Mac is facing the present, what is the future of iPad?

When Tim Cook secretly stuffed the M1 chip into the iPad Pro, it almost clarified the future status of the iPad Pro, and made people look forward to the performance of iPadOS on WWDC.

However, after the public speech on the first day of WWDC 2021, not only did iPadOS 15 not make people's eyes shine, but iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8 seemed to be innovative in small details.

Coupled with the release of any piece of hardware (such as new AirPods, new MacBook) that is not rumored, it is also a bit uninteresting.

For the update of the major version of the system, we value the new interface and new features. From this point of view, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS and watchOS 8 are indeed "boring".

However, the system upgrade is not just a new interface and new functions. It is more like a game of chess. Every move requires "thinking before and after". This time, Apple's four major systems have not refreshed the interface and there are not many new functions. It should be Within Apple's strategy. After all, on iOS 14, major changes have just been made to the interface, adding small components and other changes that break iOS conventions.

On the new system, Apple has sorted out the current relationship between the Mac and the iPad. At the same time, for the current iOS, it no longer "uplifts", but falls on "bringing the relationship between people." Return to the connection between technology and humanities.

The "Future Expected" iPad and iPadOS

What is the positioning of the iPad? I think before the advent of iPadOS 15, many people were full of illusions about it, hoping that Apple could connect iPadOS and macOS like hardware, but in fact, Apple is more "cautious" than us.

Is the iPad the next generation personal terminal? In other words, will the iPad be a new generation of personal computers? Earlier, Apple’s answer was a bit "ambiguous," either.

The point of Yes is that Apple made iOS for iPad independent as iPadOS, and at the same time added Dock, split screen, and collaboration, and absorbed some macOS concepts in the control method. In terms of hardware, a more extensible USB-C was added, as well as the M1 chip was inserted, and the mini LED screen was used ahead of the MacBook. No matter how you look at it, there is a sense of "back wave".

No place is, iPadOS 14.

Therefore, after the release of the M1 iPad Pro, everyone is waiting for an iPadOS 15 that can lift the "seal". It's just that Apple has braked and didn't follow everyone's ideas to make iPadOS 15 or not to make the iPad a "touch control". Mac".

"Perfection" can be said to be a key word for the new features of iPadOS 15. The split screen function is "completed", the interface is "completed", and the memo is "completed".

The split-screen operation is more intuitive and convenient, and it is more friendly to touch screens, but the "center window" function temporarily only supports some of its own apps, and this API may be given to third-party apps in the future. The newly added APP resource library is actually related to the more convenient split screen, so you don't need to call out the Dock or call up the recent task when splitting the screen.

Judging from these updates, the idea of ​​iPadOS 15 actually continues with iPadOS 14. It is still a real iPad, and the boundary between Mac and iPad is still very clear.

Let's talk about the evolution of productivity. Putting aside those gorgeous rhetoric, productivity is "making money." Previously, we imagined that Apple would decentralize some "productivity" tools for iPadOS, such as FCPX and other apps dedicated to macOS.

But for the developer-oriented WWDC, Apple introduced the new Swift Playgrounds in iPadOS 15, a simple and lightweight Xcode. Actually, it can be programmed, has automatic code completion for Swift syntax, and can be compiled locally. , You can also preview the effect directly, and even submit it directly to the App Store.

Therefore, strictly speaking, Swift Playgrounds is not a complete "productivity" tool, but more like an App mainly for teenagers, cultivating programming thinking as the main and programming as a supplement.

Unlike hardware, Apple is aggressive and advanced in all arrangements. But when it comes to software (productivity), it's just a taste. On the contrary, the boundary with Mac is clearer. macOS will still be the most comprehensive choice for "productivity" at the moment, and iPad Pro will still be aimed at a relatively small group of people, such as painting, creativity, design, and so on.

From another point of view, Mac is the best representation of the past personal computer control methods. Use the mouse to move selection, use the keyboard to enter, and from time to time you need to call up the menu to click.

No one knows what the next generation of computers will look like. But the next generation of personal computers will definitely not continue the previous keyboard and mouse control methods. At present, the more intuitive "touch drag" may be based on this. Apple is not willing to integrate iPadOS into the old control concept, but Slowly explore the operating concept in the new era.

In the iPadOS 15 generation, I think Apple has finally clarified the relationship between the iPad and the Mac. The MacBook faces the current productivity demands, and the iPad faces the new era. It can only be said that "the future is promising."

Mac and macOS back to the center

Regarding the relationship between the iPad and the Mac, Apple’s vice president of global marketing Greg Joswiak once stated that “they are like on both ends of the spectrum, but they are all correct.”

The update of iPadOS 15 shows that in Apple's eyes, the Mac is still the best answer for personal computers and "productivity" at the moment.

So, I saw some "centralized" features of macOS Monterey.

The interconnection operation called "Universal Control" is Mac-centric, and uses a set of keyboard and mouse to operate MacBook (iMac) and iPad Pro. Of course, this set of keyboard and mouse must be Mac. It's not just simple cross-device control, but an ecological level linkage. You can transfer files between different systems through a single "drag". It seems that iPad in Universal Control is an extension of Mac, a "powerful" accessory.

And "AirPlay to Mac", in simple terms, is a "screencasting" function, which actually exerts the advantages of the large screen and speakers of the Mac (iMac has more advantages). Whether it is listening to songs or watching videos, it will be better. Audiovisual experience.

Whether it is iPhone (AirPlay to Mac) or iPad (Universal Control), the interconnection here is almost centered and focused on the Mac. The former is for entertainment and the latter is for work.

Apple’s previous Universal Control-level cross-platform function is AirDrop (AirDrop). Through AirDrop, you can break the system barriers of iOS and macOS and transfer files. It can still work even in an environment without a network. Having said that, I still remember the situation of sharing a 4GB movie with my colleagues on an airplane. It would not be possible without AirDrop.

Universal Control (I don't know what the domestic translation will be, it may be called "Universal Control") is actually a complicated, continuous, and advanced version of AirDrop, which breaks the boundaries between systems and improves the efficiency of device interconnection and collaboration.

Regarding the collaboration between iPad and Mac, there are roughly three ways: AirDrop, side flight, and Universal Control of the new system. AirDrop is not real-time, it is only the most basic file interconnection, and AirDrop is an App-level application in iPadOS, which is only an extension of the screen, and the file system is not connected.

The current Universal Control combines the advantages of the above-mentioned interconnection, and its significance may not be inferior to the appearance of AirDrop.

As both the Mac platform and the iPad platform switch to the M1 chip, the hardware barrier between them is smaller, and Universal Control will only go deeper in the future, but the premise is that the Mac is the center. To expand, the current productivity is centered on the Mac, and the iPad is more like an aid to the Mac.

Bring the distance between people

In Apple’s summary of iOS 15’s picture flow, there are a large number of small cards for new features, indicating that the update of iOS 15 is more in the details.

After I updated to iOS 15 Beta 1 for the first time, the backup iPhone X was surprisingly smooth and stable. It seems that the new system also focused on improving the instability problem in iOS 14.5.

The recent recurrence of the Guangdong epidemic has brought us back to the days of working from home. Every day we use a variety of software to communicate. Although there is physical isolation, with the blessing of technology, we do not feel "distanced". Many of the new features of iOS 15 actually focus on bringing people closer together.

The completion of the FaceTime and SharePlay functions is actually for better communication, and they are also new functions spawned under the epidemic. It may also be said that this is a function Apple has done for its employees. After all, in the United States, many technology companies are still working from home, and team collaboration and sharing should be just what they need.

In addition, the focus mode is also prepared for "home office". Different scenarios can make different App reminders, and the software can also distinguish "work" and "life".

In addition, due to the raging epidemic, 2020 will completely change people's current lives, and a series of red statistics have become the main theme. The real big environment affects not only life, but also the concerns of some technology companies. This is the case with the "Digital Heritage Project". It is more like a survivor authorization for "electronic equipment". Some memories will not be lost because of misfortune. Sealed in the digital world.

iOS 15 may not make your eyes shine, or it may not continue to make a difference. In fact, it is more like doing special things in this special period, or "technology is people-oriented."

This WWDC gave me the feeling that Apple parked the car in the service area on the highway of technological advancement, took the opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief, drank ice cola, ate burgers, and let the continued excitement rest for a while. Rethink how to continue running on the fast-changing technological highway, or to change and find a smoother road.

▲ Picture from: cnet

In this way, for those of us who have been waiting for a long time, the new systems are not fresh enough and we are a little disappointed. But for Apple, the release of the new system may be just the beginning. It may be more important to constantly adjust the positioning of different devices and think about how iOS, iPadOS, and macOS will change in the future.

Today’s Apple is no longer a small technology company, but has gradually become a huge organization that has a profound impact on the industry and society. Every decision and every action needs to be cautious, perhaps after reaching a commanding height, stop. Thinking carefully about it is not a bad thing.

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