iPad Pro

Early iPad Pro reviews agree on what’s holding it back: iPadOS

The new iPad Pro has impressive hardware, according to reviewers, but the iPadOS operating system isn’t quite keeping up.
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Reviews are now starting to drop for the 2021 edition of Apple’s iPad Pro, and the device is getting mostly high marks thus far. Praise is being doled out for the power and efficiency of the tablet’s new M1 chip. Those who’ve used the iPad Pro seem mesmerized by its new display, which features mini-LED technology for the first time. If there’s one area they all agree the new tablet falls short in, though, its software — more specifically, iPadOS.

Over at Engadget, Chris Velazco wrote that the new iPad Pro is “begging for more robust software,” adding, “The new iPad Pro very much feels a portent of dramatic changes to come, but in this moment, it’s — for better or worse — just an obscenely powerful tablet.”

The Verge‘s Dieter Bohn hit on this in his review, as well, talking about Apple “reinventing a lot of wheels in computing” because it doesn’t want iPadOS to work like a standard desktop operating system.

“Apple would rather not offer a feature than have it work in a non-iPad way,” Bohn stated. That would perhaps be fine if the iPad hardware stayed stagnant. But Apple keeps making the iPad Pro itself more powerful. iPadOS, meanwhile, isn’t keeping up.

And at Ars Technica, Samuel Axon had this to say: “iPadOS is an excellent operating system for content consumption, and it’s getting better for creation as well. But many people would rightfully like to see more improvement for the latter before they’re ready to abandon their laptops.”

Essentially, iPadOS — to Axon — is good at that one particular thing. But you could hardly consider it well rounded. For those who need to get real work done, the iPad Pro running iPadOS isn’t going to beat a laptop right now.

This has been my beef with not just the iPad Pro, but every iPad these past few years. It is part of why I’m such a big proponent of a more open iPadOS (and iOS), either by Apple volunteering it or by force. Apple can absolutely ace hardware. In the tablet space, especially, no one can touch this company. Apple may not have the most powerful laptops on the planet, but in the iPad Pro, it has the best tablet.

The company’s closed off approach to the OS, though, means no one from the outside can help push the product to its limits. Only Apple can make the iPad Pro take advantage of the insane hardware it is packing. Sadly, Apple just isn’t doing it.

Apple’s WWDC event takes place next month, and there could be improvements to iPadOS introduced there. We’ll keep an eye out and put that news in front of you if it comes.