Changes that could im­prove the iPad Pro

A new fea­ture here, a soft­ware tweak there, and the iPad Pro will be even more ca­pa­ble, writes Ja­son Cipri­ani

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

For the most part, the 12.9in iPad Pro is ex­actly I had hoped it would be. I now use it as my lone lap­top, with an iMac of­ten sit­ting idle on my desk. How­ever, as with nearly ev­ery­thing in life, there’s al­ways room for im­prove­ment and Ap­ple’s tablet is not ex­empt. There are as­pects I re­ally love about the iPad Pro as a lap­top re­place­ment, and then there are changes I can only hope are made with iOS 10 and a se­cond-

gen­er­a­tion model. Here are eight of those changes, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der.

1. A smarter Smart Con­nec­tor

The iPad Pro’s Smart Con­nec­tor was orig­i­nally touted as a way for ac­ces­sories to con­nect to the tablet. Power is pro­vided by the iPad, and data is trans­mit­ted to the iPad from the key­board. In the last few months, how­ever, we’ve seen just how ver­sa­tile the Smart Con­nec­tor ac­tu­ally can be.

Log­itech just an­nounced a charg­ing base for the iPad Pro that uses the Smart Con­nec­tor to power the iPad Pro. Firmware up­dates to Ap­ple’s Smart Key­board Cover and Log­itech’s Cre­ate for iPad key­board have both used the con­nec­tor as a means to in­stall the new soft­ware. Ob­vi­ously, there’s a lot of po­ten­tial with the Smart Con­nec­tor, and it’s time Ap­ple re­ally un­locks its “smarts.”

I en­vi­sion a dock­ing sta­tion that looks sim­i­lar to Log­itech’s new charg­ing base, but in­stead of serv­ing a sin­gle pur­pose it would add ports for sync­ing pho­tos from a cam­era, at­tach­ing a mi­cro­phone, or even an ex­ter­nal hard drive.

2. True Tone on both mod­els

The 9.7in iPad Pro is equipped with am­bi­ent light sen­sors that are con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing and chang­ing the colour tem­per­a­ture of the tablet’s screen. When you read about a True Tone dis­play, it’s all too easy to dis­miss it as an un­nec­es­sary fea­ture. But af­ter us­ing it for sev­eral weeks, and then go­ing back to an iPad dis­play with­out the same tech, the value of True Tone be­comes ap­par­ent. Pho­tos and videos sim­ply

look bet­ter, and the screen is eas­ier to look at over ex­tended amount of time.

3. 3D Touch

I’m still strug­gling to find a daily use for 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s. I of­ten for­get about the fea­ture un­til I ac­ci­den­tally trig­ger it when scrolling through Tweet­bot. With that said, how­ever, I think the ad­di­tion of 3D Touch on the iPad would make the fea­ture feel more like the “right-click” mech­a­nism it tries so hard to sim­u­late on the iPhone.

It’s per­haps more im­por­tant to have such a fea­ture on the iPad be­cause of the con­stant back and forth from key­board to screen and back to key­board users do. In­stead of re­quir­ing sev­eral taps to se­lect and ma­nip­u­late a file in iCloud Drive or a com­pose an email in Mail, a sin­gle press on an

icon and the fol­low­ing se­lec­tion would stream­line the en­tire process.

Now that I think about it, af­ter the iPad Pro was re­leased cries for Ap­ple to add track­pad sup­port to the tablet were abun­dant; if done right, 3D Touch could elim­i­nate the need for a track­pad.

4. Fast charg­ing

Shortly af­ter Ap­ple an­nounced the smaller iPad Pro in March, news broke of an up­dated list­ing for the com­pany’s USB-C wall adap­tor (£39) and a USB-C to Light­ning ca­ble (£25) act­ing as a fast charg­ing so­lu­tion for the 12.9in iPad. This com­bi­na­tion of ac­ces­sories aren’t in­cluded when you pur­chase an iPad Pro, forc­ing users to spend an ad­di­tional £65.

In my own test­ing, the 29W wall adapter cuts to­tal charg­ing time of the iPad Pro in half. This is some­thing that should be in­cluded in the box of every iPad Pro. Five hours to fully charge an iPad Pro with its in­cluded charger is just too long.

5. A face-lift for mul­ti­task­ing

Mul­ti­task­ing on the iPad Pro is leaps and bounds bet­ter than it was a year ago. With a quick ges­ture from the right side of the screen, I can open an­other app and con­tinue work­ing with two apps in full view. How­ever, pick­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion from the slide over view is a down­right frus­trat­ing, hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

There’s no dis­cernible method­ol­ogy for the or­der of which app icons are placed in the list. I used to think it was most re­cently ac­cessed apps, but that’s not the case; I of­ten have to scroll to the top of the list to find an app I was just us­ing.

If the nearly end­less list of app icons isn’t go­ing away, Ap­ple should at least make this list smarter and eas­ier to un­der­stand.

6. Split view drag and drop

Of­ten times I find my­self copy­ing and past­ing a photo or text from one open app to an­other when us­ing iOS 9’s split-view fea­ture. It’s a process that works, but it could be eas­ier. More specif­i­cally, a sim­ple drag-and-drop fea­ture to share a small sub­set of var­i­ous con­tent types (text, links, pho­tos, and so on) be­tween two apps would been a boon for get­ting work done faster on the iPad Pro.

7. Side by side Sa­fari

Sa­fari’s mul­ti­ple tab sup­port is handy, that is un­til you want to view more than one tab at the same time. With iOS 9 of­fer­ing split-screen ca­pa­bil­i­ties,

adding the abil­ity to view two (maybe more?) Sa­fari tabs at the same time should be a no-brainer.

8. More pow­er­ful iCloud Drive

An im­proved iCloud Drive app is needed, of­fer­ing more ro­bust fea­tures sim­i­lar to what OS X of­fers in Finder. In its cur­rent form, the iCloud Drive app doesn’t of­fer more than a means to view files and open them in se­lect apps.

Hav­ing na­tive sup­port for com­mon tasks such as creat­ing a ZIP ar­chive, down­load­ing a file from a web­site, or re­nam­ing a file shouldn’t re­quire Work­flow-type apps.

Over the com­ing weeks I’ll try to tackle some of th­ese com­plaints and fig­ure out so­lu­tions with apps and ac­ces­sories that are cur­rently avail­able. And who knows, maybe iOS 10 will put an end to some of the iPad Pro’s short­com­ings – we don’t have too much longer to wait un­til we find out.

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