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Home / Features / How Apple’s iPadOS 18 killed pro-user hopes for the M4 iPad Pro

How Apple’s iPadOS 18 killed pro-user hopes for the M4 iPad Pro

WWDC24 feels like a death knell for the iPad becoming the device many pro users want

iPad Pro with a gigantic calculator icon and an angry emoji behind it

It feels like iPadOS Disappointment Day comes round earlier every year. And this year’s was a doozy. With Apple having recently shoved a super-powered M4 chip inside its latest iPad Pro, all eyes were on the company to make it sing with iPadOS 18 pro features. Surely, said eager users, this was the year Apple would finally unleash the full power of the iPad Pro! But at WWDC24, Apple turned the trolling dial up to 11 and gave us… a calculator.

To be fair, it’s a nice calculator. Although it did take Apple 14 years to figure out what a calculator for iPad should be. To which the answer was the existing iPhone app, blown up to full screen. And a separate feature pilfered from the superb Soulver, where you type out plain-English inline calculations in Notes, rather than use Calculator itself. And another separate interface, where you use Apple Pencil to scribble dynamic calculations, like a souped-up Microsoft Math Solver.

Not a ringing endorsement, then, that Apple’s tablet could – or would – become anything more than an ancillary device for high-end tasks.

You couldn’t Mac it up

iPad Calculator app in iPadOS 18
This took 14 years.

That’s not to say the iPad Pro needs to run macOS. I’ve already covered that idea, which is popular in certain circles but fills me with horror. Still, since the Mac will soon be able to mirror your iPhone, perhaps the next stage is the iPad mirroring your Mac, the Apple TV mirroring your iPad, and an Apple Watch mirroring, I dunno, an Apple Pippin – anything to avoid convergence that would allow one device to rule them all

So what should Apple have done instead? Anything. Because beyond what’s also coming to iOS 18, WWDC24 offered slim pickings regarding iPadOS 18 pro features. Or any other new iPad-specific features and apps.

No Xcode, Preview or TextEdit for iPad. The same distinct lack of flexibility regarding app installation, background utilities and background processes for demanding tasks like video export. No single-site browsers or user accounts, unlike on Mac. And stony silence on the mess that is Stage Manager, to the degree it felt like someone at Apple had quietly sneaked outside and lobbed it into a bin.

Still, there’s always next year, eh?

Profile image of Craig Grannell Craig Grannell Contributor


I’m a regular contributor to Stuff magazine and Stuff.tv, covering apps, games, Apple kit, Android, Lego, retro gaming and other interesting oddities. I also pen opinion pieces when the editor lets me, getting all serious about accessibility and predicting when sentient AI smart cookware will take over the world, in a terrifying mix of Bake Off and Terminator.

Areas of expertise

Mobile apps and games, Macs, iOS and tvOS devices, Android, retro games, crowdfunding, design, how to fight off an enraged smart saucepan with a massive stick.

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