Apple Design Team vs the World
Last week Apple announced new iPad. Don’t take me wrong: it’s an amazing piece of technology. It’s thinner, lighter, more powerful, bigger better screen and more. It’s a miracle they keep doing it every single time.
Two things caught my eye though. First is the camera. It now has a significant bump. I understand that it has to be of a certain depth, it’s physics and not much even Apple can do about it.
But what I wish they considered is how iPad is used. You see, camera bump on an iPhone is nothing but a minor inconvenience. After all, phones are meant to be mostly held in your hand and used “in the air”, not on the table (for a majority of times, anyway).
iPad, though, is a different story. Although it could be used on your lap, the main position is on the table. Especially if you are drawing on it. And it IS meant for active, long drawing sessions. This is how Apple seems to position it anyways: they are advertising it with Pencil and mobile Photoshop and whatever. Funny, but non-professional iPad now has no bump and is better suited for professional use.
Why do you need a camera on a tablet anyway? On a professional drawing tablet? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s too bulky to be used as a camera, and you usually have your phone around anyways. Sharing photos is trivial with AirDrop. And if you consider iPad as the main device for taking photos, there are better and more compact options.
I’d love to have a camera-less iPad Pro, at least as an option, same as we can get SIM-free iPad. Either for a small discount (not important) or flatter back (very, very important).
The second problem is with the Pencil. Yes, it looks and feels great. Yes, they fixed this disaster with charging from Pencil 1:
They also fixed the problem of easy-to-lose pencil cap and adapter. Yes, Pencil 1 came with an adapter to charge from the lightning port and there’s nowhere to put it so you have most probably already lost it. Unless you are very, very inventive:
But design is a delicate deal. Sometimes fixing one thing might break another one. The new Pencil charges by attaching magnetically to the iPad side:
It also features touch-sensitive buttons on its flat side. This is important too.
Now, remember how I said that iPad Pro is aimed at professionals doing long, active drawing sessions? Well, guess what? Unless you’re in a business meeting doodling and making a couple of notes an hour, Apple Pencil is not really comfortable to hold. I mean, hold for a long time. Drawing extensively. So most artists figured a way around it:
Yep, these rubber grips make it 500% easier and more comfortable to use.
Even people predicting Pencil 2 before its official announcement wished there was a rubber grip:
And this is what we got from Apple:
Now if you add that grip yourself you won’t be able to attach it to the iPad nor access touch buttons. Back to the drawing board, I guess.
It’s a shame because iPad Pro is really a great device for doing art, drawing, doodling, scheming, planning, note-taking, and mind-mapping. No doubt people will find their ways around this iteration too. I just wanted to point out that life sometimes is more complex than what designers imagine it is.
And not all pretty things are necessarily great in everyday use.