Why reviewers lament iPadOS while users absolutely love it

Jaron Schneider

“One comment I saw on Threads in the hours after reviews went live stuck with me and continues to play in my head. It alleged that the disconnect between tech reviewers and actual users was never more obvious than in iPad reviews. It said that they, and I am included in this, just don’t “get” it and that real creatives have been happily using only an iPad for years, yet we as reviewers have echoed the same refrain about iPadOS for just as long. Clearly, tech reviews are not in tune with real iPad users this and many responses like it read. […] Trying to do things the way you’re used to doing them on a computer is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the iPad. […] But that’s the world tech reviewers live in: they are fluent in multiple types of tech language and when they try and integrate the iPad into an existing workflow, even a workflow designed by Apple, it stumbles and falls. […] “A lot of people don’t realize that we’re aging. A younger generation’s version of computing is massively different than ours. If we had iPads growing up we’d be interacting differently, too […] Apple is an at an impasse. It can continue iPadOS and the users who know it and nothing else will continue to love it, but reviewers and those who work in a wider ecosystem of devices will regularly complain. Or, Apple can change iPadOS to be more like a computer and upset the users that are used to the current experience. If there is anything obvious from all of this, it’s that Apple has to do something, but very likely whatever that is, it won’t please everyone.”

I found the reasoning in this article interesting. People like me, who grew up using desktop computers, often critique iPadOS for limiting the iPad's potential despite its powerful hardware. The disconnect arises because we try to use the iPad like a computer, leading to frustrations with tasks that are simpler on traditional desktops. Younger users, who have grown up using iPads, have adapted and don't even realize that limitations exist.

There's a generational shift in digital fluency, with iPadOS satisfying an iPad-centric workflow but disappointing those expecting a more computer-like experience.

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