Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Warning: I came across something that made me think of the eternal British phrase, “you what?!”

I am currently on my third iPad since 2012, and outside of working at home or writing, which I do with a desktop computer, the iPad is my main computer. Because its graphic processor is superior to my bigger machine, my iPad is also my video editor, cutting shots by fractions of a second using the swipe of a finger. 

For these reasons, and because my desktop computer has a keyboard with proper keys, I have never owned a laptop computer. I have not yet encountered the need to take a computer from one place to another, proving how much flexibility I expect of my phone – my iPad has never left the house because I know how much it costs. Whenever I have used another person’s laptop, I either find the trackpad too fiddly, requiring me to plug in an external mouse, or I have tried to press something on the screen, only to realise my error. It does sound odd, but that is just how I work.

What I can’t understand is the release of keyboards for the iPad that include a trackpad. The first iPad went on sale in 2010, and anyone that needed to continue with a separate keyboard and mouse, or are not in a position to use a touch screen, will have found their own solution by now – I’m guessing this is Apple’s way of mopping up anyone that wants both a tablet and a laptop, but not one of each, although the combined cost of an iPad plus a Magic Keyboard, whether it includes a trackpad or not, passes the cost of many laptop computers.

Doesn’t a tablet computer also come with a trackpad the size of the screen? I can see Apple’s Magic Keyboard supports the gestures you would usually make on the screen, like using two fingers to zoom in or out of a web page or other object, but having the trackpad there does not instantly tell you to use that instead of the screen. Placing your finger on the trackpad, or moving a mouse creates a small blue circle on the screen, like a target on the old game show “The Golden Shot,” but again, you could point straight at the target.

There has been a great amount of convergence in technology over the last few decades, as evidenced by few people having a camera separate from their phone, or a television that does not access the internet. But adding a cursor to the screen of an iPad suggests a couple of threads are being unpicked. The primacy of the finger, over a stylus in operating an iPad was already challenged by the introduction of an electric Apple Pencil in 2015, in the name of productivity apps like Adobe Photoshop. Perhaps you can use your fingers at home, but not at work, just like you expect an expensive restaurant to provide you with a knife and fork.

I don’t know what point I want to make, as this is my reacting to something that doesn’t sound right, but what helps others to work changes how I would work, so therefore, I’m not doing it.

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