43: Waiting for a better iPad Pro OS

It's May, and that means it's officially WWDC prediction season. While some will be eagerly awaiting revised MacBook Pros or to find out just how Apple is going to capitalize "Mac OS", I'm primarily waiting to see what iOS 10 will look like on the iPad.

I'm one of the people who is personally ruining Apple by not buying a new iPad every year. In fact, I've only ever owned a single iPad, the third generation. I held out for Retina because I planned to use it primarily for reading PDF articles in grad school. At about the time that I was due for an upgrade, I graduated and stopped using it daily, so I simply haven't bothered. In the meantime, a lot has happened with the iPad line, including the introduction of not one but two Pro models.

There's almost no question that I'm in the market for an iPad Pro. Lured again by a Retina screen, last fall I decided not to get a new Mac laptop, instead opting for the 4K iMac. It remains in a fixed location in my home office and is my canonical computer; even as things migrate to the cloud, it's my digital hub. In the past, I sacrificed some portability by choosing a MacBook Pro, a canonical computer that could travel with me. Now I can choose the ultimate in portability, as long as it can act as a window to home.

The greater screen real estate on the large iPad Pro would make a VNC session back to the iMac more practical, but the Baby Pro is more portable. This is where software will determine my next hardware purchase. The 9.7" Pro comfortably fits with iOS, while the 12.9" often looks like it's wearing ill-fitting clothes. I'm not excited about the prospect of spending close to $1000 on an iPad that makes me cringe every time I return to Springboard. OS X scales rather gracefully all the way from 11" to 30" screens, by virtue of its design. The spread of the 4" to 13" range for iOS is comparable, but isn't adequately covered by the OS. It's reasonable to ask whether the introduction of the 9.7" Pro was an admission that iOS just can't go that big. Personally, even though it would cost me a few hundred dollars more, I hope that next month's WWDC announcements prove that's not the case.