For the past few years, with every iteration of the iPad Apple releases, they take more steps towards bringing the iPad closer to the modern perception of a computer. Last years iPadOS completely changed the way that iPad is used, finally adding the much requested external storage support, desktop class browsing, and multitasking only rivaled by full fat PCs. However, Apple’s most recent step towards developing the iPad as a laptop replacement has garnered as much backlash as it has support. Apple’s recent choice to add native mouse and trackpad support to the iPad is a bold move and a massive step towards making the iPad a viable laptop replacement for many, and its implementation has come with criticism over what could be viewed as a betrayal of Steve Jobs’ original vision for the product. When Jobs introduced the iPad as a “magical piece of glass”, the device became synonymous with touch input, and that touch input became synonymous with the versatility that would hopefully allow the iPad to lead the post PC world. What made the iPad so special 10 years ago and what still makes it special today is the sheer magic and versatility that comes with it. You can use it anywhere you want, with its casual input methods, small and light profile, and comfortable design, you can use it anytime you want with its all day battery life and always connected abilities thanks to cellular options, and you can use it any way you want, with its versatile touch-centric OS that allows for capabilities and applications that are simply not possible on conventional computers. This last point is why mouse and trackpad support on the iPad is not a betrayal of Steve Job’s vision for it, but an advancement and reinforcement of it. The backlash that comes with this announcement comes not because of a mistake on Apple’s part, but a misunderstanding on critics part. Those who attack trackpad and mouse support in the name of protecting Jobs vision actually have the opposite effect. Touch input is not what makes the iPad special, versatility is. On top of this, the introduction of Trackpad support isn’t changing the fundamental idea behind the iPad, or what Steve Jobs envisioned it to be. First and foremost, the iPad is still a touch device, mouse and keyboard support just provides more functionality and versatility. The versatility of the iPad is what makes it so special, it doesn’t define the way you use it, instead, it is defined by the way you use it, and another input method in mouse and trackpad support allows you to use all new workflows not possible or productive with touch input, before, simultaneously reinforcing Job’s vision for the iPad and realizing that vision even more than before.
The iPad mini is still the stupidest piece of crap on the planet though, but that’s a rant for another day.