John Scalzi road tests the iPad Pro

SF legend John Scalzi reviews the latest iPad Pro, from the perspective of a Windowsy writer type. He likes it enough to keep it around, with high marks for the performance, display and the Magic Keyboard, but compromises and annoyances mean it's not quite up to replacing a laptop.

Especially interesting, I think, is his underwhelming experience of the user interface in general. Because I'm into to the whole Apple UX model I think of its minimalism and polish as the best thing about it, but I can imagine that those things are really just hiding a lot of complexity and idiosyncrasy that many people prefer to have a hands-on relationship with.

The UI/feature set is not great. Some of that is me coming over from primarily Windows, to be sure, and another part of it is Apple not wanting the iPad to entirely cannibalize its Mac computer sales. I get that. Be that as it may, there's a whole lot here that is clunky and/or fuzzy as fuck, from app switching and resizing to multi-finger gestures on the Magic Keyboard trackpad. Likewise, as someone who is extensively wrapped up in the Googleverse, most Google apps on the iPad are kind of a mess in terms of operability, with features that are either degraded from their Android/Windows equivalents, or with those features missing entirely. I understand that Apple only grudgingly lets Google into its walled garden to begin with; even so, their lack of functionality doesn't make me want to use the equivalent Apple apps, it just makes me want to reach for my actual laptop.

Not mentioned by Scalzi: I think the thing (note: I haven't used the latest iPadOS) that limits the iPads as "main machines" is the security/file management model. The Files API and iCloud don't fix the iPad's file workflow model, they turn into a digital Chernobyl where you're looking at the clean, placid surface of an RBMK reactor knowing that under those blocks is a world of shit you have no control over.

He doesn't like the pencil either! But he's wrong about that, he just needs one of those nice papery screen covers.