My critique of lazy pundits echoing old narratives

Hey hey, look, the Apple pundit club have gotten together to do their Apple report card again! Not a surprise but they’re all declaring the iPad is still dying!

And then of course there are the folks like Steve Troughton-Smith chiming in on Mastodon, but he and other commenters in the thread aren’t offering anything new either. It’s just a repetition of the pundit echo chamber.

Even worse, many commenters proudly proclaim that they’re still using old hardware from before 2020. One even stating he uses a 2017 iPad Pro while complaining about poor multi-tasking. They’re so busy proving that they can’t be bothered with the iPad that they apparently haven’t stopped to consider that 3GB of memory in a 2018 iPad might not function as well as a modern M1 iPad with 8 or 16GB of memory. Maybe base your judgment on the real-world capabilities of current hardware?

Let’s see, no, really, this is going to be fun. A year ago, February 2023, “the iPad guy” as he calls himself, after spending many months complaining that Stage Manager was broken, made a big show of switching to the Mac.

Many others said the Mac and iPad OS’s needed a “Snow Leopard” year. Yes, that’s a tired old Apple pundit trope in which they all agree that there are too many bugs in the current OS and that Apple should go easy on new features, take a year fixing bugs. For much of 2023 the Pundits were in quite an uproar about the redesign of the Mac Settings app…

There’s quite a bit more so I’ll cut it there.


Hey, that was a fun read. There’s definitely a meme/catchphrase aspect to some reviewing (on the positive side, c.f. “incredible devices.”)

Some of it seems inevitable. iPads have uniform components and the screens of the most powerful iPads have broad appeal. So when a new iPad Pro comes out, the reviewer has to consider someone who loves a big screen but uses the iPad lightly, at the same time as they’re considering someone who’s been making the current SoC run hot and run out of memory, and knows it. And there are other user profiles. Some of those people do need to hear that it’s not worth it for them to buy the new one just for the processor.

Did you listen to the recent FCP episode of iPad Pros with Chris Lawley? (Rhetorical question since I know you’ve been a guest multiple times!) I thought that was great analysis because he’s pushing FCP on iPad to its limits, and knows FCP for Mac cold, so has a lot of criticisms. But, he understands the long-term perspective of FCP’s product and engineering teams, as well as the hardware teams. Because of that, he’s diligent about making his feedback influential and has gotten things implemented by Apple.


The trouble with someone’s ideas leading them to success, is that they can forget the ideas, and concentrate too much on the success.

My personal view is the iPad is scored lowly mostly by people who expect it to replace a Mac. Never mind Steve Jobs, in the very first public outing of the device, said it wasn’t that.

Einstein said a wonderful thing:


Did he though? It’s a good thought, but I don’t think he did :slight_smile:

1 Like

On the iPad I think a lot of the scoring is 3fold.

  1. there have been no hardware releases of an iPad in 2023 (the period of the report),
  2. the OS is still massively underusing the hardware
  3. the lineup is still a mess
1 Like

Yeah, I did listen to that episode and thought Chris did an excellent job.

It’s funny, while I think it’s great that Apple brought those two apps to the iPad and I’d guess that there are folks out there getting use out of them I’d also guess that the hard core users of FCP would never begin to consider bothering with the iPad. Perhaps while working remotely, in the field. But a high powered MBP or Studio has to be the better option for someone making a living with FCP? At least in the export of projects. Perhaps for people creating shorter length YouTube videos it’s not an issue. Not my area so I’m just guessing.

But I can easily see where the app would be great for iPad first users that are not full-time users of FCP. Anytime I’ve needed to do a video project I was very happy with LumaFusion. When or if such a need comes along I’d likely try FCP and might consider switching.

I’ve said this before on these forums but I think my general complaint of the pundits is that they’ve become such an inward looking group. When they review hardware it’s almost always focused on their specific needs. And as they are all mostly Mac users the iPad especially illustrates this limitation of their perspective and lack of effort to go beyond their personal experience.

It’s casual punditry among podcaster friends rather than tech journalism. It is what it is and I accept it but I still find myself frustrated in what comes across as self-declared experts making overly confident declarative statements. They offer little to no acknowledgment or a hint of understanding that there might by many people that are well served by the iPad.

Lol, well, now I’m just re-writing my linked blog post so I’ll stop. :joy:


I address the first two points in my blog post.
On the third point, I consider that one of those ridiculous echo chamber memes that they repeat to themselves. It’s easy but not too thoughtful. From another post on my blog, turning this meme around on the Mac:

Predictably Apple’s line-up of Macs continues to be confused and overly complex! I mean, now we have M1, M2 and M3 Macs in the line-up! Not to mention some of those are Pro, Max and Ultra. Just so confusing.

Who needs all these choices? Ridiculous.

And to be clear, I don’t actually think the Mac line is overly complex or confusing. No more or less so than the iPad line-up. But, rather, it offers many devices to cover a variety of use cases and price points. It’s just not that difficult to understand the line-ups or the concept behind the line-ups.

1 Like

He did not.

I do think that the iPad is getting closer to being worth comparing to a real computer. It’s not there yet, but the list of things it can’t do (or it can’t do as quickly or as easily) is shrinking. And, to their credit, that is partially due to the pressure placed on Apple by the critiques you’re critiquing. So I hope they keep it up!


I believe my own eyes. I limit the use of my iPads because I find them limited and awkward in what they can do. And I have been a computer enthusiast and a professional user of computers for more than 50 years, always eagerly adopting any new and truly useful advance in the technology that comes along.

I believe people when they say the iPad works great for them as a productivity device.

But they haven’t convinced me that attaching a hardware keyboard and trackpad or mouse to an iPad is anything more than making do with a device that’s primarily designed for touchscreen and stylus input. It’s just not optimal.

Of course, one can be productive using an iPad with a keyboard and trackpad/mouse. Sometimes I can be very productive with a Bluetooth keyboard and my phone. But that doesn’t make it ideal for the purpose.


That depends. My iPadPro with an Apple magic keyboard using Ulysses is about my best writing environment, partly because I can create a focused writing space pretty much anywhere I have a flat surface (e.g. on a train) and I can move easily and often enough to avoid the problems of bad ergonomics and because the screen is just excellently crisp and at exactly the right distance.

Yes, another perfect example of an iPad excelling at a well-defined and limited task.

1 Like

Without being very familiar with someone’s job I couldn’t guess what they would need to do it. I know I would have loved to had something like an iPad, or a cellphone, in the years I worked before I saw my first PC.

I agree for the Mac, not for iPad. The 10.2 10th Gen iPad, iPad Air and 11” iPad Pro occupy very similar physical spaces and there’s honestly not that much to differentiate them, pricing aside.

It reminds of of a few years ago when the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13” were in a similar situation.

1 Like

I was just traveling in Asia for 4 weeks on vacation. I left my MacBook Pro at home and only brought my iPad. It was the perfect device for reading and responding to email, reviewing photos I took during the day, looking at Maps to plan out the day. It is also great for watching movies with my wife on long plane and train rides, being able to pair two AirPods to the same iPad is such a good feature. It is the perfect device for travel in my opinion. It can’t replace my MacBook Pro for work, but there is more to life than working!


To touch back on the point of the original post, a VERY TINY subset of Apple users, most of them all very well established Mac users, have declared the iPad to be problematic, not good for this, not good for that, not good for them. And all that is fine FOR THEM. But as I pointed out in my post, the problematic iPad is still selling many MILLIONS per quarter. I pointed to popular well-known applications that have millions to hundreds of thousands of ratings, most of them being above 4.5 average.

The intent being to drive home the point that the opinions often heard in the podcasts, listed out on the report card, etc seem to be a contradiction to the reality of millions of users.

Beyond that, regarding the discussion here, I’m not interested in changing anyone’s mind. We all have different needs, workflows, tasks and preferred apps and devices. If you’ve found the iPad isn’t for you, that’s for you to say for yourself. Use the tools that you enjoy and that work for you.

What tends to rub me the wrong way is when people (especially pundits with their media-magnified voices) get basic facts wrong about features they claim to be missing or make statements declaring a kind of finality about what’s possible. They just come off seeming silly, arrogant, uninformed or some combination of those.

When they say the iPad is too limited and only good for consumption or only good for simple tasks and I raise my hand and say, “But see, look at me, right now, in this moment, on my iPad, see, I am doing what you say cannot be done.” And they just say, well, that’s not possible. :person_facepalming:t4:

It just seems they would rather stick to their opinions rather than observe the evidence in front of them. The narrative that they keep repeating was more accurate in 2017. :person_shrugging:t4:


Yeah, it seems that for some users the iPad just does not click. More choices for a greater variety of people is a good thing.

1 Like

My first-generation iPad Air is on a stand on my desk between my Mac mini and my M1 MacBook Air. The only apps on it are PDF Viewer, Apple Books, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook. It makes a fine e-reader.

1 Like

I have a similar experience writing on my max iPhone with a hardware keyboard, and others swear by the Freewrite Traveler. That doesn’t make any of them an adequate replacement for a real laptop for multitasking and juggling multiple windows and virtual desktops. Not to mention all the ways Apple limits iPadOS compared to a Mac, “for our own good.”

And you can get the same focused, ergonomic experience on a MacBook Air with the window of your writing app maximized.