How an iPad can become a practical PC

Much controversy has resulted from Tim Cook saying, after the original iPad Pro was released: “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”

I’m not going to rehash what was said about it - for one thing in many ways I’ve been on Mr. Cook’s side, as have been Apple customers, who have consistently bought more iPads than Macs.

There are however some clear needs to improve the iPad, to greatly lessen the blowback and make it more practical for many users other than very specific professionals like software developers, people in need of huge screens, etc.

My proposal: improve professional/dedicated amateur photography use. The iPad Pro already has a huge step forward in that area: the amazing precision of the color screen, Apple Pencil, a new maximum 512GB storage capacity for a large number of photos when on a trip, CPU/GPU rivaling many laptops including the current MacBook. But software continues to have problems. Two basic ones:


Ability to import new photos directly to available third party apps (Lightroom, Pixelmator, etc.). Currently attaching an SD or CF cards or a DSLR camera directly via USB/Apple’s USB to Lightning adaptor forces you to first import the photos directly to Apple’s Photos app, before you then transfer them to a different app. Besides the extra time, effort and space being wasted, for a traveling photographer this can be a huge problem.


Many photographers will shoot thousands of photos on a single trip if not a single day. But if traveling abroad they are often away from working WiFi or certainly one capable of transferring to iCloud thousands of photos, which the Photos app normally does. Their best bet is to have purchased a local SIM card for their iPad. But even under the absolute best circumstances, like in Italy where you can get a 30GB SIM for 30€, you can use it all up with a couple of days worth of photos being uploaded to iCloud. Never mind videos. What if no longer in a major city where one could get another great SIM card, never mind in a country where such a gem simply doesn’t exist? All of this amounts to either using a MacBook where you can import to the photo app of your choice or to not import your CF/SD cards until you return to your home country (at which point you would probably be doing it to a Mac or PC anyway).


iPads are a fantastic way for photographers to exhibit their past work. Unfortunately if you are away from fast, reliable WiFi you need to store them in full resolution on your iPad, and the easiest way no longer exists - iCloud Photo Sharing with yourself. That was an amazingly good, fast, reliable way of doing it, until iOS 7 or 8(?) Apple decided for “your storage space benefit” to store most photos offline and you to download them every time you are showing them. This is a non-starter for a pro photographer showing photos to a potential client, waiting for them to painfully slowly download. To top it off, there is a limit of 100 active iCloud photo shares, which is insufficient and greater capacity is not available for people who are more than happy to pay. Third party options don’t exist either. Flickr based albums are an obvious choice, but here to there is no way to download your albums permanently into their app.

I am all for ways to spare regular users from constantly running out of space, but having options to in Settings to open up your iPad for what is truly necessary should exist.

I am sure that there are ton of other similar stories that can be told by people in multitudes of different professions - the iPad would be fantastic but for a couple of fatal obstacles.