The iPad is a true return to form for Apple’s ideals. If you’ve been a Mac user in the late 80’s and early 90’s you’ll recognize most of the iPad’s growing pains and you can draw quite a lot of similarities between the early Mac and the iPad. Let me preface this article by saying that I love the iPad. It’s the reason why this blog exists. However, when compared to a Mac or a PC, the iPad holds many disadvantages at this point in time.
Your Answer Upfront:
The iPad disadvantages come from the fact that it can’t run a wide array of apps available on desktops and laptops, the cost to add an official keyboard and peripherals is high and that you can’t add additional storage without having to bring external devices (external drives).
In this article we’ll take a look at the iPad from a bit of a negative perspective. I’m going to mercilessly point out its flaws. Note that many of the things we’re going to discuss today should be improved in future iPadOS updates.
I mentioned the iPad has a pretty similar, albeit faster, evolution with the original Mac and if that’s anything to go by, the iPad will be an amazing device in the not too distant future. By the end of this article you should have a pretty good idea of the disadvantages of an iPad.
I wrote about my experiences with managing my game development studio and blogging business from an iPad. If you want to know about the issues I have with this I recommend reading the article titled “Can You Run A Business From An iPad?”.
The iPad’s Most Glaring Problems
I’ll preface this chapter by saying that although this article focuses on the disadvantages of an iPad the truth of the matter is that the iPad itself is an amazingly useful device for entrepreneurs! However, it’s good to be aware of some of the caveats that come from using and owning an iPad.
iPads Aren’t Ready to Replace Your Laptop
Apple launched the Magic Keyboard Case in 2020, and many wondered if the iPad was about to replace MacBooks. It turns out that for most people, that isn’t the case.
The iPadOS has enjoyed several improvements since its inception, especially in the last few years, but it still doesn’t offer a desktop-level experience.
The M1 iPad Pro, for example, is a powerful device, but it isn’t equipped with the right software to maximize the potential it offers. Especially when it comes to professional apps. Most big Mac Apps aren’t available on the iPad and those that are? They don’t offer full feature parity (just look at Photoshop).
You’ll find that iPadOS has some parts of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, but they’re only scaled-down versions. Also, some of Apple’s software —Logic Pro X, for example— isn’t even available on iPadOS.
iPads and Their Accessories Are Expensive
How much you end up spending to buy an iPad depends on the model you go for. Still, it’ll cost you $499 to get the cheapest Apple iPad, the iPad mini. From there, the only way is up for these iPad model prices. For comparison, some brand new Android tablets you can buy for less than $100.
The largest and most powerful iPad model—the iPad Pro, with a 12.9-inch screen—will set you back a whopping $1099. This is well within the range of what you expect for a premium laptop.
Even iPad accessories are expensive. For example, the price of Apple’s Smart Folio case at the Apple Store is $79. This is for something that’s basically silicone and some magnets. Other accessories offer more in terms of functionality —the Magic Keyboard case, for example— have price tags that will definitely cause you to rethink. (The Magic Keyboard case costs $299!)
These days, it seems like Apple really wants every iPad user to also pick up an Apple Pencil. And, to be fair, the Apple Pencil is a great tool for artists, digital illustrators, and other creatives. But the $129 price tag for the second-generation Apple Pencil might make you want to think seriously about how much you’ll actually end up using it.
Your Favorite Apps Might Not Work on the iPad
It’s tempting to believe your favorite apps on the iPhone will look better on an iPad’s bigger screen. Turns out that’s not always the case. Apps like Facebook and Instagram seem like they’ll be better on an iPad’s larger screen, but it turns out there are no such apps developed specifically for iPads.
Even inbuilt iOS apps like Weather can’t be found on iPad (it’s available on iPadOS 16 but it’s still in beta). The apps that support iPadOS aren’t optimized for the device. These apps just display everything in bigger sizes, rather than taking advantage of the larger screen to display more information.
In the end, it makes you wonder why you have to use a particular app on such a cumbersome device when you could use the same app on a more comfortable device.
Locked to the App Store
This isn’t only associated with the iPad alone, as you have the same issue with iPhones. The only legal way to install an app on your iPad via the internet is from the Apple AppStore. With Android devices, if the Google Play Store removes an app from its catalog, you can always download the app from trusted third-party sources and install it.
The only exception here is owning a developer account. With a developer account you get access to many more open source apps and the ability to sign and install apps for testing on your device.
You can also install third-party app stores on your Android devices, giving you access to thousands of applications. This is not an option available to iPad users.
Granted, this may sound like nitpicking, but there’s this thing about the Apple Ecosystem; once it sucks you in, it’s very difficult to escape. The Apple Ecosystem basically makes its consumers buy more Apple products.
Once you start with an Apple product, the next gadget you decide to purchase will probably also be an Apple product, rather than any of the competition. If you start with an iPad, your next laptop is more likely to be a MacBook instead of a laptop with Windows (or Linux).
What this means is you become blinded to other devices with better suited specifications, and would rather wait until Apple releases a device with similar specifications, or updates the current model. Although it can be argued that, as far as the ecosystem goes, you really cannot find a better suited array of devices that can work together so well.
No option to add additional storage space
The memory capacity of the iPad is limited. This means once the memory is filled up, you’ll have to delete precious pictures, videos, music, and apps. There are no SD card slots on iPads, which would have helped to expand their storage capacity.
So, in essence, once the memory capacity is filled, your only other option is to purchase a more expensive higher model.
What are the disadvantages of an iPad?
The iPad disadvantages come from the fact that it can’t run a wide arrange of apps available on desktops and laptops, the cost to add an official keyboard and peripherals is high and that you can’t add additional storage without having to bring external devices (external drives).
Can this be a deal breaker? Yes, for some people. But this doesn’t mean that the iPad is a bad deal for businesses or a bad deal in general. Like I mentioned in other articles, I run most of my businesses from an iPad and things seem to get better and better with every day.
Where To Next?
This blog is a blog dedicated to using modern computing devices to run and manage a business. If you’re interested in using an iPad for your business, either as an entrepreneur, a small business owner or for your employees to use I recommend reading the following articles: