February 19, 2017

That frustrating feeling from iOS and iPad

I get tired of the fragmented feeling that comes from using iOS. Apps are silos with scaled-back feature sets so each is often of limited use. Frequently, one must have more that one app in a general category to collectively accomplish a purpose. The OS itself has limitations.

An example of this is writing. 1Writer, which I am using now, is a fabulous app. However, it cannot properly expand a TextExpander pop-up snippet with multiple checkbox selections. Editorial does better with expansion but it has poor security lacking even basic passcode protection. Simplenote dropped TextExpander expansion ~3 years ago but has tags that crossover to MacOS tags on the desktop when synced through nvALT. 1Writer has internal tagging with a hashtag. Editorial has no tagging features.

On macOS, feature-sets of apps are more robust and one can supplement apps with AppleScript or JavaScript to accomplish much. TextExpander simply works. Apps like Keyboard Maestro and Hazel allow powerful workflows globally.

I know, I know - Workflow exists on iOS. However, even this is limited compared to macOS and building workflows can feel like stumbling around in in a maze in the dark bumping into unseen obstructions.

I didn’t obtain an iPad for many years. Other than getting one for nerd-obsession purposes, virtually all that it offered me was a duplication subset of what could be done on macOS. I finally did get an iPad approximately a year ago because I wanted to use a very specific application at my job that did not exist on macOS and that I needed to use as I moved around a lot. Also, in this specific situation, a laptop was (and is still) cumbersome and not really acceptable to everyone involved.

I think this is a problem with the iPad that many of us see: it only duplicates a subset of what the Mac can do and comes to the fore for many only if the Mac physical form-factor is not acceptable. Of course, there are exceptions to this such as bloggers that write a lot (especially about becoming iPad-only), or casual computer users.

Personally I’m open to the iPad as a serious platform for productivity but it is still crippled in many ways and much of this is due to the limitations inherent in iOS and apps. Here’s to hoping WWDC 2017 substantially advances iOS on iPad making it a more than a casual or niche device.

  • mac
  • iphone
  • ipad
  • commentary
  • productivity

  • Previous post
    Noteplan Noteplan looks promising. Markdown + calendar + notes. I’ve been wanting something like this.
    Next post
    Things 3 mini review Things 3 had a notable release a few weeks ago. I’ve been using the Mac and iOS apps since launch. Sections Good Not so good Comparative aspects