same people that complain about the iPad pros price will go out and spend 1k on a flagship android phone that has a functionally smaller App Store.

  13. Android tablets can be use like a laptop since so long ago, why Apple that control the tablet market take so f long 😡

  14. I’ve always wanted an iPad for years now but I’ve been waiting patiently for iPads to be able to replace a standard lap top. We are getting closer to seeing this happen and I’m getting closer to buying one. I say another 2-3 years that day may finally come and I’ll finally have one.

  15. I think the trouble is that no matter how you approach it, the more pro features you add to the iPad, the more complicated its interface becomes. These are features we’ve been screaming for Apple to implement for years, so I am happy to see them finally arrive. I think this is an example of Apple going out on a limb to serve their power users. As long as these new features don’t interfere with simpler interactions, I see it as a plus. I’m sure Apple will refine them overtime, once they’ve been in users hands longer.

  16. “Does the iPad makes sense as a computer now”…“We don’t know, need to test it more”

    Omg, so why post a video then?

  17. Would happily indulge Dieter and watch a video on semiotics in User Interfaces/Experiences: I see that book on Barthes there!
    This is a great video though; mot only does the grammar metaphor make a lot of sense, it really helps to explain why many can’t use the iPad as a computer given the language already learned on the desktop. If we’re chatting grammar though, more references to David Crystal are needed!

  18. Love how the verge takes credits for the new iPad OS features when every YouTube video reviewing iPad asked for the same

  19. Kindly compare iPad pro with Surface. The options in this segment is very low.
    Also a separate video on grammar would be interesting. Too lazy to do a degree in English to improve my grammar.

  20. Love your reviews/analysis. Definitely more of a learning curve. You are spot on. Reminds me of first learning how to use a Palm Pilot.

  21. Maybe is intentional, because Apple is writing its own history now since they don’t considerate the tendency of skeuomorphism design anymore and, actually, nowadays they can write, and design, their own visual language. I’m not sure if I should be happy or terrified of thinking about this…

  22. Agreed… I'm already starting to be overwhelmed with gestures and accidentally doing something…. It's extremely heightened when trying to teach my parents how to use an iPad… Wasn't too bad with an early generation iOS device… Now…. Omg… So difficult!!

  23. I am a linguist, but I'm also training to become an app developer. I thought the language part in the video was very interesting. Can you make a specific video to elaborate on this part?

  24. I am using customizable gestures on the MacBook for years with BetterTouchTool 😉
    If you select intuitive gestures, you get used to it unbelievabely fast and improve your work productivity easiely.
    Looking forward to even more gestures!

  25. You made some really good points in this video. I loved it. I don't know if I agree with everything you said, but I understood all of it. I really learned a lot; especially in the grammar part.

  26. Learning how to use all these different gestures is tiresome … is this what it feels like to get older??

  27. All nice, Dieter. But where‘s the answer to the question in the title of the video? Does the iPad Pro with iPadOS make sense as a computer now?

  28. I have a nearly 3k MBP and i prefer to use my new iPad Pro for just about everything. The power is just incredible the multiple form factors allow a better fit in my hectic lifestyle. From running a business to editing , drawing and many aspects of productivity; where at a point where the iPad Pro is simply limited by software not anything else. With IOS13 besides coding my MBP was an investment that didnt really pay off. I cannot say that about my iPad Pro which is just a better companion for a busy lifestyle. LTE is also a huge factor along with its power.

  29. I love this type of video! All of Dieter's content is great, and it is really cool to see his English expertise relate to tech. Keep this stuff coming!

  30. I hope ipados provide terminal with full feature like mac os terminal or at least for the iPad Pro an IDE is provided for javascript programming or something like that

  31. I think people are making this harder than it should because they weren't self aware enough to know the functionality of the product they're buying. An iPad was never meant to be a laptop or a desktop.

  32. Wait and see the IpadOS. IPad can replace the laptop? Yes, apple can do it but do they wanna the macbook's revenue in the future? My Macbook Air (old) is very good but I wanna the jestures/ pen which make the notes more easy and happy. Well, wait & see and still love my Macbook Air.

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