June 4, 2020

Can I Use an iPad Pro for Professional Creative Work?

If it’s not obviously better at the majority of things you do, then the barrier to entry is still too high.

It’s faster to accomplish a task in a familiar environment because it follows a familiar process.

My friend, Nathan, writes:

Here’s my basic problem, in a nutshell: if it’s faster to accomplish basic tasks with my laptop, I’d rather use that.

I don’t think most people today doubt that the iPad is a viable alternative platform for accomplishing the things they want to do, but I don’t think they see it as being better than what they’re already using—and that remains the iPad’s Achilles’ heel.

It may well be possible to do some things faster or more effectively on iOS than on macOS, but if you don’t spend the time to reach a similar level of familiarity with the iOS approach, you won’t gain access to those benefits.

The trouble is that you can’t always know ahead of time which tasks will be faster and which won’t be, so you’re faced with the prospect of taking on a new (and expensive) learning experience without a clear sense of the outcome. Other people’s experiences are a useful resource, but they can’t tell you how a new approach compares to your specific workflows—that requires personal testing.

If it’s not obviously faster/better at the majority of things you do, then the barrier to entry is still too high.

There’s also the software side of the problem, which, in Nathan’s case, is the more pressing concern. The iPad caters well to some professional creative workflows, but many others have no viable tools in the ecosystem yet.

You can throw all the Magic Keyboards and Apple Pencils you want at this thing; it doesn’t make it any better at running the tools I need to get my job done.

I hope to see Apple encourage the development of more robust software this year by finally bringing us some of its pro apps like Logic and Final Cut.

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