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Not an iPad Pro Review: Why iPadOS Still Doesn't Get the Basics Right (macstories.net)
350 points by ihuman 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 575 comments





I skimmed through the article but didn’t find mention of one glaring deficiency in iPadOS — it still doesn’t support multiple users and multiuser switching, even though the hardware is capable of it (and exceeds the capacity of many Macs before it). I decided several years ago that I’m not buying another iPad until this is sorted out by iPadOS.

I think of iPhones as personal devices, where each person may have their own. But iPads are more likely to be shared for personal use in families. The fact that each person using it cannot have their own user profiles, app data, etc., is a huge drawback. Apple has supported this for a long time (though probably not in the best way) for education, but it’s not available to others. Even tvOS supports switching between user profiles quickly.

Apple enforcing the idea that iPad (with iPadOS) should also be a personal device — one device per person — makes the user experience quite poor.


Like you mentioned, they already have implement support for multiple users on an iPad. But they require that you use mobile device management (MDM) and Managed Apple IDs.

https://support.apple.com/guide/deployment/shared-ipad-overv...

So basically only schools or businesses can use the feature. It’s really galling that the feature is already implemented but they won’t give it to us because of an obvious attempt at a money grab.


Jamf Now is free for 3 devices. I've been using it with my family for several years.

https://www.jamf.com/products/jamf-now/


Yes, but you can’t do multi user without Managed Apple IDs, which requires a DUNS number last I checked. And that’s painful to do if you aren’t really a business.

My memory of doing this is rusty, but I believe you can do this as a "civilian" with the Classroom app and without Managed Apple IDs. Somebody correct me with a citation if I am wrong.

https://support.apple.com/guide/deployment/shared-ipad-overv...


A lot of people are saying they do it just to sell more iPads, but I'm skeptical. I bet they have research telling them only a small percentage of customers want multi-user sharing.

Every single person with kids either wants this, or just doesn't know they want it. That is not a small market. Do you want your kid to have access to your email, saved credentials and saved payment cards? No.

I have two kids and have not once wanted this. What am I missing? Why should I want this?

To be sure the kid won't accidentally/purposefully:

- factory reset the device

- delete all your emails

- dismiss a (very important notification/message)

- spend $$$k on micro transactions

- change a random setting you never knew existed and don't realise why things suddenly stopped working

(I'm thinking here of young kids below the "understand the technology/responsibility well" age, possibly not able to read yet)


You want it if you yourself use the iPad for more than just watching Netflix, and you ever hand your iPad to your child without locking them into a single app using that feature.

Otherwise, they can do things like delete incoming chat messages you haven't yet read, delete any/all notes/photos/ etc, and a hundred similar things — and in many cases, it's easy to do accidentally.


That sort of begs the question, and what of it?

Usually when that's invoked with Apple, it's a misapplication of the general principle of simplicity, used to create a blanket ban against features desired by a superminority.

Even just given TFA, we can see that's not how Apple operates in practice, and in context, TFA describes in detail of how Apple says it wants to flesh out more of these type of features for years on iPad, and it hasn't.

Most damning: _the feature exists_. But obscured. It ain't about simplicity.


But they already put the effort in to build it. So why not let everyone use it?

Complexity that comes with it. Both from an implementation point of view but also from a user experience point of view.

Think about storage, notifications, app management, etc.


Yes, android has had all this working for years, on phones and tablets alike.

It's not trivial but I'm not going to give a trillion dollar company reprieve for a feature standardized in all of its competition.


As the poster before you said, they have already built it. They have already solved those issues. They only offer the solution to schools and big organisations that use their management software to control lots of devices.

Use cases in family context is different from that of schools and businesses, both in terms of account management and in terms of user journeys.

So I’m not sure the infra for those edu and commercial use cases would work elegantly “as is” for a family setup.


A company that is making 45% net margin, mostly from their hardware sales (revenue from associated services is very dependent on the limitations they put in, on purpose); is not trying to make even more profit.

Like Apple sole focus in the last 10 years has been on insuring profit growth at all cost, annoying many customers in the process.

You are dangerously naive.


There is something particularly immoral about companies like Nintendo/Disney/Apple that have some sort of mind-control over their customers.

I think outsiders see this. There is something a bit 'off' about the loyalty of the customers. The other day I saw a family wear micky mouse ears in public. Someone else can define the difference between fandom and mental illness.


Sometimes they seem so biased that I can't believe the company apologists are even real humans with freedom of will.

They argue for things that are counter to their own interests. It's difficult to avoid coming to the conclusion that I'm arguing with AI or a paid employee.

The existence of these people proves that there is something fundamentally different between my life experience and theirs. I must be missing a lot of context for why they act like they do.


You can add in Tesla as well.

Apple and Tesla are unique in the levels of brandd zealotry they seem to induce. Nintendo users for example are unlikely to only ever use a Nintendo device...they may own other consoles or play other games on a computer.

Apple and Tesla users tend to only own and use those devices to the exclusion of everything else, which feeds the myopia.


I’d have to agree. I see the use case for wanting to share with your small child. It sure seems to me like buying the cheapest iPad is the solution most people go for. Like the gateway drug before a parent feels the kid can handle a phone.

Indeed I have no interest in multi-user iPad. I have one, my wife has one, my daughter has one. Sharing them just wouldn’t get us anything.

Would some people want it, sure, but features aren’t free to add or maintain.

iPhone mini showed how much vocal Internet commenters (don’t) represent the actual user base. Commenters said they wanted a smaller iPhone. Then it sold poorly. And I say this as I write this on an iPhone 13 mini.

I suspect the multi-user iOS, right along with the people complaining that iOS is underpowered generally, is the same phenomenon at work.


I know that iPads aren't a necessity of life, but your post reads as "I have enough money to buy 3 iPads, so I don't care about families that want to share a single one to save money"

Or they can buy 3 cheaper Android tablets. Or they can buy 1 Android tablet, seeing as Android supports multiple users. So no, I really don’t care about families that would rather whine about Apple than exercise some agency and buy other products that already have the features they claim they want.

Sure, but don't Android tablets suck -- especially the ones with 11-inch displays rather than 7-inch displays?

Samsung ones are quite good. And Google Family gives you a lot of granularity on what they can access too…

sure it does.. just significantly less than ipads

Welcome to being a grown-up. You have to pick from available products and decide what’s important. If you want multi-user support, don’t buy an ipad.

There are non-tablet alternatives. Get a laptop. Get a Chromebook. Both support multiple users. Both can be cheaper than an iPad.

Indeed maybe the Android tablets “suck” because Google and those manufacturers are busy adding things people don’t want, like, ahem, multi-user support, while maybe Apple products are better because they are focused and don’t have the kitchen sink.


That is just plain wrong.

Android tablets absolutely don't suck if you put as much money in them as you would in an Apple one. It is just that people have been convinced by marketing and by people like you (believers) that they suck at any price and that if you have to put as much money, you better get an Apple one anyway, which is just plain wrong.

You seem to conveniently forget that the reason iPad got so much traction is because they launched at a price that was very competitive. It was state-of-the-art technology and even if you wanted to put more money there wasn't much better to be had.

Now you are somewhat right telling people to not buy an iPad, but they also have the right to complain about the state of things, particularly since switching OS is an expensive (have to rebuy all the software, possibility content held captive in the "Store") and time consuming (need to figure out how to transfer everything and learn new stuff). This is especially true since Apple has made this part very difficult for obvious reasons. If you relied on their messaging platform there is just no other way than to export and archive, losing all continuity and if you relied on their office suite there is no other way than to export and recreate any files in a competitor software. This problem exists in other parts of this industry but it's rarely as bad as with Apple... And there is the fact that since their hardware doesn't support any other OS, telling people to just change hardware that is still in good shape, that should be more than sufficient for their need is just stupid peak consumerism. "It's fine, you just need to re-buy all the things, and then it works "

So, people complain against their disgusting behavior and ask for better solutions for the money they spent, as they should. You don't have more legitimacy telling people to just chose another vendor no matter how you feel...


> features aren’t free to add or maintain.

The argument is that is is free because the feature already exists and is being maintained. You just aren't allowed to have it.


And Apple wants all families to behave like yours, to grab more money.

You've just described capitalism. Consume accordingly.

Edit: It seems people are offended. I didn't mean to. Let me rephrase: Apple's fiduciary responsibility is to make money for its shareholders. If you are not in favor of this, pick different products (slowly migrating back to Linux, in my case.)


https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2019/08/24/stakeholder-gover...

1. Fiduciary duty has a specific legal meaning that is not really applicable here.

2. Corporations are not responsible solely to their shareholders.


Boeing kills people, but it is OK since they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders. This is just capitalism.

If you are not in favor of this, pick different products. You must learn to kneel to the overlords.


I think the question isn't so much whether Apple users want multiuser support. Rather the question is whether Apple wants customers who can't afford to buy one of each sort of device for each family member.

At a previous company, we rotated secondary (more portable) devices around the oncall rotation. I think we used a macbook air, and some fancy portable Windows netbook. Now that iPads exist, and they're super portable, I can imagine that they'd be great for oncall. That being said, I wouldn't want my settings, say in the terminal for example, to affect mine. Although MDM is a solution, at the scale of the ~50 person company, we didn't have anything as the such, nor the capabilities, time, or money to figure it out.

> features aren’t free to add or maintain.

No, but Apple already built this feature and maintain it. So why only restrict it to large organisations?


Isn't the iPhone SE, which is now on its third generation, selling pretty well? That kind of made the mini redundant, no?

I rock it and they can pry it off my cold dead hands…

The button works every time, unlike Face ID which is sometimes hit / miss for me.

Camera is quite good. Not the latest / greatest but honestly, who cares? Most people believe they are artists that are shooting the next masterpiece, yet most pictures are a)never seen ever again or b) a poor attempt of a picture already taken 20 million times - you are not that special as Apple makes us believe.

Pocketable, decent battery, does not force me to grip it forcing my finger joints. Screen is small, yes, but an upside to remember to put my phone in my pocket more and live the world more. I have a laptop and a tablet for longer sessions.


I have one (original SE, makes the Mini -which I also have, and use daily- look like a slab).

It's my low-end test device, but tops out at iOS15, so it's almost useless.


It still has the home button, which makes the screen smaller. No FaceID. And the camera is inferior.

The iPhone mini was so crippled it was a waste of money. When I say I want a smaller phone, I mean I want a smaller version of the same phone. Not one with shitty components and artificially disabled hardware.

The 13 mini is perfectly capable, even today, for 90% of users.

I'm going to keep using mine for as long as I can, and just hope that Apple releases another one by the time I need a new phone.

"shitty components and artificially disabled hardware" is one way to look at it. I think "significantly smaller battery and scaled accordingly" is more accurate, personally.

I'm an undemanding phone user. I take pictures, catch rides, use the map, take calls, listen to stuff. I don't hang out on my phone. So I want a phone that's as small as it reasonably can be, it fits more places and I notice it less.

However, I also want the battery to last a full day. The only way I'm going to get that is if the phone is somewhat less powerful than a phone running the same OS and apps with a rather larger battery. This is a tradeoff I am comfortable with, and was able to figure out from first principles when getting the 12 mini (and now the 13).

It's fine to want a phone which is small like the mini, as powerful as the base model, and which lasts just as long on a charge. But I don't see how any company could deliver that phone.


yes, today. When it came out, it was missing some features that were enabled in the bigger models. I don't remember specifics, so I can't be more helpful here.

I'm fairly sure you're conflating the mini with the base model, and comparing it to the Pro. The Pro always has features which the base model lacks.

I don't remember there being any features, ever, which the mini was missing and the base model iPhone had. Might have missed it, but I'm going to need to see a link.


At a minimum I would like a guest mode so I can hand the device to someone without them being able to read all my emails and go through my photos.

I ended up basically disabling all of my chat app notifications— there's enough sensitive stuff in there and I don't want some spicy meme popping up when my kid is looking over my shoulder or using my phone to play a game, or worse it's being Carplay-mirrored.

Guided access covers some of that, but I really don't think it's the whole story. Rather than locking everything to a single app, I'd rather something more like a guest session that sees all the apps, just all of them in a logged-out state... no messages, no emails, no calendar, no banking info, no history for Google Maps or open tabs/autocomplete in the browser, none of it.

But perhaps that feature is really just a subset of the broader users/profiles request that is being made here, because then I could have separate users for "primary" and "family" on my phone, and the "family" user would still enjoy continuity from session to session (game progress, previously visited YouTube videos, whatever) but in a separate universe from the continuity of the primary user.


You could employ Face ID for that no?

The implication of "I wish I could hand my iPad to..." is that the person receiving the iPad would be able to use it, not just physically hold onto it.

I mean you can unlock the iPad with passcode, but you can lock specific apps or folders behind Face ID..

At least on Mac you are able to do this..

I agree they should just enable guest accounts etc, just thought this was a workaround in the meantime


I think that's too granular and is dependent on the apps offering Face ID as a secondary-layer authentication flow -- I think OP is suggesting an entirely different user profile that doesn't even have the same applications that the original (save for the default iPadOS apps, and even those should be logged out from your Apple ID). The cognitive overhead of "did I make sure to enable Face ID on x,y,z apps so that I can pass around my iPad without worrying about any personal data being accessible" is too high for spontaneous + casual device sharing.

Example: "Hey uncle ping00, can I use your iPad real quick to watch something?" "Sure nephew, <switches profile to Guest ,and hands it over> go nuts"



Guided access is for restricting access to one app. Not great for a multiuser experience. The AppleTV gets it right in a lot of ways but an iPad with faceID and/or fingerprint sensor could instantly recognize a given user and have their profile ready

Yes and no, you can limit people to one app but I would say it's too clunky to initiate and not flexible enough to really let someone borrow your tablet for a few minutes.

Just buy more iPads, obviously!

> Even tvOS supports switching between user profiles quickly.

I wonder if somebody had to justify that in an internal meeting at some point? "Most TVs have multiple HDMI ports, wouldn't it be only fair to expect families to buy one Apple TV per–"...


I think it’s a big unaddressed problem for Apple that they have an Apple TV device, an Apple TV app, an Apple TV service, and an Apple TV Plus service.

What is the linguistic equivalent to skeuomorphism? Anachronism?

Apple using "TV" all over the place is like plastering their apps with 3.5" floppy or 120mm optical disks, or prepending anything user-specific with "My ".


At least to me, TV is a service/abstract concept as much as a device (but then again, I didn't grow up speaking English, and my native language has a different word for the service and the device).

So if there's a thing that can show me a bunch of TV serials and movies, why not call that TV?

I suppose you could be nitpicky and say "TV means linear broadcast or cable TV, not VOD"; it should be called (Apple) VCR" – but now we're really talking outdated technologies :)


Once upon a time there was a company who could enter a market with a product and service offering with relatively novel names, like say iPod and iTunes. As time went on some lights dimmed and they just slapped a lowercase I on a generic term. This device became such a success maybe they thought having a new word for a thing wasn’t important anymore. The I was played out so they used their company name instead. Then to avoid complete boredom they added suffixes of pro, plus and Xtreme.

Why? What issues do you have with it?

Having a piece of hardware called an Apple TV, with a TV app, and a "premium" plus service doesn't strike me as a problem. Except perhaps that the Apple TV isn't a TV, which is kind of funny, but I can't think of a better product name and it's not something of real concern to me.


Why not just remove Photos from the iPhone and merge it with Camera? Why not just stop calling it an iPhone and call it the Apple Camera?

The names we give things help to differentiate what we think about them.


Exactly: It's an app you watch TV in, similarly to how the Camera app is an app you take photos with, despite the app not physically containing a camera obscura :)

To be fair, the app is just called "TV", and Apple TV is only the device, i.e. I'm not aware of any service called that.

As an occasional Chromecast (with Google TV) (4K) (running Android TV) user, I think Google wins this round of botched branding.

Edit: Of course it makes sense to clarify the app's name as "Apple TV", similarly to "Apple Podcasts" or "Apple Calendar", but that doesn't mean that's its official name.

Sure, Apple could have named it something memorable and unambigous like "CouchPotato" or "Bingetime" or whatnot, but that sounds more like early 2000s Apple from a branding point of view.


I just fired up my AppleTV4k, navigated to my Apple TV app, so that I could view my AppleTV+ service.

I'm not really sure what you're on about, but all of the names you boldly claimed are not named what you say they are named. Right there on the app is the apple logo in front of the letters TV, aka AppleTV. Launching that app in the left hand menu, it clearly states Apple TV+ as an option. The logo on the device is the same as the logo on the app. So if you're stipulating it is read as Apple TV for the device, why would it also not be read the same way for the app using the exact same logo?


> Right there on the app is the apple logo in front of the letters TV, aka AppleTV.

> So if you're stipulating it is read as Apple TV for the device, why would it also not be read the same way for the app using the exact same logo?

The logo of WhatsApp is a chat bubble containing a phone handset, yet it's not called "Chat bubble containing a phone handset WhatsApp".

Of course it can make sense to call the app "Apple TV", to disambiguate it from e.g. the Netflix app on an iPhone. I'm just saying that I don't think that that is its official name, and I also don't think this is very confusing in practice.

Netflix is also both an app and a company! Just say "Apple TV app" or "Apple TV device" if you want to disambiguate them?

> Launching that app in the left hand menu, it clearly states Apple TV+ as an option.

I never claimed that there was no service called "Apple TV+".


> I never claimed that there was no service called "Apple TV+".

"I'm not aware of any service called that."

> Launching that app in the left hand menu, it clearly states Apple TV+ as an option.

You are now aware. That's all I was doing. I never said you never said blah blah blah


> "I'm not aware of any service called that."

I was referring to Apple TV, not Apple TV+, specifically in response to:

> I think it’s a big unaddressed problem for Apple that they have an Apple TV device, an Apple TV app, an Apple TV service, and an Apple TV Plus service.

There's at least one too many "Apple TV x"s in that list, is my point. Apple TV is a device; (Apple) TV is also an app. The streaming service is called Apple TV+.

> Launching that app in the left hand menu, it clearly states Apple TV+ as an option. [...] You are now aware. That's all I was doing. I never said you never said blah blah blah

What? I've been using Apple TV+ for years. Of course they're promoting their own streaming content service in their own app!


Simpler than them being "on about": I'm guessing the app label on iPhone is TV. Dunno though and cant confirm.

To be fair, they're blatantly wrong about the Google branding. They went ahead and did the Apple thing, it's all Google TV as far as consumer branding.


> They went ahead and did the Apple thing, it's all Google TV as far as consumer branding.

Cool, where do I buy a "Google TV" then?

It's still called "Chromecast with Google TV" as of today: https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_google_tv

Google TV is an app/portal/service (with somewhat ill-defined boundaries, but I generally like it on my Chromecast, as it's able to pull in recommendations from basically all available sources, unlike Apple TV, which seems to have some feud with at least Netflix); the Chromecast with Google TV is the physical device I can plug into my TV to make it display Google TV.

The streaming protocol is currently called "Google Cast", as far as I can tell.


The complaint about branding is Google has Chromecast, Google TV, Android TV, YouTube TV and it’s really not obvious which does what from the names. IMO if they swapped YouTube TV for YouTube Cable TV then suddenly it’s more obvious what’s going on even if the name’s dumb.

Similarly Chrome is their web browser so why call the physical device Chromecast? It kind of works because on of its less popular features also uses Chrome so that reinforces the name for anyone who uses it this way, but that’s a real stretch now days.


Related to that: The protocol that these (and many third-party devices) speak is called "Google Cast", yet Google refers to third-party devices speaking that protocol as "Chromecast built-in"...

> Similarly Chrome is their web browser so why call the physical device Chromecast?

I suppose it originally made sense, given that the physical Chromecast device only worked with Google Chrome, and in its early days even was used for tab mirroring (until most video sites started integrating the protocol natively). Wanting to benefit from the (at the time quite positive) brand perception of "Google Chrome" probably plays an even bigger part.

But at this point it seems like a weird historical leftover.


Even if you were correct (you aren’t), it couldn’t be called just “TV”. That’s patently absurd. How would a trademark like that ever be enforceable.

Who said it's trademarked? Apple has apps on macOS named "Photos" and "Calendar." There's apps on iOS named "Camera" and "Notes." It's not at all crazy to have one called "TV."

I just checked on my Mac: It's really called "TV" (both in the dock and in the "about" window inside the app), or "TV.app" in the file system.

And why would they need to trademark it?


What do you call it outside the context of your Mac?

Sure, and if I say the "TV app", people will know what I mean. /s

There are TVs that have the Apple TV app on the TV.

Apple TV video service is definitely called Apple TV.

Apple's goal is to confuse people into staying in their garden. The "TV" app is only available on iOS devices.


I definitely also say "Apple TV app", but I'm just not convinced there officially is such a service! (Not sure if that's more a statement about me or Apple's marketing/branding department.)

There used to be iTunes, where you could buy and rent movies. Then Apple split that app into its components "Music" (including purchased music as well as the subscription service called Apple Music), "TV" (including movie rentals, purchases, and the subscription service "Apple TV+") and "Podcasts".

Since these three things are quite generically named, of course it makes sense to practically refer to them as "Apple Podcasts" etc., and Apple's marketing department should have seen that need coming, but in-ecosystem, it does align somewhat nicely with other apps called Calendar, Mail etc, and when it's not clear from context, just add "Apple" in front (and maybe "app" at the end), and everybody will know what you're talking about.


It's a UI/UX thing - Apple decided that iPads are single-user devices and login switching is too complicated. That's apple for you. Also, you still can't install runtime environments, making the iPad Pro a poor laptop substitute for developers - again, for no good reason. That's Apple for you.

Trying to use an iPad to develop software (or do anything productive really) is always going to be a bad experience even if you can install runtimes. It's just not fit for that use case, and you're always going to be better off with an actual computer.

No. Developing on a bigger monitor is always going to be a better experience, but you can certainly develop on a 13inch screen as well (when traveling or out and about).

> It's just not fit for that use case

Only because Apple hasn't enabled the use case through their OS. It's not an inherent limitation of the hardware anymore.


I program on a 13 inch laptop all the time. I would love to be able to use the 13 inch iPad Pro for that.

But Apple would want you to purchase a Macbook Pro for that. An iPad is but a tricycle for the mind.

Yeah I think they’ve drawn a bright line and people keep insisting this device should be more capable, but Apple _does not want it to be more capable_. They just don’t. They don’t see it as a productivity device (though they often advertise it as one for some reason). It’s like… productivity-lite. A device for unserious people to do unserious things.

The iPad Pro is pulling double duty as both a professional workstation and a CEO laptop.

Tim Cook has bragged about being able to do most of his work on an iPad, and I believe him, because executives spend most of their time reading and replying to e-mail. The iPad does that well because it inherited the Mail app from iPhones, which was already pretty good and just needed to be blown up to a larger size. And iPads make your organization look futuristic, at least to all the other executives you're talking to.

The only reason why people are complaining about iPadOS' limitations is because Apple made the mistake of making it useful for creative professionals. They wanted to ship the Apple Pencil and wound up making it an iPad accessory rather than its own thing. So now people who want to draw with the Pencil - which is an amazing drawing experience - are saddled with the limitations of an iPad.


"CEO laptop" is a nicer way of saying "$999 email writing device".

Indeed, but it's also a class of overpriced laptop Dell and a few other companies were trying to sell back around 2010:

https://youtu.be/cSoKyMMIxso?t=125


Well, there are definitely serious third party apps for serious users to create music, draw etc. It's just the OS and Apple's apps that are holding it back...

I think desktop alternatives like Wacom tablets or studio DAC equipment are far more useful for professionals and I doubt there’s anything specific to the iPad that would make it a better alternative than a desktop.

Perfectly good reason. They don’t want to cannibalize existing products. You never want the customer thinking there is no real difference between a MacBook and iPad. You want them to truly believe in the uniqueness of the product.

Iwatch was a master class in that bullshit. Took long enough but people did eventually realize it’s a shittier smaller phone lol (but we’re talking genuine levels of shittier).


Complete nonsense.

I love my Apple Watch. I can leave my house, make payments be fully contactable, access useful information about weather, stonks, work pager messages etc. while weaving a heavy clunky device at home and no distractions like social media. It’s also a fitness tracker and saved people I know who have heart conditions lives. I have the ultra abs the battery life is wonderful too.

Like, a device that can literally save your life is shit ?


[flagged]


How does your phone work as a fitness tracker with HRM ?

If you actually want good heart rate monitoring you get one of those straps that go around your chest anyhow.

I have that too, nothing beats the convenience of the watch for daily runs / hikes / lifting.

Anyway you need something to record the data from the chest strap, again the watch is best for this. Running with the phone sucks.


That’s a pretty bold assumption to make.

And yet the watch still requires you to pair it with a phone. They could sell standalone watches without a phone and will cellular service. They won’t though and Apple’s statements about environmentalism are b.s. for this an other reasons.

Not sure if you own an Apple Watch but there is almost zero doubt in my mind they’d sell less watches, especially to boomer generations and above without the phone setup experience. Originally the phone needed the watch for cellular so the UX has grown out of that.

You’re a hacker news reader so more like an “elite” user of technology. Most people aren’t and won’t do things like read the Apple Watch EULAs on the watch, setup payment cards on the watch alone. I don’t think it’s even possible to setup the eSIM and number syncing without the phone yet. It seems tied to your phones IMEI.

Maybe Apple would make a UX for the small minority of people like yourself, but they already have a lot of stuff going on and I guess it’s not financially viable to satisfy everyone in all situations.


I don’t believe there is any legitimate reason to not allow the watch to be a standalone device with cellular ability and a phone number or have cellular capability and to be able to use something like a Google Voice number.

They couldn’t sell less watches if they allowed what I suggest becuase they could always allow the option of tying it to a phone. Instead of having stupid things like an app keep track of how often you are on your phone how about give people an option of not having a phone? Let people have the connectivity they want in case of emergencies and to communicate without needing a phone.


Who's to say in the future they won't sell the watch independently? Personally, I just don't really like the conspiracy thinking. I have an iPhone and an Apply watch and currently. I understand why the app is important for managing the watch easily and I can also imagine a time in the future when the voice assitance or the UX has improved to the point where the app can go.

I don’t think in conspiracies normally but in this case I think it’s apt. I think an independent Apple Watch would cannibalize iPhone sales. Just like a fully capable iPad Pro would cannibalize Mac sales.

Given the price of the Apple watch, would this be horrible?

Oh another use case I think is important, the app store, who would that work on the watch? how do you have reviews etc?

I still think the phone is kind of "required" currently.


The status quo benefits Apple’s bottom line. After all, if you can’t share your iPad, Apple can sell each member of your household one.

Might work for some, but I am in the same boat as GP. I’m either buying one to share, or none at all.

I have a large(ish) family. We have a LOT of iPads. No way around it. Definitely a feature not a bug designed to sell more iPads.

Would be nice to have, but I don't even use this functionality on my MacBook or iMac(s) at home. For me computers (and iPads) have always just been "personal" for as long as I've used them.

It's pretty common though for people to let kids use the iPad and not their personal-work-everything-MacBook. iPads don't even have a guest mode, so you are essentially limited to deciding whether the whole device is personal or for sharing.

Honestly for this use case it’s easier to just buy a cheap second hand iPad for your kids. At least that way when they smash it, it’s only $200 to replace instead of whatever the latest pro costs now.

In my case, the only iPad is the cheap secondhand one. It would still be nice if I could "borrow" it for the weekend without having to sign in to every service that is already tied to my Apple ID.

I don't disagree with you in general and it is what I recommend to others with the same issue... but the issue is completely unnecessary since (however many generations ago iPad hardware stopped struggling).


This is exactly what I did. I got 2 refurbished iPads for about $100 bucks a piece almost 3 years ago. Works great, and the kids don’t fight over who’s turn it is.

Nice if you can afford it! With Apple's current prices, most of us don't have that luxury.

Then afford what can be gotten with other vendors rather than wishing for something outside a price range with different featires

I do. But Apple has a problem if their position is the same as yours.

> But Apple has a problem if their position is the same as yours.

From what i see, this is their position and it looks like, so far, it has worked out for them quite well. I'd love to hear your take on it as it seems you have a different than mine.


Well investors tend to care more about future growth potential than past performance. History tells us that the outlook for expensive proprietary platforms is usually not so good.

I agree and the fall has already started I believe. But they have "believers" that don't seem to understand the rational of people saying this.

Funny thing is that even Steve Jobs said as much in an interview: basically, that a computing platform was dead without market share and they made a mistake with the Mac, making it too inaccessible for too many people. But I guess history and mistakes are just a cycle.

It would be very good for everyone if they fell from grace and start "losing" profit so they can't start working on stuff, once again.


Complete the opposite for me here. The iPad is shared, and we use the Focus feature for different users

For me, the 12” MacBook ended up being superior to the iPadOS experience.

It’s the lightest laptop ever made I could find at the time and a similar form factor and weight to an iPad with keyboard.

If Apple ever released a 12” MacBook again with Apple silicon I’d go pick one up immediately, and likely use it more than my MacBook Pro.

Having a super light full desktop experience without the time required to tap extra gestures was much better.

iPad also was a pretend computer for a long time until it got mouse support, then specifically built in to the keyboard.


> iPad also was a pretend computer for a long time until it got mouse support

That was a very important step forward. Now, it is a pretend computer with mouse support.


Haha. That's true.

Apple's resistance to a mouse continued with the resistance to having a mouse pointer.

A Surface Pro running MacOS would be the real game changer.

Being touch-first is much more inefficient than using a mouse and keyboard.

The pageantry of taps and swipes needed add up to a lot of time, and knowing the difference, it can be difficult to justify the effort. Maybe I'm missing a detail.

Apple is excellent at introducing technology to beginners (just use your finger), it doesn't mean it's the most productive or effective.


was just thinking the other day due to the latest iPad release.. I dont know how people stand to use an iPad when you can get a 13" Macbook air or in your case the 12" and just use that. Just the fact that the screen is held to the correct angle for 90% of use cases is huge. Sitting.. lounging.. I can't even really think of a regular use case I have where the iPad ergonomics are better.

Love that as well. Even M1 12" would be a better device.

Since Apple is known to be the most prolific iterator of building working hardware during design.. that and more probably exists :(

I loved my old 11" MB Air. That was the perfect form factor for my lighter workloads, and was perfect for manager life.

I have a friend still using his 9 years later.

He is non-technical and it took some bullying to get him to max out the ram and cpu but he never imagined an 11" wouldn't be availbale in the future and assumed he'd upgrade.

The 11" was excellent. If there was a newer version, the bezels would be much smaller, and maybe a different kind of 12" could fit in it.

There is not much that is interesting after so many new devices, but an 11" or 12" would be something I'd want quickly enough to line up for it.


Does tvOS user switching do anything at all? I tried recently, and all the third party app data was shared across users.

It basically just switches over Apple app accounts, such as Music and Photos. Everything else---all third party apps and the home screen layout and BT devices---are exactly the same.

It's laughably bad, since Photos doesn't even support more than one iCloud photo library per TV, so switching just makes the Photos app not work.


Mainly it makes the Apple TV+ app understand your watching history (“up next”) better.

Apple has an API so that third party apps can tie profiles to appletv user ids (iCloud ids) but I haven’t seen a single 3P app that uses it. Apple could make it mandatory at some point I suppose but the UX for connecting the two in each app would likely be tedious.

Also there is no password protection with changing user ids so kids can accidentally screw up your watch history / preferences. And without any passwords you don’t want to connect photos or anything like that to the tv.

It’s pretty much a botch, just like the cases described in this article.


the 1 person per ipad is 100% a product decision to get people to buy more ipads.

if they made ipad's multiuser capable (it's is perfectly easy to do it technically) ipad sales would tank.

they will never do that to their sales figures.

the single user nature of the ipad is not a deficiency but a feature.


iPad sharing is a massive no go. That product is mostly for the education industry and you better convince the school board every kid needs their own iPad (an AI powered one soon enough). Basically becomes a government mandated device, good business.

Except they allow schools to run device sharing.

Android supports this but as usual with Android, it's shoddy and broken.

For example, if you log out of a secondary profile and log back in, all your widgets will be gone. I don't have the bug link handy but IIRC, it's been open since 2021.


Now I understand a little bit better why AppleTV (or whatever the streaming service is called) doesn't support multiple profiles either.

While I agree multi-user would be nice, I don't necessarily agree it's a good thing for families. A shared device should be treated as such. Don't install or login to apps that you're not okay with the rest of the family accessing.

I'd even argue that children that aren't old enough to have their own device (IMO before high school) don't need a personal profile. And on that tangent, kids shouldn't even use phones/tablets device unless they can responsibly use them.


Not just schools, businesses too. They’re gatekeeping the feature solely to make more cash and it infuriates me.

Preface: I fully agree with you and wont buy an iPad weithout user switching.

However, user switching seems to be a features more on lower priced budget devices for world markets where individual people cant afford their own devices. When you are rich enough to live in the western world and buy Apple products, you dont share them!


But Shareholder Value..

My guess is that in addition to Apple just not caring, they have market research telling them that most users don't want this feature. I imagine that the average HN commenter is probably as far as possible from the average iPad buyer. The main usecase is for families, and it's introducing a lot of complexity for basically no return.

Yeah, and people having families is pretty rare: no more than a few percent of their market :eyeroll:. The issue isn't that people don't want it: almost everyone wants it! The issue is that the alternatives to the iPad for its use cases are almost precisely zilch, and so implementing this feature mostly serves to cause people to spend less money on redundant iPads.

AppleTV has multi-user support but it’s not NEARLY good enough. I would really appreciate more capability there. I want cleaner boundaries around the standard and child experiences, as well as more individualization.

Mostly I’m annoyed that all the individual streaming apps have profiles, but they don’t have any link to the Apple ID you’re using. If I’m the active user on the AppleTV, I should see the apps I care about and my profile in those apps.

TL;DR stop letting my family ruin my recommendations.


Good luck. People would then just buy one iPad and share it in the household. Apple is struggling to be profitable, I see no reason they should not try to make every penny they can.

Nah. I suspect that if Apple enabled multiple accounts, it would be a feature used by a very small minority of iPad users. It wouldn't make a dent in their sales.

> Apple is struggling to be profitable

Genuinely curious, how does one come to the necessary conclusions that then lead to making statements like this?

What supports the notion that Apple is struggling to be profitable?


It’s a “hallucination”. Human Intelligences are currently quite prone to them. Many times they just make up plausible sounding sentences that aren’t true because they’re just fancy autocomplete.

It's called sarcasm.

<sarcasm>

tone indicators are wonderful and i highly recommend them when theres any doubt as to your intent due to the tone agnostic nature of text :) /gen

If $23b of earnings last quarter[1] is struggling, I would love to struggle as much as they do.

[1] https://www.apple.com/newsroom/pdfs/fy2024-q2/FY24_Q2_Consol...


<sarcasm>

What's absurd to me is: forget all of what this article writes about, because Apple could fix all of it and the iPad would still be fundamentally flawed at a more basic level than anything listed, because editing text is horrifically broken, has been since the first iPhone came out, and hasn't seen any significant improvement since I can't remember.

And the crazy part is: just like this article, everyone overlooks it.

Pay attention, and you'll notice it. (sorry to everyone who had blanked it out). Think about how long it takes/ho many steps it takes to put quotes around a chunk of text; to correct a misspelling; to rearrange some words. It's agonizing once you think about it, and Apple (nor Google, as far as I know) has done zero to fix it in years (a decade?).


Typing and editing text has worked perfectly (with and without a proper keyboard) for many years on iDevices, until Apple broke it in the most recent OS version. Some major change, apparently related to spellchecker, hinders cursor movement now and results in entire words being unintentionally selected all the time.

(PSA: if the recent change annoys you to no end, as it did me, you can get back the previous editing behavior by turning off spellchecker in OS settings.)

Not counting source code, I type more text on a screen on either iPad or iPhone these days than any other way. If it was not convenient, I wouldn’t be doing it.

> Think about how long it takes/ho many steps it takes to put quotes around a chunk of text; to correct a misspelling; to rearrange some words.

None of those are slow. You know you can:

1) tap anywhere in text to move the cursor?

2) long tap (and drag if desired) to do the same ignoring word boundaries?

3) hold spacebar to move the cursor around the text?

Finally, you know if you type a lot you can connect your favorite mechanical keyboard and it will work just like it does on Mac, with Emacs-like movement combos and all?

Yes, if you like pain and insist on typing on a screen keyboard (I guess I do), certain text adjustments would be marginally slower than with a hardware keyboard, but on the other hand if you normally type English then swipe-typing more than compensates for that.


> 1) tap anywhere in text to move the cursor?

This behaviour is a mess, IME. iOS makes arbitrary judgements about the word boundary it thinks I'm aiming at and is about 50% wrong. I regularly find words or lines it will refuse to position the cursor into, instead insisting on moving to the line above or below. Line breaks seem to confuse it too. I often have to position the cursor the word before the line break, insert my new text and then reposition to delete the old text.

2) + 3) The rhythm to engage this vs the one to engage selection is completely opaque to me. I still don't know how to engage selection intentionally, successfully. I've owned iPhones since the 3s.


It’s not arbitrary, it’s intentional (though you and I may hate it)

The default UITextInputStringTokenizer prefers to place the caret at word boundaries. I implemented exact placement for my coding app, Codea, and wrote about the text system extensively here: https://sim.coffee/textual-healing/

Exact caret placement is actually surprisingly effective with a reasonable font size. I wish Apple offered it as a preference system-wide

Selection defaults to a double-tap to select at the word granularity. Triple tap will select at the paragraph granularity. This is customisable in your own apps, though the system defaults to the one specific to your current language


I love Codea! I bought it just to play around with it!

Thank you! We build Codea in our spare time, evenings and on weekends. It’s a really rewarding project

> iOS makes arbitrary judgements about the word boundary it thinks I'm aiming at and is about 50% wrong.

For me it's closer to 100% of the time because it is incapable of letting you tap one word over, you have to tap far away then where you want, because it simply will NOT listen when you tap to a neighboring word, it will move the cursor right back to the word it's on.


I’m on iOS 17 and when I tap any word in the text field, neighboring or not, the cursor 100% of the time jumps at the boundary of that word closest to the tap. It is precise enough that I can aim before or after trailing punctuation. Whether there is a word selected or not does not matter: if I previously selected a word by double-tapping, the cursor jump will just un-select it.

I have made a screen recording, but am too lazy to figure out a way to share it.

It almost sounds like a few repliers here are using some other phone, or ignored the point I made previously about the spell checker. I feel your pain but I can help no more.


> or ignored the point I made previously about the spell checker

It turns out I had ignored the point about the spell checker. I had turned off auto-correction, but left on checking/underlining. So I apologise for that.

So I turned off the checker and it's noticeably better, but still not ideal. The first attempt I made got the word wrong by one. I continued with more success but found other strange issues.

For example: If I gently long-press, I get a tiny popup showing the words either side of the cursor magnified slightly. This seems a modern implementation of the old "magnifying glass" feature. This "magnifier" follows the cursor works if you then drag left/right and sometimes up. If you drag down, it disappears. It's smaller than the original magnifying glass, and closer to the cursor (and your finger) so it's less useful... and why close it when dragging down??

> I can help no more

I think you misunderstand the intent of my post. I wasn't asking for help. I was venting, and attempting to show that Apple have handled this interaction badly. Like... really f*king badly. It's a mess. How is turning off spell checking an acceptable "solution"? The fiddliness and erratic experience should not have passed QA. Or... perhaps the company should review the intentions it has for these platforms. I put up with it on my phone because it's small enough that it cannot be anything other than shit for most tasks (especially for people like me with poor vision). But they're trying to claim iPadOS is a serious bit of kit for serious work, and it fails at stuff that was largely solved for 30 years prior on "proper" computers.


I know people here mostly vent, but I was compelled to help because I type in the phone a lot and felt a similar pain after a recent update and it is fine now that I changed the settings.

This. This. This. THIS. SO MUCH THIS. The "tap away to deselect the original wrong select so you tap back to fix it" has taken at least a day off my life -- half a day for actual wasted time, and another half a day for frustration causing a slightly premature death...

Can’t reproduce any of the issues you describe. Perhaps you are using iOS 17 with spellchecker enabled? Read my comment fully.

As an Apple developer and iPhone user since the 3S, these issues are baked into the OS. That you haven't experienced them speaks to your particular usage. Editing and selecting text has been a longstanding problem with improvements and regressions. As another commenter said, it's a huge annoyance.

Try selecting multiple paragraphs on a website, for example. The behavior is generally unpredictable and requires lots of fiddling. Deselecting text requires yet more work. Double-tapping a word should select the word itself, but that's often not the case. And it's not just websites where the DOM adds complexity; the same erroneous behavior exists for native apps.

For example, open an iMessage text and paste one or more images. Now go back and try to edit existing text. Or add new text. Moving the cursor and text selection is non-deterministic and requires scrolling and fiddling, manually adding line breaks, and then removing them just to get the formatting correct.

In other words, as the OP mentioned, text editing has been problematic on iOS/iPadOS for ages. Interestingly, VisionOS, which perhaps has the most challenging input and editing environment, has managed to resolve many of these issues.

While initial VisionOS releases were buggy and nearly unusable, it's rather striking that you can now use your eyes to move and edit text with more precision than what's possible on iOS/iPadOS--which tells you how much room there is for improvement.


> For example, open an iMessage text and paste one or more images.

I never until today thought of pasting images. I always add them using the Photos button, then just write my message as normal.

I see now how moving cursor around rich text with embedded objects is glitchy, and I imagine if you deal with that on daily basis it could be frustrating.

However, none of the other issues you or others described seem to be reproducible on my phone. Double-tap to select, or tap to place cursor, seem to just work in regular plain text areas.


iOS 16 and I've not used a spell checker for years because it kept correcting my swearing & slang to something I didn't want to say. I did read your comment fully. I replied because I had personal experience that contradicted yours. The "it doesn't place the cursor beside the word I want" gets me a couple of times a week for a couple of years.

I thought you like other repliers are having cursor “misbehaving” all the time, since you wrote it misplaces cursor 50% of the time earlier. That is definitely not my experience.

A couple of times per week it happens for me that the cursor chooses to land on the wrong side of white space or such, but that is infrequent enough and easy to fix that it does not bother me.


> type more text on a screen on either iPad or iPhone these days than any other way. If it was not convenient, I wouldn’t be doing it.

Yes you would just like a lot of other people do - because the device is truly portable, so you can suffer more inconvenience to use it everywhere to communicate in immediate mode

> Finally, you know if you type a lot you can connect your favorite mechanical keyboard and it will work just like it does on Mac, with Emacs-like movement combos and all?

No it won't, I've changed those bad defaults with macos-only apps

> You know you can

Yes I do, and still agree with the OP that the software support is bad and none of the things you list are properly engineered despite the fact that direct analogue finger input has great potential


> you can suffer more inconvenience to use it everywhere to communicate in immediate mode

If it was as awfully inconvenient as some here claim, I would reply to comments or write emails on my laptop. It simply is not.


And if you meant awful inconvenience you should've said so in the previous comment. It simply is ... inconvenient, much more so than with a regular keyboard, but not as awful as to make it completely impractical, so the other benefits can outweigh it and result in plenty of phone typing

> you should've said so in the previous comment

See the comment I originally replied to. “Horrifically broken”, “many steps” and so on.

Also, for me it is often about as fast to type as with a hardware keyboard thanks to swipe typing. Perhaps I think slow enough that it’s not a bottleneck. Pity you all fast thinkers, I suppose.

Editing is sometimes a bit slower, but also depends.


Thank you so much for the PSA. I have been in and out of the keyboard settings screen many times since the update but could not find what was causing the single-tap word selection. Jeeez, talk about an unbelievably annoying feature. Especially bad is how tapping anywhere after the last word in a text area gets interpreted as tapping ON that word, making it impossible to return to the end of an open paragraph with single-tap cursor movement.

Glad it helped. I’m with you, remembering how it was after I freshly updated but before I figured this out is giving me unpleasant flashbacks.

Another annoyance for me is when trying to move the cursor to the end of a long text box like the URL bar in Safari. You basically have to keep using the “hold space bar” method and swiping one inch at a time. I’m sure there’s a better way to do this but I haven’t found it yet.

I find that dragging the cursor to the right is fast enough. However, removing that initial selection of the entire URL takes a couple of frustrating extra taps.

Removing complete selection in a single-line input is a weak point of editing experience on iOS (it is easy in a textarea since you have space to just tap away).


I'm on my first iphone (13) after decades with android/bb/nokia and I cannot explain how much I loathe typing on this thing. It's like it actively goes out of my way to make me not want to copy/paste/edit urls, etc. I also have a terrible time hitting the correct letters and I have scrawny salad fingers.

Every iPhone super user I'm surrounded by (everyone) never talks about how awful the typing experience is and makes me feel like a luddite for not doing it well. I wasn't sure if they were just used to it or they just know how to use it correctly and I don't.

It's horrible. It's helped me a lot to stop pulling my phone out to use social media/web etc to pass time because if I can't click it, if i have to type in a URL or anything like that, I just don't want to even try.


They don't, it's part of the "believer" persona where they will excuse anything and everything, thinking that since it is so expensive and gives so much status that it can't be bad or wrong.

The state of things is appalling, some cheap Android phones give better experience with typing/keyboard than the most expensive Apple phones (you get a proper number row in the first place, avoiding extremely annoying switching when working with numbers).

And I say that as someone who bought the first iPhone (literally imported it before it was even available in France), when the hardware was so superior to anything else on the market that it didn't matter as much that the software could be lacking in some ways.

Nowadays the hardware is still good (overpriced, at least in France) but the software is bad/annoying/lacking on so many levels it's just insane that Apple keeps getting away with selling so many expensive devices with deeply flawed software.

But there has been a slowdown in sales and their chip leadership doesn't matter as much as it used to (at least in phones), so maybe they will start improving their stuff. One can only hope.


Slowdown in sales is inescapable if you make something that doesn’t become obsolete right away. At some point your target audience already has your phones and no strong reason to buy a new one.

> some cheap Android phones give better experience with typing/keyboard

There will always be a phone that beats iPhone in one way or another. There are Android phones with 6000 Hz PWM for low frequency flicker-sensitive people, Android phones with e-ink screens, Android phones with hardware keyboards, etc. However, they suck in other ways because of Android (horrifically insecure, often full of malware from Chinese vendors that requires being a hacker to weed out, lagging in accessibility, etc.) and bad hardware that quickly obsoletes, while iPhones are quite well-rounded and work for everyone on a more or less intuitive level despite what all the haters say about it being “abysmal” in one way or another.


I agree on the slowdown thing, it is normal in a way. But only if you consider that Apple should only do hardware to make 45% profit on it. And this is where I disagree, a lot more Android phones are sold every year because in the end people break/lose their phones, they become insufficient for their needs or they just don't have the means to buying a luxury phone that should be a useful tool first and foremost.

While people are largely irrational when it comes to Apple stuff (the "reasons" people buy iPhone are largely emotional for the vast majority or buyers) they are not entirely stupid and Android phones have become much cheaper for very comparable hardware, when they will have to renew, they may switch. It's definitely a problem for Apple even if you don't think so.

In my country a base iPhone 15 is 970 euros while you can get a Pixel 8 for 600 euros. The phones are very comparable in hardware quality, there is no way an iPhone is 60% better. And there is no way it's going to provide 60% better value over its lifetime, that irrational "thinking" (emotional behavior) that comes with the purchase of luxury products. And I think it shouldn't be a luxury product, it serves no one but Apple to have a tool become a luxury status symbol. It's worse than other luxury products because they don't get a market share as large and they don't influence the purchase of other goods/services as much.

Android is as insecure as you allow it to be. No one I know with an Android phone ever complain to me about Chinese malware. And I'm the tech guy and I get asked about bugs, installation of 3rd party stores, ad blockers, rooting, DNS bypass but no malware. And many have Chinese phones (Huawei and Xiaomi mostly). You just have irrational fears instilled by bullshit marketing and emotional "arguments" from believers. It's a bit like the alarm salespeople who find a way to sell their "solution" that costs more overtime than what it is supposed to protect. Good sales pitch, I guess.

As for the hardware, Android phones do not become obsolete quicker than iPhones (quite the contrary in fact). Since Google and Samsung announced 7 years of support, that cannot be a valid argument anymore. Also, I know from experience that Apple is, in fact, the one to blame. Under the guise of "free updates" they make their hardware become too slow or insufficient in a way that makes it borderline useless while not even providing all the functionalities announced in the update for older hardware. How nice of them to save themselves the trouble of actually supporting an OS instead of conveniently just pushing a single OS on everyone to ease their maintenance burden even though very few will actually want/benefit from the new stuff.

For example, when I sold my Apple Watch Series 3 it became impossible to update it without erasing the whole thing. It received no worthwhile functionality in exchange, most of the new stuff was locked to the new watches (precisely the reason I changed in the first place) and the new software made it slower and have less battery life. To add insult to the injury, it is impossible to go back on an update so you are basically stuck with hardware that is not completely useless but has lost much of its value as a tool. All that to keep the thing compatible with their phone OS.

The only reason I didn't feel bad about selling it is because I sold it cheap to a friend and I take care of the issues for him and he just uses it as a simple watch. He wanted to look cool without spending too much money and he has no use of any of the functionalities, which is the majority of Apple Watch users in my experience. I use it as a sport watch (swimming/running) but my next one will be a real sports watch. Outside of that use case it's pointless and Apple behavior around softwares/update is too bad to invest more money in a product that is lackluster and deeply flawed despite all the years/profits they had.

I think you are largely convinced by emotions about Apple stuff. They have some benefits and are well made but as far as my experience tells me, the major benefit is mostly how people will look at you.

It's a bit like arguing that a BMW is a better car than a Toyota. Yeah sure, but in practice both will let you lose your permit (depending on model, one much faster than the other) and both will carry you to the same places if they are functionally comparable models. But some people still get the BMW, not because there is a particularly good reason for it but because they like how people will look at them and treat them because of it. Unsurprisingly most of this group tends to be young males. The iPhone is basically the same, expect it is a different target demographic, that is larger (younger person, predominantly females).


Perhaps the reason they do not talk about it is because they find it convenient, like me. Could be adjustment period, or you need to play with your keyboard settings (spellchecker and so on).

I find typing extremely easy and fast for the most part, except when swipe-typing gets the wrong word.


1. Open Messages 2. Open any conversation 3. Type "This is going to hurt" 4. Now, in one "tap anywhere," place the cursor after the word "is"

Spoiler -- the cursor will be before the word "going," after the space. It's possible to select after "is" -- for example, you can select after "going" if you're careful (I'd say you have to tap around the "n")

Of course I know about the long tap -- as I said, I've been doing roughly that since at least the deep press days. Open Safari, go to a typically long Amazon URL, and try to get to the end of the URL to edit something. Depending on the URL length, it requires:

1. Tap quickly so the whole URL isn't selected (otherwise you'll drag it)

Then multiple cycles of:

1. Long tap 2. Drag to the right 3. Reach the end of the screen, but not the URL 4. Back to (1)

The spacebar is the same as the long tap. It's better than nothing, but not sufficient.

And adding a keyboard doesn't fix the fundamental issue that Apple hasn't thought deeply about this.

Swipe-typing is a blessing and a curse. Think about what you have to do if:

1. You want to add an "s" to pluralize something 2. You just need to change the last letter or two 3. You want to add any other character right after the word besides the limited set Apple has deemed worthy of special treatment

And that is:

1. Type space 2. Type backspace 3. Type the actual thing you want to type

That's three actions to do one thing. And that doesn't even begin to cover how swipe typing handles alternatives: backspace and do it over? Really? How about automatically popping up alternatives for selection (and then dismissing if the user keeps swiping)?

I'm happy for you that you're happy. I'm not. Apple: hire me and I'll make this better. :-)


> Spoiler -- the cursor will be before the word "going," after the space.

That's optimal for the "insert a word" use case. What would you have it do?


What if I need to type "too"? More to the point, with longer words it's entirely possible to put the insertion point after that word. The shorter the word is, the harder it is to do, until at some point it is impossible (? maybe I need smaller fingers?). That alternative use case just fades into impossibility (again, maybe) without explanation or guidance.

To be clear: I'm not saying that every choice Apple has made is the opposite of what makes sense. I'm saying that in many cases they could have increased usability, and that overall usability is bad enough that editing is painful, substantially slower than on other platforms (MacOS) and that I think there are at least some use cases they could address, but they haven't.


Edited (at first I misread your comment).

Yes, with short words like “or” it is difficult to tap cursor to place it exactly before or after trailing punctuation; however, holding and dragging cursor to a precise position needed (thanks to magnifying glass) takes about a second to do.


It takes me repeated taps on a text entry to get the popover that allows me to paste - why isn't there a keyboard shortcut to access the clipboard? Similarly, I often find it impossible to drag a selection to select more or less characters. Moving the cursor is similarly infuriating. On Android, I had a keyboard that allowed me to swipe on the space bar to move the cursor, why can't I have that here?

Wouldn't be as big of a problem if the spellchecker was not absolute garbage and handled multi-language text input, or just worked well for a single language. Honestly, I don't think the team working on the keyboard at apple has any linguists or any kind of diversity to pay attention to nothing but the most milktoast of English language use.


If you tap and hold on the spacebar it essential becomes a trackpad. That let you move the cursor in all directions.

You just changed my life.

This is not in any way a criticism of you: it is positively absurd how many people are unaware of this. As bad as text editing is for those who know most of the tricks, the fact that many of the tricks are unknown to a substantial number of people is off-the-charts bad on Apple.

That doesn’t help with selection, does it?

You can select text this way too; once it’s in “trackpad mode”, tap the keyboard with another finger, and it will start text selection.

Wow, I had no idea! But the selection is not fluid at all and really difficult this way

I’d say the main problem is that it doesn’t work while operating a phone single-handed, when you only have a thumb available, but on iPad I can see it being useful after some getting used to.

I tried on an iPad. That works but it’s really not a good experience, unless I’m doing it incorrectly. On an iPhone it’s also pretty awkward, I don’t think I will ever use that feature but it’s good to know it exists

On an IPhone and I struggle with the trackpad mode as well. I frequently might want to select a block of text, but the OS really only wants me to select to here and no more. Cannot pin down what arbitrary threshold I am missing.

That's a neat trick. It seems to only work to extend the selection to the right? Meaning:

1. Long-tap with your right thumb, drag the cursor to the end of a sentence 2. Tap with your left thumb (to the left of your right thumb) and drag to the left to select the sentence -- nothing happens 3. Drag your right thumb to the right to make sure you understand what's happening and you're doing it right -- the selection extends, yay! 4. Again try dragging your left thumb -- nothing happens.

How could Apple's human interaction people let this ship?!


[flagged]


> Relax. Go select some text with a mouse, you’ll feel better.

Do you often select text to feel better? Are you OK?


Look I don’t agree with your parent comment but, uh, yes I do. Do you not mindlessly select text while reading?

Thank you. Had no idea this existed.

> why isn't there a keyboard shortcut to access the clipboard?

You can tap and hold with three fingers to bring up the clipboard bar which has icons for undo, redo, cut, copy, and paste. Assuming that's what you mean by "access the clipboard"?


You don’t actually need to hold, just a three-finger tap (anywhere on screen, except keyboard itself) is enough.

Ooh, this is a neat trick, thanks!

Personally, I almost never use it since I often operate single-handed and it is not part of my muscle memory. Tapping the cursor then waiting a second or so for regular context menu (with lookup, translate and other options) is my preferred way.

> It takes me repeated taps on a text entry to get the popover that allows me to paste

I copy and pasted this on an iPhone - I tapped the comment box which summoned the keyboard, and I tapped again and it gave me Paste/Autofill as options.

> On Android, I had a keyboard that allowed me to swipe on the space bar to move the cursor, why can't I have that here?

This is out of the box functionality on iOS. I had a samsung device before, and I had no end of issues with the keyboard failing to summon, certain apps refusing to use my preferred keyboard, password managers not working properly, inconsistent selection/focus/edit dialog behaviour. I don't get _any_ of those issues with iOS.


> It takes me repeated taps on a text entry to get the popover that allows me to paste

> I often find it impossible to drag a selection to select more or less characters.

Your description reminds me of how it felt after that recent OS update I mentioned, until I realized I can turn off spellchecker to restore the previous typing behaviour. Now the copy/paste popover and drag-selection work every time, but I have to really watch for typos.

Like me, you were used to previous behaviour, and the new one is unfamiliar to the point of broken. I agree that Apple has royally screwed up here by making this the default behavior in iOS 17.

However, it’s a bit disingenuous to say it was always broken if it only started working differently in the latest version.

> why isn't there a keyboard shortcut to access the clipboard

On iPad, if you bring up a large keyboard by pinch-zooming the small one, you get those buttons on screen keyboard. (On an external keyboard, the normal macOS copy-paste key combos work always.)


As a very very regular iPad user, and this may be against Apple's intentions, if you're using the on screen keyboard for that stuff you're doing it wrong and are a masochist. I use the Mac for any text editing job because you really need a proper computer for that and the iPad is not a proper computer.

For me, the iPad is mostly a surface for writing on, general admin tasks and basic image editing. The Apple Pencil is the best input device I find. It's not a complete replacement device - it's complementary. Also my 11" iPad Pro is smaller than any laptop and charges off the same charger as my phone so it goes everywhere with me. I'm about to jump on a plane and it has a week's worth of entertainment, music, textbooks, notepad and Lightroom on it and a pencil stuck on the side. This is just perfect for me. But try and replace a macOS machine with it and you might as well chop your fingers off.

The keyboard case is mostly ok but I just never use it. I should probably bounce it on eBay at some point but I keep it around "just in case".

Edit: most of the people I know who use iPads got them mostly for the Apple Pencil support.


> I use the Mac for any text editing job because you really need a proper computer for that and the iPad is not a proper computer.

> For me, the iPad is mostly a surface for writing on, general admin tasks and basic image editing.

I think that's pretty much what the business model grew into and is now cultivated and enforced. There is no Macbook convenient for consumption and no tablet convenient for processing. Either one can do both, but it's cumbersome.

Apple knows they can get their target group to buy both products, so they take care to keep those territories isolated.

And that's also revealing the general handicap the iPad Pro has: It is a product designed to close this gap, running on a OS designed to consciously maintain this gap.


I detest this take so very much. It's as if people have forgotten that laptops were perfectly capable for that most loathesome of words, "consumption", for eons, thank you very much.

I can connect my laptop to enormous monitors and have a lovely movie watching experience. Connect a projector to it, huge speakers, 4k resolution, HDR and whatnot.

What's so much better about content consumption on an iPad that a PC cannot do? The fucking iPad really grinds my gears, it's the most woeful marker of our environmental excesses. Where even a supercomputer smartphone and a hypercomputer computer isn't enough for people. Lamentable.


I'll play devils advocate though I mostly agree with you, as there are occasions where I find consumption on an iPad to be "superior" in the sense that it fits into a certain situation better at a certain time.

If I'm traveling, an iPad is great to watch movies in my hotel room while my partner is sleeping rather than blast the room with extra light and noise. This same scenario can also play out at home! I want to be near my partner but that doesn't mean I need to take over the entire room. We have technology that enables that dynamic now. And my argument against using a laptop in this scenario is largely focused on ergonomics. It's really easy to prop an iPad on my lap and watch Netflix for 3 hours instead of worrying about my laptop overheating on the duvet or needing to be plugged in.

Reading books is also another great consumption medium that is personal to me, even if yes, technically I can read an epub on any computer (and I have read many comics online at a desktop!).

It's not that the PC is incapable of playing back the same media, it's that the form factor of an iPad is often _better_ for any number of scenarios with the tradeoffs of weight/bulk being a more deciding factor in the moment. Sometimes I just want to watch The Office in a comfy chair at a cafe with a latte and an iPad is an extremely convenient medium to fulfill that goal.


With that example of watching movies in a hotel room while your partner is sleeping or a show at a cafe, what makes the iPad much better than a laptop in those instances? If anything, I tend to prefer the laptop as it inherently has a built-in stand with a nice solid platform.

About the only place I find a tablet a better form factor for watching movies is on a cramped airplane seat.


Heat and weight mostly. While the laptop is more "stable" that only applies if you have it standing on it's own. If you want it more in your lap, then that isn't really applicable.

Laptops have a screen and a keyboard. Only the screen is needed for consumption and the keyboard gets in the way in several environments, for example a bed. It's both the extra space and the screen orientations that it forces. When all we had were laptops they were great, then we had tablets and laptops didn't look so great anymore for some purposes.

Keyboard can be helpful in consumption scenario, simply because you can set up correct angle for a display. IPad cases I uses typically have just a single position.

That said, iPad is more convenient when in a bed because you can more easily put it away when you get sleepy, you can read sideways, it's more resilient if in a good case, etc. I never carry laptop to bed, while iPad is part of my go-to-sleep routine since v1.


For me what makes tablet different is the distance you use them. And I think that's also why many people feel that touch doesn't work on laptops when they're comfortable with it on tablets.

If you're reading a book, holding it in your hands works a lot better than looking at it at twice the distance. Same way checking a map at arms length and pinch/zoom right there.

Long movies benefit less from the form factor, but youtube for instance works better.

For what it's worth, 2in1 computers are IMHO pretty good these days. The hinges improved a lot they give the best of both world.


> What's so much better about content consumption on an iPad that a PC cannot do?

I can easily put my iPad on the handle bars of my exercise bike, but not a laptop, much less a desktop.


> What's so much better about content consumption on an iPad that a PC cannot do?

You can more easily use it on your bed, sofa and toilet.


For consumption see my neighbouring post. iPad is also better for users that use the Pencil – artists, notetakers, etc

> that most loathesome of words, "consumption"

Amen, brother!!


And yet the majority of the sibling comments are happily chatting about consuming content. Is it a generational thing?

It's simply the further debasement of the language: "content" and "consume", "fleece" meaning a piece of plastic (and "lamb" being used for both lamb and mutton), "elite" meaning "better", "gift" as a verb, excessive and gratuitous use of intensifiers (the physical manifestation is standing ovations after any public performance) the content-free of useful words like "freedom" and "patriot" and so on.

Languages constantly change and that's delightful. But there is a class of changes that are deliberate manipulation for commercial or propaganda purposes. Often the idea is to hollow out the word and insert a new meaning into the husk, so listenera (at least initially) get the associations of the old meaning while it is transformed into a new one.

I hate this because it is deceptive, and I also hate it when no handy way remains to specify the original meaning ("plastic fleece" would be silly and redundant these days; you can't usefully say "real fleece" any more, so what term do you use?)

"Consuming" a book would mean destroying it ("consumed by fire"). Economists use this for the action of people who buy rivalrous goods or services -- a logical and obvious metaphor. But the use of "content" and "consumption" were deliberate coining: "content" expells any differentiation of what it refers to, applying an equivalence to user-generated work, commercial speech, advertising, propaganda, whatever; "consume" reinforces a corporate producer -> passive consumer mentality that again strips away the agency of the person actually looking at the screen.

Just part of the incessant effort to turn the Internet into "a remote control with a buy button".


>What's so much better about content consumption on an iPad that a PC cannot do?

You can use it on the craper, and can hold it with one hand on the bed or sofa, even lying on your back. Battery lasts a very good while (like 3x the time laptop bateries lasted when the iPad came out, modern AS laptops have caught up).

It also doesn't have all the other macOS maintainance, options, and junk I don't need for the content consumption I do with the iPad (browsing, youtube, netflix, books and magazines, social media for those whose that's their thing).

I mean that kind of extra portability/convenience is the whole purpose of tablets. It's not like they're some totally different technology and can do things a laptop can't do. It's a marginal convenience thing for those aspects.


I don’t find consuming on a Mac hard at all. It even has advantages - better speakers, larger screen, a whack of games that just don’t exist on iPadOS, the ability to install arbitrary media software, and more extensive means of media organization in general.

I've got mine for the enormous screen to read comics and PDFs on.

The on screen keyboard is really best in class if you have to enter text on a screen. For entering and editing larger text, I use a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard paired with my iPad. Dictation also works pretty decently (actually my preferred way of writing long text drafts). Really don’t see the problem with entering text (written on my iPad Air m1 with on screen keyboard)…

Had 2 pencils, broke both within 1 week when they rolled of the table…


I write a lot (several thousand words per day) and even though I love the convenience of writing and editing on my iphone and ipad, it’s become clear in the last couple of years that if I want to write efficiently, I have to do it on my desktop. Text editing (for writing, not coding) has gotten significantly worse in iOS over the last 2-3 years, especially with long documents. I’m surprised that others haven’t noticed this.

Don’t worry, plenty of us have. Surely a gajillion Apple employees have too. Crazy

> Crazy

One of the perks of lock-in is that you don't have to stress over every defect in your product.


Since there are a lot of Android and Windows devices out there, and the top applications are multiplatform (Whatsapp, FB, snapchat, much less wikipedia, google search and such) I'm not sure how much lock in there really is.

Nerds like us who care about running code on our machines are really the minority. Just look how little volume and revenue Apple gets from the mac (if they were run like most businesses they would have sold off or shut down the mac business long ago)


> I'm not sure how much lock in there really is.

All the big tech companies are guilty of illegally suppressing competition in various ways, including locking customers into their platforms through various means.

But Apple? Nobody goes as hard as Apple does with their lock-in strategies. I personally like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'm not going to assume you're just being ignorant because you love Apple. Instead, I'm curious to know what makes you doubt that lock-in isn't their entire business model?

For example, in what universe would iCloud (as it exists today) succeed if customers could actually choose an alternate cloud storage provider for their iPhone/iPad with the same level of system integration?


I don't know -- I do use the icloud/appleID to share cut/paste between my devices or have my watch unlock my mac, but all my files are stored on dropbox, my omnifocus is in OF's storage, passwords in 1password's storage etc. I use MS word, not Apple's crappy pages, etc.

I have used android and windows. It's just that the Apple stuff tends to suck less (but not always, per the examples above).


There's a solution. All these iPadOS problems can be solved by installing macOS. Look, we now have touch pad support (and keyboards since long ago).

There's no technical problem for Apple. It's ONLY that they don't want us to use macOS on iPads. There's really no excuse.


Apple denies it, but the look is in fact that they would rather iOS running on the Mac.

I'm not sure where this aesthetic comes from — that somehow traditional desktop/laptops are an outmoded way of computing and that touchy, file-manager-less, terminal-less, tool-less computer use is the way we all ought to be doing things.


It comes from the top, it's CEO and executive. When you don't use a computing platform to do useful stuff, as a "bicycle for the mind" as Steve Jobs said, it becomes much less clear how iOS/iPad OS can be lackluster in so many ways. Hilariously, even their office suite has limitations on iPad even though Tim Cook supposedly uses it. I'm sure he does but he probably has most of the real work pre-made for him, by people most likely using a Mac.

People will often talk about the disconnection between the elite and the regular people which can also be found in the relation of manager to worker. And this is exactly a reproduction of that.

When you don't really need to use the tools to make useful stuff there is no way to understand how inadequate they can be. Since they know how much they can profit from iOS with the App Store, they try to push it as much as possible, ignoring the fact that even if everybody wanted/agreed to do that it wouldn't even be technically possible, regardless of profits/prices considerations.

There is no worse leader than one that doesn't periodically put himself in the position of the people he is leading. Tim Cook is unable to do that and he has imposed a feminine way of working: collaboration enforced by a pecking order determined by a social construct that doesn't care much about competence/capabilities and the values of ideas/work on their own merit.

Now Apple will keep making good hardware because they have talents that know what they are doing and they have the means to throw money at basically any problem. But the finer details won't improve anymore, they refuse to properly compete in the open market and they refuse to compete internally because they now work on a model following feminin ideals that is not conductive to improvements.

This is why the state of current Apple offerings is very frustrating: it's not going to improve in a cost matter because they clearly like their profits too much and it's not going to improve in a quality/functionality way because they just don't have the structure to do so anymore.

Things will change, but probably not for the better and if so, it will probably be pure coincidence. Many of their passionate customer are intuitively making this realization which is why even the most diehard fans are starting to be pissed off (new iPads review sentiment is rather grim, even worse than their AVP that didn't do anything new or useful).


It’s simply control. Can’t put that genie back in the Mac bottle

The issue is that an interface that's good for a touchscreen often isn't good when using a keyboard/mouse, and vice versa. Touchscreens require significantly larger targets than mice, which reduces the amount of information that a program can convey. For an example, see how much Windows has regressed in keyboard/mouse usability since Microsoft started targeting 2-in-1 convertible laptops in Windows 8.

I’d argue the iOS text interface isn’t even good for a touch screen.

The keyboard works decent but deleting, selecting, spellchecking, editing, undo is an exercise in frustration.

Like I can’t believe we’re over a decade into this and the delete key still does the thing were it goes from painfully deleting letter by letter for far too long, the. Jumping to words for a moment the. Suddenly deleting huge blocks and sometimes this can’t be undone


And that's how they play their trick. We power users much prefer a macOS with a useless touch UI over the iPadOS as it is.

How do you suggest they begin to address it?

I have reached the point where I believe it is a fundamental flaw in _all_ touch-screen interfaces. I would certainly love to see better alternatives.


That's a fair question to ask. The cheeky answer is that it's not my problem to solve, it's theirs. But I am a product manager, so I'll take a shot. None of these replace what we have. Some of them conflict.

1. Bring back deep presses, which isn't very discoverable, but it's memorable once you get used to it, and make it immediately position the cursor. 2. Allow touching with two fingers. If they're next to each other, immediately position the cursor. Spread them and the selection widens. 3. Allow double-tap to select a word. 4. Double-tap and drag to select word by word. 5. Pinch on a selection to cut. 6. Deep press on a selection and drag-swipe in different directions to copy, cut, and formatting options. 7. Deep press on an unselected spot and drag-swipe in different directions to paste and other options.


FWIW I use 3 and 4 on iOS all the time for fixing typos etc

Ha, yes, I knew that 3 was a thing (4 was new to me) and just forgot it as I was stream-of-conscious-ing my way through that list.

I like your thinking, a few thoughts (I'm on iOS)

> Bring back deep presses, which isn't very discoverable, but it's memorable once you get used to it.

Apple does this with many gestures already. Double tap to select a word for example. I think bringing back deep press would be a great move, and agree with everything else you've said here on that.

> 2. Allow touching with two fingers. If they're next to each other, immediately position the cursor.

Long press will put the cursor where your finger is, and will give you a magnified bubble for finer selection (did you really mean to select before or after the hyphen?)

> Spread them and the selection widen ... Pinch on a selection to...

these pinch style gestures would be unusable on a 5" screen I think, and incredibly fiddly even on a 10.1" iPad screen. I work in games, and even though our controllers can handle multiple inputs, we generally tend to avoid chorded inputs because the average person's dexterity is not as good as you would think.


Yeah, the pinch stuff probably wouldn't work well on a phone. I don't know for certain that the problem is even solvable. But it could be made better, and it's clear Apple either doesn't care to try, or thinks that the tools are so frozen in peoples' minds that innovation wouldn't be accepted.

Yeah I think you're right. I think deep press was a very intuitive feeling gesture that should come back and would give some freedom in this space.

A full on-screen keyboard that can be summoned anywhere helps a lot. On a 13" device there's no excuse to not have Ctrl, Cmd, Alt, Tab and Shift keys, complete with escape and the arrow keys.

It can be reduced in portrait mode, but should be there in landscape at least. That gives intuitive and ultra precise navigation, standard copy/paste, word by word navigation, fast and precise selection etc.

And it's also super helpful for selection even outside of text fields.


You might find Eloquent[1] (and a related HN discussion[2]) interesting.

[1] https://www.32al.io/projects/eloquent/

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37630804


I partially agree. I don’t love typing on iOS/iPad OS and am much happier on a Mac. That said, hundreds of millions of people in the younger generation type blindingly quickly on software keyboard.

Perhaps, like the dying art of handwriting in cursive or the decline in knowing how to drive manual transmission, this just how things will be?

If this were truly such a fundamental problem, why hasn’t some enterprising Android vendor found success with smartphones using Blackberry-style hardware keyboards?

Fwiw, I used Blackberries back before the 2007 iPhone launch and never found it addicting the way others did.


I've had (a few) people at work tell me that their kids are perfectly fine with writing a paper on an iPhone. And have actually turned down the offer to get a laptop. Boggles my mind but <shrug>.

My older iPad gave up the ghost recently and my old MacBook Pro is pretty heavy by today's standards to travel by air with. I don't really work on trips any longer so when I get home, I'll likely get one of the new iPad Airs with accessories and just traveling with a Macbook. (My lightweight Chromebook also went so far out of support, it doesn't work any longer--about 12 years old.


Once you actually see them typing you'll realize that they're not actually more efficient, just used to it and they don't have as much experience with physical keyboards. Auto completion helps with some things but if what you're doing is not straightforward, well, good luck to ya.

My partner works for the govenrment and has written hundred plus page white papers for ministerial & public use. She's a hunt and peck typist. The reality is that most people suck at typing, whether they're using a keyboard or a touch screen.

Yeah, true, but it's an abysmal use of time.

I'm not a touch typist 150 WPM weenie, but the "1-2 fingers per hand" hunt and peck typists are EXTREMELY slow. Think 10-20 WPM, lots of errors, etc.

It really is one of the areas where if you invest into getting to 30-50-80 WPM, you will save a lot of time if your job involves lots of writing.

Oh well, it is what it is.


Are kids still taught touch-typing in school these days?

I didn’t type at all until college years ago and have never taken a typing course.

> Apple (nor Google, as far as I know) has done zero to fix it in years (a decade?)

On iOS/iPadOS, touch-hold the virtual space bar and it becomes a trackpad for fine positioning of the cursor.

Magic Keyboard is a laptop-quality input device where capslock can be remapped to Esc for vim editing in ssh.


Yes, I know about the virtual trackpad, and it's still a pain in the butt to use. Before touch-and-hold, there was the faster deep press, which was better albeit not great, and the current setup is a regression.

"add a keyboard" isn't an answer.


> "add a keyboard" isn't an answer.

The best keyboard in the history of mobile computing was by Blackberry.

Blackberry (original and clone) physical keyboards are now available for both Android & iPhone, with some effort.


IMHO the best keyboard was from the N900

Psion/Communicator palmtop derivatives did have the space advantage of a landscape form factor.

Sadly we never got a hardware successor for the dearly departed N900 Maemo and N9 Meego.


Add a keyboard is an answer. On-screen keyboard will always be more limited, but I can accept that, as long as it’s good enough for situations where i can’t use an external keyboard. In situations where I know I will have to do a lot of text entry, it’s easy enough to add a keyboard, or use dictation. I use the same Bluetooth mechanical keyboard, Nuphy air 75, on both my MacBook Pro and my iPad, so keyboard experience is same for both, and both come with a suboptimal keyboard out of the box, including the MacBook Pro.

"Add a keyboard" isn't an answer to the point raised, which is that the virtual keyboard on iOS is highly-sub-optimal, and Apple isn't working hard enough to improve it.

For an on screen keyboard I find it far from highly-sub-optimal, I think it’s pretty decent.

More importantly, it’s not realistic to think it will ever be as good as a real keyboard for lot of text entry. I expect dictation to do a better job for data entry.

In fact, this comment was created using dictation on an iPad, almost flawless, not much editing needed afterwards, and you can always use a keyboards if you prefer.


Even when using that it can still jump the cursor to a unwanted location.

Demo - https://twitter.com/ashconnor/status/1776689029700075749/vid...


What messaging app is that? I tried Line, iMessage, Signal, Twitter. I cannot reproduce that.

It’s Messages. The Apple app.

Yeah. I can’t reproduce that. The image is above the text not below it. Have NFC how you managed that.

Copy and paste an image using the clipboard.

I have a niche complaint that makes physical keyboards a non-starter for me: there is no way to add keyboard layouts to iOS/iPadOS. If you’re used to a layout that isn’t in the subset Apple supports you cannot use a physical keyboard.

I have my own keyboard layout that I use since at least 2011, with drivers for macOS, windows, and Linux. I have no way to make it available on my iPad.


I definitely think you should be able to add keyboard layouts at a software level on iPadOS and iOS, but one possible solution to the problem right now is using a programmable keyboard using QMK [1], ZMK [2], or some other open-source firmware. There's even a usb-usb converter [3] that will convert keystrokes from any keyboard into ones that you map using TMK or QMK, so you can use your own.

[1] https://qmk.fm/

[2] https://zmk.dev/

[3] https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=69169.0


Neat, thanks for sharing

Why is this minor complaint that's fixed by any one of the many official and unofficial keyboard attachments at the top of HN on an article about fundamental issues which can't be fixed without major iPadOS changes

Don't you still need to select the text in the first place ?

Sometimes, and you can do that with the touch pad

Look at the pictures here: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MWR43LL/A/magic-keyboard-... -- does this device look significantly worse for text input than your typical laptop?


You're then relying on an accessory to guarantee text selection.

I'm totally with you: the iPad looks like a competent device from every angle. That's why it's so sad it's only the looks and you have to bend over backwards for basic stuff like selecting a text from a web page or an app straight touching the screen.

For comparison, as much as Windows is ugly and inelegant, there's no basic action on a Surface Pro that requires an attached touch pad.


I'm sure that the people who primarily use the iPad for drawing are happy that they don't need to have a keyboard attached at all times.

So the iPad should be viewed as a glorified MobileStudio Pro ? If I'm really into drawing why would I not go with Wacom then ?

The range of pro/power users happy with the iPad right now looks awfully small to me.

[0] https://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-computers/wacom-mob...


...

people who want to use their iPad primarily for writing will want a keyboard + touchpad

people who want to use their iPad primarily for drawing probably won't want a keyboard or touchpad

I don't know why someone would choose an iPad for drawing rather than a MobileStudio Pro, you'd have to ask someone who draws on an iPad.

Personally, my iPad is purely a video and reading device, so I'm not the target audience for either. I'm guessing you aren't either.


We're in agreement on all these specific niches the iPad is supposed to fill.

On how much it's filling them correctly, outside of people's feelings we only have a few indicators; I'd say this few years' steadily declining sales could be the best summary ?


Listen dude all I'm saying is that editing text is pretty good on an iPad if you have a keyboard for it. That's it. I don't know what broader market trends or product design flaws are being revealed by sales numbers or anything like that, that's not the conversation I'm having.

It works fine on Android and the rare thin letter I can't catch, I simply backspace and write again. Suboptimal, but works within seconds.

iPhone however? I've given up on the sub-word level. And it's amazing because they could simply copy Androids logic.


>because editing text is horrifically broken, has been since the first iPhone came out

I don't know, it always worked fine for me, and I edit text a lot (writing on the iPad, not coding).

>And the crazy part is: just like this article, everyone overlooks it

Given the above, maybe not so crazy? Maybe you're too fussy?

>Think about how long it takes/ho many steps it takes to put quotes around a chunk of text;

Why not put them when as you write it, in which case it's quote text quote? Is that not what one does 90% of the time?

And if you remembered it later, how slow it is to just move the cursor to start and end of segment? With the spacebar cursor-move mode it's almost as fact as having a mouse.

>to correct a misspelling

Tap on squiggly-underlined word, accept correct spelling from suggestions?

>and Apple (nor Google, as far as I know) has done zero to fix it in years (a decade?)

Do what exactly? What fancy UI you have in mind that solves it?

And if you do that much writing, why don't you just hook a bluetooth keyboard? Then with some shortcuts to jump by whole words/start-end of line/etc, you can fly, as you would on a laptop.


I would like to better understand your mentality. Every Apple article I read has comments like yours, essentially saying "It works on my machine, its a YOU (the struggling users) problem".

Do you genuinely believe your response is helpful? Just like the OC, I too have noticed the atrocious editing and word manipulation in iOS and, just like OC, I have been text editing for my entire life. iOS is objectively bad at it, in many specific ways. The only way to improve it is for us to be honest about how it can be better and go from there. Coping with the issues as if they dont even exist is not a good path forward.


>Every Apple article I read has comments like yours, essentially saying "It works on my machine, its a YOU (the struggling users) problem".

Rather, I'm saying: "it works, period" (on all machines).

The OC said it himself: "everyone overlooks it". Perhaps because it's not really there for them, and you're just more fussy ones?

>Do you genuinely believe your response is helpful?

Do you genuinely believe that any complain is legitimate?

The purpose of my comment wasn't to help with it (since I don't consider it broken): it was to counter the idea that "editing text is horrifically broken".

>iOS is objectively bad at it, in many specific ways.

If it was "objectively bad" I and the other commenter wouldn't be able to refuse it, nor would "everyone overlook it".


>If it was "objectively bad" I and the other commenter wouldn't be able to refuse it, nor would "everyone overlook it".

Something can be objectively bad without you noticing its failures. Consensus does not guide objectivity.

>Do you genuinely believe any complain is legitimate?

No, just legitimate ones.

>The OC said it himself: "everyone overlooks it". Perhaps because it's not really there for them, and you're just more fussy ones?

Fussy means to be overly caring about unimportant details. However, I would not call this issue unimportant.


>Something can be objectively bad without you noticing its failures. Consensus does not guide objectivity.

It tracks it much better than outlier opinion though.

>Fussy means to be overly caring about unimportant details. However, I would not call this issue unimportant.

A feature might be important, but the complains about the feature can still be for fussy things that don't matter (or just be wrong).

Like complaing about how hard it is to use a trackpad instead of a mouse, and how Apple should fix this "somehow" on its laptops.


Me: editing text is horrifically broken

You: why no [type correctly in the first place so editing isn't necessary]?

How does that even remotely answer the original objection?

You: With the spacebar cursor-move mode it's almost as fact as having a mouse.

I just did a quick check: with a mouse in this comment I can select insert points about once a second, maybe a bit faster. Before words in iOS I can do better than that: maybe 0.75 of a second? So yay! Then after: works for long words, fails for short words. Then in the words: tap-hold-drag to the spot, maybe once every two seconds. Then there was the time when iOS for no apparent reason selected the word instead of before the word. Then no amount of tapping will fix that until I tap <somewhere else> and then tap back where I want the insertion point. That took 3-4 seconds. Then there was the time when the tap-hold-drag option zoomed several lines above where my finger actually was, and I futzed with it trying to make it right, and eventually managed to not insert the cursor where I wanted. That took over five seconds and then I had to do it again to make it right. The logic of when the little zoom bubble shows up feels arbitrary.

If the misspelling bit worked correctly, that would be great. Sometimes it just wants to select the word.

So yeah, editing is broken.


> "Maybe you're too fussy?"

I agree with the parent. "You're holding it wrong." /s


> Think about how long it takes/ho many steps it takes to put quotes around a chunk of text; to correct a misspelling; to rearrange some words. It's agonizing once you think about it,

How would you implement it instead?


I'm writing this on an iPhone:

> Think about how long it takes/ho many steps it takes to put quotes around a chunk of text

4 taps - beginning of word, quote, end of word quote.

> to correct a misspelling

double tap on word, start typing the correct one. Double tap the word, and use the "replace" dropdown. Or, tap and use spacebar as a cursor to selectively edit a single word. This is certainly no worse than a mouse, but it is sub par to a physical keyboard.

> to rearrange some words

I'm not sure what you mean here, as I can't say that I find myself doing this often, so maybe I'm not your target audience here.


> double tap on word, start typing the correct one.

Why can't I select the correct location and just backspace one or two characters instead? Android handles it perfectly fine, and has for more than a decade.

> I'm not sure what you mean here, as I can't say that I find myself doing this often, so maybe I'm not your target audience here.

Copy-paste menu is very finicky. Sometimes it appears, sometimes it doesn't, the selection marks seem to miss the mark occasionally as well.


I've had all the problems you mention on android over a 4 year period of a Pixel phone into a samsung phone, and none of them in the last 6 months going back to iOS

> Why can't I select the correct location and just backspace one or two characters instead

Press and hold and it will drop the cursor where you want.


This is absolutely correct, the text selecting/editing behavior on iOS 17 is unbearable. I remember reading a review or watching a video where someone said this is the type of problem that if Steve Jobs was still around would not exist after one or two minor updates, and I agree.

Its as if there aren’t real people at Apple actually using and testing what they release (although I know that’s not the case) For now my work around is long pressing the spacebar to get the cursor to where you want. :(


Text editing on iPhones is so not ideal! Why is it so hard to edit words, put punctuations and copy-paste text? Android is lightyears ahead in the game.

Reason why I don't use Apple mobile devices - the usability is worse than poor. So many convoluted things to do basic stuff.

This has come up on HN before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37630804 is the discussion on a post by a Google researcher on text editing and how it's fundamentally flawed on mobile devices.

> editing text is horrifically broken, has been since the first iPhone came out.

IIRC editing text was barely even possible when the phone first came out. No cut/paste! I think it arrived in the same software release as the app store.


Just trying to place the caret anywhere other than the end of the input field is guaranteed to cause frustration.

I frequently give up on writing things on my phone, saving them either for when I am at a computer with a real keyboard, or just not at all in many cases.


Still not great, but do you know about the spacebar trick? Anywhere the keyboard is open in iOS or iPadOS, press and hold the spacebar. The keyboard is now a trackpad and you can easily move the cursor. Incredibly bad discoverability but has been a big qol improvement for me.

This is my biggest pain point on the iPhone, and it’s somehow gotten worse in the last 1-2 years. Now it’ll sometimes insist on selecting certain words if I want to place the marker somewhere nearby, forcing a long press to bypass it.

It’s such a goddamn chore.


I noticed when I moved from Android to iPhone years ago that placing the cursor is really hard. On Android I barely noticed doing it.

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