Why the iPad Pro needs its own “iPadProOS”

Harry McCracken on Fast Company, on the latest iPad Pro and its current software limitations:

I speak not as an iPad skeptic but as someone who—come September—will have used an iPad as my primary computing device for a decade, and happily so. I love the iPad so much that I want to see it live up to every iota of its great expectations. Every time iPad Pro hardware gets more powerful, those expectations ratchet up.

Having said all this, I remain a cautious optimist about the iPad’s future: It’s tough to believe that Tuesday’s great leap forward on the hardware front isn’t a prelude to major software advances. And we shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.

McCracken at Fast Company, along with Jason Snell at MacWorld, both agree: the iPad Pro needs a more powerful OS than the current iPadOS, which already feels too weak compared to what the iPad Pro hardware can do. It was true on the previous generation iPad Pro, it is even more the case with the newest version.

This is what the iPad Pro needs, a better, more flexible and more powerful iPad OS, with — why not — a few good Mac-inspired set of features, but not some version of MacOS, which doesn’t make much sense.

I also wonder if iOS — the base layer for iPadOS — is what really slows down the potential of iPad Pros, software-wise: I think the regular, much less powerful iPad is what makes Apple struggle on how to make iPadOS evolve. On one end, they have to keep it simple and classic iPad friendly, on the other end they have this incredible machine which can and wants to do so much more.

It almost feels like Apple created a sixth category of devices with the iPad Pro, now the only one without its own OS: the Mac has MacOS (and MacOS can scale up to the power of the machine usability-wise), the Watch has WatchOS, Apple TV has TvOS, the iPhone has iOS, and the iPad has iPadOS. Maybe something like “iPadProOS” is needed?

Federico Viticci on what we can expect knowing that WWDC 2021 will take place in June:

The last time a new iPad Pro’s hardware was so obviously more capable than its software demanded, we saw the debut of iPadOS seven months later. The 2021 iPad Pro’s hardware has created new low-hanging fruit for its software; I’d be really surprised if the second half of this story isn’t dropping in six weeks.

June 7th should be an interesting day.