A while ago I wrote a post about the then new Apple iPad Pro with its awesome keyboard.
I gushed about it already in that post, and that aspect hasn’t changed, but I’ve gotta say, Apple’s new version of IOS really catapults this device into new planes of usefulness.
An issue I’ve had with IOS for as long as it’s been around is Apple’s insistence that the user forget about things like files and just let the software keep track of everything.
While I applaud the idea behind this, the actual implementation meant that using your iPad for actual work in day to day life became needlessly complex. Where did my file go? I have no idea! How do I get the data out of here and copy it to that app over there? Not a clue! It’s all magic and jazz hands!
With IOS 11, Apple has finally reconciled itself to the fact that people tend to think of their data in terms of files. It may not be the world’s most perfect abstraction for everything, but given that people have been getting on with their lives just fine with it ever since computers were a thing, it’s about time that they caved and made it actually easy for thoser of us trying to do actual work.
To wit - The new “Files” application. To their credit, this isn’t your ordinary file manager - it presents a unified view of your files whether they’re on your iPad or a cloud service like Dropbox, Amazon Drive, etc.
They’ve also added the ability to drag and drop files between applications! Finally I can write a document using my favorite editor - Editorial, and check it into source control using Working Copy.
The implications of this are huge. IOS has always had an incredibly rich ecosystem of very rich, high powered applications, but until now wrangling data between them was an exercise in gymnastics I could do without.
There are plenty of places a Google search away that will detail all the awesome features in IOS 11, but to me this is far and away the most important. Overall, the changes in 11 makes it feel like I’m working on a regular laptop when I’m working on my iPad Pro. Given how the whole thing is no bigger than any regular iPad case you might have, it’s really liberating! I could go for a walk or a bike ride, throw the iPad in a backpack, and think nothing of it.
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