back to article Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

After years of complacency – and falling sales – Apple has transformed the iPad into something it should have been from the start: a proper computer. iOS 11, which dropped Tuesday evening, only does a little bit for the iPhone, but a great deal for the iPad. It isn't too much of an exaggeration to say that a mature computer …

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I've had just two iPads in more than seven years. They spend their time gathering dust.

YMMV as they say. I've had an iPad 2 since 2012 and it still gets used every day.

Anyway, if the iPad is going to become "more computer-like" then it should be capable of editing and running or editing, compiling and running some code.

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Compiling? That would appeal to what, 2% of the iPad's audience? Being a better experience for editing Office type documents, now that's something that would appeal to a far wider audience.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyway, if the iPad is going to become "more computer-like" then it should be capable of editing and running or editing, compiling and running some code.

Swift playgrounds were introduced a while back..

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Anonymous Coward

I would venture more like 0.0002% of the audience.

For the vast, vast majority of users (including me) it's a consumption device with a bigger screen than a phone for old (or young) eyes. And it works perfectly for that. Wouldn't be without it, use it multiple times a day and have since the second generation was launched.

And when I travel for work, work laptop and personal iPad keep things nicely compartmented.

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Compiling? That would appeal to what, 2% of the iPad's audience?

Same for laptops.

The question was about making it a technically real computer, not about giving it market appeal.

Even the PSion EPOC pocket / PDA devices in the 1990s came with OPL so users could fashion their own automated processes.

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'work laptop and personal iPad keep things nicely compartmented'

This, totally this.

It's the mental equivalent of taking the suit off and popping your jeans on, plus I can browse and use apps on my iPad I wouldn't wish to do on my laptop (no not that, but really embarrassing stuff like El Reg)

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> That would appeal to what, 2% of the iPad's audience?

Exactly werdsmith's point - it's still not computer-like.

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I've had an iPad 2 since 2012 and it still gets used every day.

Likewise. Except it's mostly my wife looking at local traffic (she hates sitting in queues) and listening to The Archers podcasts..

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iPad coding

It's not comiling, but the iPad is capable of running (+ IIRC debugging) javascript locally.

I've used this capabilty plus Textastic to throw together a few (small) applications in the past.

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Genuinely curious. My wife's iPad2 basically stopped working (well most of the apps did) after one of Apples "force obsolescence" updates. We took it to the Apple store, who suggested we buy a new iPad.*

So I'm curious how you're still managing to use yours?

* Went to Tesco and bought a hudl for no money instead.

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Simples, don't let it connect to iTunes - I think my first gen iPad is still running IOS5 - the version before they dumped Google Maps. Battery life is shit though...

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My wife's iPad2 basically stopped working

You have a different problem, my iPad 2 has updated to the latest that Apple will allow (9.something).

Everything works functionally. Some actions are annoyingly slow, but the video streaming is fine, the web browsing is fine and all the apps work, though some of them take 10 seconds to start.

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>Went to Tesco and bought a hudl for no money instead.

I assume this was a year or so back; Tesco announced in October 2015 that there would not be a successor to the Hudl2 - released in October 2014.

My iPad2 (16GB, iOS 9.3.5) is still going okay, although given the huge performance difference between it and the Air2, it's shortening battery life and limited memory, it has been relegated to 'leisure' usage.

I learnt that the best way to avoid failed apps after iOS update was to ensure all apps were updated before installing the new edition of iOS. Also iOS like other OS's doesn't perform well with constrained memory (less than a couple of GB unused). Perhaps you should do a factory reset and only reinstall selected applications rather than fill the memory.

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(Written by Reg staff)

You can revert. It saved my Air 1 from molasses.

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Having read the Bootnote I'll try to hold off till 11.1

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It is always a good practice to wait for the .1 (not 0.1 but .1) update if you have hardware older than two years. Many suggest that Apple doesn't optimize for older hardware on the initial release, concentrating more on getting the features in and making sure it runs well on the new iPhone that comes out at the same time.

People with older stuff are unhappy that it is slower, then the .1 comes out next month and those issues are mitigated. Apple obviously targets performance regressions in older hardware in the .1 version.

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The unanswered question is how long did it take with this same iPad running on iOS 10? If it went from 9 to 12 seconds, with all of the background activity still going on, I'm not too worried about performance (but I still will wait for a few updates to come out). 2 seconds to 12, yeah, that's an issue. 20 seconds to 12 (doubtful from the context) and the Bootnote is misdirecting.

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Is this a step backwards?

The whole point of the iPad product (and its OS) was the bonkers sand-boxing that made it almost impossible for one app to muck about with another. It was a significant impediment to malware and in combination with not letting *users* fiddle at the file-system level it made the iPad pretty safe for Joe User or indeed Joe User's offspring.

If they are now relaxing all that with a proper files app and letting folks use the thing more like a real computer, perhaps that is a retrograde step. Worse, perhaps it is not a big enough retrograde step, since anyone who actually wanted a "proper computer in a tablet format" already has quite a few options that have gone the rest of the way.

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Re: Is this a step backwards?

No, it's fine, because it's not a "proper files app" in the sense of the Finder. It primarily allows you to navigate your iCloud, Dropbox, etc storage and maintains local caches of that, providing applications with pipes into and out of that conceptually remote storage. It doesn't expose the native file system. You can't investigate /Applications or /Library or /usr/bin anything else. iOS-level sandboxing still applies.

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Object Oriented Computing

[...ambitious new feature that harks back almost 30 days...]

Damned new-fangled hoopamajiggy idea that'll never take off.

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Re: Object Oriented Computing

Bit like NeXTSTEP on the NeXT Cube then in 1987 (30 years) .. oh wait, who created that and then sold it to Apple and was welcomed back as CEO in 1997?

Its a natural progression by Apple who have been using NeXTSTEP originated technology since then in OSX and iOS.

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Stop

Re: Object Oriented Computing

Am I the only one around here who remembers (and used) Publish & Subscribe on System 7? At least that *did* do live updating as well - and didn't do a bad job as I recall...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publish_and_Subscribe_(Mac_OS)

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Re: Object Oriented Computing

@Uncle,

i was going to post the same,

fond memories

add a spreadsheets in a claris works doc that automatically updated when the origin did

add a graphics in what ever that was always updated when the origin did

it promised so much

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Anonymous Coward

Typos a Gogo!

"OS 11 attempts to cure all three and adds a very ambitious new feature that harks back almost 30 days to a time when Object Oriented Computing was the rage."

Ah those heady days of a month ago! :)

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Re: Typos a Gogo!

Probably typed on an iPad using IOS 11.

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Re: Typos a Gogo!

"I come from the past and can see that much has changed. Tell me, what are these strange metallic boxes that now dart down every street?"

"Why, those are cars! Did they not have those where you come from?"

"Sure, we had cars. But these are nothing like the cars of 30 DAYS AGO!"

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Mine seems OK

I have the latest iPad Pro 10.5 and Kindle loads up in about 2 seconds, the first time and a lot quicker after that.

Alan

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"It isn't really the task juggling, although that's nice when it works. It's drag and drop."

You know, we were saying stuff like that about RISC OS nearly thirty years ago.

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The RISC OS drap and drop was really good. In all the years since, I've never seen it done half as well.

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Pint

"The RISC OS drap and drop was really good."

And remains so to this day.

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Angel

Well it took the rest of the world long enough to (nearly) catch up with proper font scaffolding and sub pixel hinting, so something as incredibly arcane as app->app, app->file, file->app d&d was bound to take longer.

P.S. bet they still got it wrong.

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HCV

The Dock is now more like the Dock on MacOS – namely, something that's trying to do two different things: launch apps and keep track of running apps. That was a huge criticism of Mac OS X for years

Huge. Huge, I tells ya.

...really?

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When your userbase was as UI-obsessed as Apple's were during the late 90s/ early 00s, yes. Given that anyone who wasn't entirely UI obsessed wouldn't have touched the crap they were churning out then with a barge pole.

Remember, when we're discussing early Mac OSX, we're not talking about the sleek, shiny, high-end post-2006 Intel-powered Apple, but instead the pre-2005 PowerPC Apple, who's hardware was a shoddy joke (though still with an eye-watering price tag). The interface was the only thing they had going for them, so interface screw-ups were a big deal in Appleland. People were literally shocked that the 2007 Macbook also turned out to be a good computer underneath the shiny interface, because we'd not seen a competitive bit of hardware from Apple since about 1983.

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Trollface

Oh Really?

I think that aspect of the Dock is about the LAST thing I would knock Macs or MacOS for. Also never really heard anyone complain about this either.

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Coat

But, er... 12 seconds to open the Kindle app?

Erm... don't you have a Kindle for that?

Mine is the one with the Etch-a-Sketch with the painstakingly recreated first page of "Moby Dick".

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(Written by Reg staff)

I do, but

Having got one I never use it. Blinding bright light when you’re reading the dark. Doesn’t do screenshots and the highlighting is pants.

Something else to stick on eBay, along with the a bricked iPad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do, but

same here. I had a kindle (Kindle Fire) once but some scumbag in NYC stole it from my Hotel room. Didn't take a camera bag with some £20K+ of gear in it for some reason.

The apple store was a few blocks away so I bought an iPad Mini and went off on my trip.

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Re: I do, but

You want to take screenshots of a book? Highlight sections? Aren't you just supposed to read and enjoy? Must just be me. (and yeah I know - not everyone is like me)

I agree the screen can be a bit bright in the dark but mine has a brightness control . . .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do, but

You made the mistake of getting the backlit screen?

eInk all the way - I use it daily

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Re: I do, but

Blinding bright light when you’re reading the dark.

Get yourself a Kobo Aura One (or anything using the same screen and adaptive light). It's turned me from an occasional into an avid reader.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I do, but

"You want to take screenshots of a book? Highlight sections? Aren't you just supposed to read and enjoy?"

I hate to get technical but in the trade it's called "research".

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LDS
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"I hate to get technical but in the trade it's called "research""

You're right, IMHO Kindle/Kobo/etc. are great to read novels or the like, especially for leisure, but if you have more needs than turning a page, they are not great tools.

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Re: I do, but

Having got one I never use it. Blinding bright light when you’re reading the dark

Now - I don't have a kindle with a light (I much prefer kobo - far more functional[1] and not tied into the Amazon advert machine) but I'm pretty certain that the light levels are controllable.

Doubtless, someone will be along shortly to tell us otherwise..

[1] And easily cabable of reading Amazon ebooks once downloaded and converted.

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Re: Aren't you just supposed to read and enjoy?

No, nowadays it's "Share and enjoy."

I wonder what Apple's company song is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hate to get technical but in the trade it's called "research".

And outside the trade, plagiarism.

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Alien

Innovation? We've heard of it

Good to see Apple finally embracing the forty-year-old desktop paradigm of multitasking on mobile hardware.

Not that other mobile vendors are any better.

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me how multi-core, multi-gigahertz, multi-gigabyte mobile systems can be so excruciatingly unresponsive compared with my 16-bit, 7MHz, 512KB Amiga from the 1980s.

How can this even be possible?

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Re: Innovation? We've heard of it

Most delays you see in smart mobile devices are due to network lag.

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Re: Innovation? We've heard of it

I'd bet if you wrote an OS for the phone in machine language customized to the exact CPU set & hardware in the unit & took out most of the GUI stuff and had your applications written in assembly with no extra linked libraries of stuff they don't need, you would see your phone work faster than you could imagine.

However, you'd have almost no apps as it's a bit hard to copy/paste your way to working programs in assembly or machine language.

There was an article a few years back about a company building some car sensors / displays based on a very stripped down & hardware customized version of Linux, getting sub second power on till fully working & accepting input / displaying results times.

Then for extra points you could always try for the compressed self relocating machine code type programming.

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Re: Innovation? We've heard of it

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me how multi-core, multi-gigahertz, multi-gigabyte mobile systems can be so excruciatingly unresponsive compared with my 16-bit, 7MHz, 512KB Amiga from the 1980s.

How can this even be possible?

Well, for starters, your Amiga is doing all the bounds checking and type safety that my old Speccy used to do...

Probably more importantly - and more seriously - it's a smaller system. Less inter-dependencies. People talk about wanting time back that they spent watching a crap film. Screw that. I want the time back that I've spent watching Java and .Net programs start up. I'm not sure how much time I'd get back exactly, but I suspect that your grandkids will know me as "that guy who's functionally immortal".

Your Amiga could print text to screen with mere kilobytes of dependent libraries. These days we have to wait for megabytes of dependencies to load. Usually because some idiot developer thinks that maybe, some day, they'll need to parse JSON or make a raw TCP socket connection or whatever - so they should definitely have that in their project.

Tossers.

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Re: Innovation? We've heard of it

Your not talking about Amigas and it's applications then as that was C and linked libraries and functional GUI elements. Yes games would dump the OS, multitasking and hit the Hardware with probably a fair bit of assembly.

Modern compliers will generally produce quicker code than hand assembly unless there are some major cpu instructions the complier can't use like SIMD. Most of the time you'll be slower.

The problem is more likley (in no order):

Bling GUI elements like transparency, fade in and zoom on to display or wobble.

Lots of code which isn't complied into native CPU instruction things like javascript and bytecode languages.

Text based protocols and formats like HTML, XML which has to be scanned byte by byte.

Can't even tell how many bytes a character is with checking each one, but it mostly doesn't matter.

Use of Frameworks where 5% of the features are used but have to take the hit of the complexity of the other 95%

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