LTT: Apple Makes Its Best Products Worse On Purpose. Why?

Interesting take from Linus Tech Tips on the new M1 iPad Pro: Apple spends close to $20 billion per year on research and development yet the iPad Pro lacks basic OS functions. Why? The only conclusion: when an Apple product doesn’t have some basic functionality it is because they simply don’t want it to.

The iPad Pro is handicapped as a computer. It is because Apple wants it to be an intentionally weak operating system that in no way competes with their MacBook line of computers. The goal is to get people to purchase BOTH an iPad PRO and a MacBook.


Despite their incompetence and blatantly not listening to YouTubers, they somehow managed to become a $2,000,000,000,000 company.


Or Apple thinks they are different devices with different uses.

YouTuber clickbait titles don’t usually lead to useful conversations.


That made me laugh! I was about to reply before you posted defending Apple’s choices, but then stopped and deleted my response because I thought the same as you.

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Replace “interesting” with “lazy”


Linus is as much entertainment as he is Tech but this one wasn’t a solid effort.

Next time I chat with a Pro I’ll be sure to talk about the importance of progress bars and third party app stores (as as if anyone is really asking for this crap …the App Store is infested with scam ware but sure lets add more janky stores to the list)

If one think stood out to me at WWDC it was

Collaboration is where Apple wants to go
Features will now be brought out for iOS and Mac simultaneously
The Neural engine is more than just a buzzword


That is one objective, of course. The executives have a fiduciary responsibility to the share holders to maximize value. That spurs investment. Profit also results in more R&D (good for all of us) and employment for hundreds of thousands around the world and billions of dollars in tax revenue for governments.

Additionally, I believe Apple genuinely (in part per above) recognizes that the iPad fills a unique purpose and use case for different people (sometimes at different stages of life) and for the same person for different scenarios. This is precisely my case. I love the iPad for reading, annotation, giving presentations, and focused writing. I also prefer it when traveling. For file management, complex spreadsheets, Zoom calls, etc., the Mac is better and I use that.

This is what I expect and want Apple to do. I don’t believe it is possible to make ONE DEVICE that perfectly meets the needs of every person or each person’s changing life stage/needs and workflows.

So, Apple sells lots of devices. Shareholders profit and continue to invest in the company. The company invests in R&D and we get better and more products. People are hired. Taxes are paid.

Apple is not perfect. It is comprised of and led by imperfect people. It sells to imperfect people. But, on balance, I wish we had more companies more like Apple and far fewer like Facebook and a number of other companies I could name.


Man, youtubers drive me nuts. The only other place I’ve seen such overreaction and over-dramatization is… what, pro wrestling? Linus makes a point, it’s not a strong point, but I understand where he’s coming from. But where Apple is coming from takes a more nuanced thought process. Apple isn’t trying to recreate a computer, with the iPad they are trying to redefine computers.

Steve Jobs said the iPad fit between the iPhone and MacBook. Tim Cook called the iPad the purest representation of what they believed the future of computing to be. They’ve been trying to remove all the things that make computers difficult to use for people who aren’t Mac Power Users, while at the same time make the overall system more powerful and capable for people to get their work done. With varying degrees of success for each.

There are definitely shortcomings to the system that make it an unlikely candidate for me as a computer programmer to do my job on, I won’t argue that. However, I would argue that it might be possible to rethink how I do my job that might make my personal workflows more flexible and better overall. A workflow built around how a computer works must change when how the computer works changes.

Apple is trying to merge the future and the past, and that’s given us a bit of a jumble with iPadOS. I want them to keep going, I’m looking forward to the future where the only computing device I really need is a single pane of glass. I don’t think Apple needs to worry about cannibalizing Mac sales with the iPad, I think if they could do that they’d love to. That’s what they do, build devices that eat into the old devices sales till the old devices are no longer needed. What they are trying to do with iteratively reimagining the future of computing now needs… more iterations.


The only place I’ve seen such dramatization etc would be…the popular news media outlets reporting on anything ! :joy:


What an outstanding response! I’m teaching a grad course this week. I’m adding a quote from you when I get to innovative transformational leadership. :slight_smile:


This article may contribute meaningfully to this thread. I believe this is worth a read.

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I agree with this statement while at the same time would argue this should be the distinction between the regular divices and pro divices. Keep the regular iPad simple enough a small child can use it, but unlock all of the capability on pro divices.

Microsoft essentially accomplished this with the release of Windows 10 S, which only permits apps from the Microsoft App store to be installed and has a high level of security and limited ability to customize the preferences.

Be honest, how many of us wouldn’t love to see an iPad Pro that competes with a Surface Pro as far as features? Imagine if your current iPad Pro could plug into a USB C dock and run a full resolution 4K 60hz monitor with attached drives and full Mac OS. Imagine if you could connect your iPad Pro to a projector and project a keynote presentation at full resolution while still maintaining access to your screen for notes and control.

I know I would love that kind of set up.

I think that’s the rub: keep the $500 or less iPad as simple as possible for the average user with all the safety and features of iPadOS, but give Pro users who are spending $1000 or more on an iPad Pro the ability to take full advantage of the incredible hardware and load Mac OS with all the features of Mac OS.


Yours is a perfectly reasonable perspective. But unless Apple did a much better job than MS with the Surface, I’d not be very interested. I have used the Surface (admittedly not extensively) but I was not impressed with their overall quality of the trackpad, hardware, etc (this is not a commentary about Windows per se on the Surface). I like the idea in concept but the execution, insofar as I experienced it several years ago, leaves much to be desired.

I don’t want this. :slight_smile:


Definitely some good thoughts on this thread. For a certain type of user (users likely to populate the MPU forum, follow Federico Viticci, and, in general, push the iPad to its limits, those limits are frustrating. In particular, the M1 iPad Pro is, arguably, too powerful for its software. How can it not have better external monitor support? Or a million other things?

Yet, my wife loves her iPad and hates our shared family desktop. The iPad is approachable and the iMac, to her, is not. And I can understand that. There’s a dozen ways to do most tasks, which means there are far more ways to make an error along the way.

The challenge of the iPad’s future is how do you keep it simple and approachable while making the power also more accessible. Apple’s strategy seems to be to go very, very slowly. But that deliberate pace has been effective. How perfect is how mice and trackpads work on the iPad? I want the external monitor experience, the file management experience that correlates to the pointing device experience. And if it takes time? I will, begrudgingly, wait.

I’ve talked about this on the show and written about it lately on the blog. I’ve been trying to get my expectations of the iPad in line with what it’s makers intend for it. I’ve scaled back trying to make it do things that are much easier on the Mac and focused on using it (nearly exclusively) for things that are better on iPad. Of course this is obvious, but it’s easy to pull yourself down the road of trying to do the rabbit-out-of-a-hat thing with an iPad.

The reason the YouTubers are picking up on this that right now there is this remarkable disparity between the iPad hardware and software.

Also @Bmosbacker, you absolutely need a set of wheels like that!


correct. as js said, an iPad is nothing more than a computer accessory, like a printer. it’s also an accessory for my Kindle. I would never read a book on an iPad but it handles comics and magazines just fine.

Now that you mention it I can see how some could consider an iPad as nothing more than an accessory. The same way a Windows computer or a Mac Pro is nothing more than an accessory when it is being used with a web based service.

Who knows, as cloud services continue to improve accessories like Chromebooks may become more popular than Macs. And someday Apple might decide there is a possibility of a future when almost everything runs in the cloud, and the majority of people use accessories instead of “real computers”.

But I’m sure they will get serious about cloud services long before that happens. :wink:

I think I actually have a PC that looks like that car. I bought it in 2007-08 and it was the cutting edge in “ultra mobile” computing. It is an Asus R2H and it ran a full blown install of Windows with a battery life of almost 45 minutes. For what it lacked in usability it made up for in charm. It was like carrying a puppy into a coffee shop. Perfect strangers would stop and strike up a conversation. Great for conversation, but not so much when it came to getting things done.



I did that a few years ago and it’s been liberating in a way. I’m no longer shaving the corners off of a square peg to fit into a round hole. I bet it helps you with contextual computing.