My Winding Journey with iOS

Prior to the arrival of the iPhone, I purchased the Samsung Blackjack Windows Mobile phone which integrated well with my work (I do a lot with Exchange Servers).  Time went on and I never really bought into the hype and life was good.  A couple of years ago, I was working with a customer doing a global migration fron Exchange Server 2007 to Exchange Server 2013 and due to numerous factors, there were some complications with iOS devices (numerous devices per user, full mailbox syncing, iOS 8 release).  After the project was wrapped up, I decided that I would try out an iPhone just to become familiar with it and didn’t really ever use it.

Finally, I picked up an iPad Mini as part of deal for buying an iPhone for my wife.  I really started to like iOS: I have mobile data, the size was perfect for taking with me anywhere (could fit it in a jacket pocket or the pocket of cargo shorts), and I really like some of the newer apps (Outlook for iOS).

I started agonizing over the idea of getting an iPad Pro, thinking that I could use it as a laptop replacement (or at least, a smarter dumb terminal).  It has RD Client from Microsoft and I have used this along with VPN software to connect into my home PC.  So, if the iPad didn’t have everything, I could at least use a Windows machine, remotely.  Eventually, I caved.  So, I have had the iPad Pro with mobile data for about two weeks now.  I do quite like it, but I have had numerous situations where some changes would come in handy.  I have upgraded to iOS 10 with the hopes that it would improve.  Here is my list of inadequacies that could be improved:

1. No mouse support – seriously, if you are going to market it as a laptop replacement, it must have a mouse.  I have the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard case.  It just isn’t the same.  When I am doing some work typing, I don’t want to lift my hand up to the screen to touch it, whether with my finger or the pencil.  When I am working on a remote server or desktop, a mouse also comes in handy.  I have acquired Jump Desktop as a replacement for RD Client as it does have mouse support, but it is limited to the Citrix X1 (doesn’t look like a quality device) and the Swiftpoint GT (a very big difference from the normal mouse experience).  I have a Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse that pairs, but it doesn’t work; Jump Desktop is looking into supporting this.

2. Single app multitasking – so, I do quite a bit of writing.  Most of the time it is in Microsoft Word.  Sometimes I have to update documents and I want to compare different documents side by side.  This doesn’t work with Microsoft Word in iOS… browsers can’t do this.  Not one app on iOS do I know to have the capability.  It should be possible.

3. Screen sharing – I join a lot of conference calls with screen sharing.  I know that part of the “sandbox” feature set of iOS is to blame… it shouldn’t be such a limitation.  I need to be able to share my screen, take control of others screens, etc.  This doesn’t work in WebEx, Lync/Skype for Business, etc.

4. The Smart Keyboard cover – this should have a loop for the Apple Pencil.  It is just silly.  I have a loop on the way, but it should have come along with it.  Come on Apple.

5. USB support – it should have a USB port, or additional lightning ports.  I have a Snowflake microphone that I would like to hook up, and the idea of consuming the solitary lightning port while using a device that will be powered by my iPad… I find it a bad thing.  Let me plug in and charge my iPad and hook something up to another port.

6. Expanded storage – this is probably the biggest fail on Apple’s part.  Get with it and offer SD expansion storage.  I have had it in all of my Windows mobile devices since 2007.  Android devices have it.  Get over it, Apple.

That is about it, really.  Not a long list, but they do limit the ability of this to be a real laptop replacement.  Certain people could certainly use an iPad, let alone an iPad Pro, as their primary computing device.  The market isn’t a large enough one.  These issues are easily solvable.  Some are hardware related and could be fixed on upcoming devices… and there are 3rd party solutions to some, already.

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