back to article Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work

Private Eye has a running joke satirising a great British tabloid institution: the Reverse Ferret. "An apology to our readers…" it usually begins, explaining a sudden about-face in the newspaper's position. This year's Reverse Ferret in technology journalism is: the iPad is Great for Work. Remember how we (and not just us) …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Someones noticed at last.

    Spend 2hrs doing work on iPad. Move it to office PC and spend a further 2 hrs fixing it.

    All for something that would take an hour on the PC in the office.

    Phones are 5 or 6 times as inefficient as PCs.

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Someones noticed at last.

      "Phones are 5 or 6 times as inefficient as PCs."

      Yes, and an absolute bastard if you have older eyes. Why look through the keyhole when you can just open the door?

    2. Stripes the Dalmatian

      Re: Someones noticed at last.

      Bring back netbooks!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tablets are great as a reader, media player, general surfing and for occasional games but frankly quite useless for workstation chores. They fill that gap where lugging around a laptop is not worth it or inconvenient, a laptop would slip off my knees right now.

    Sent from my iPad while taking a dump.

    1. big_D Silver badge
      Boffin

      Yes, where is the ergonomic onscreen keyboard, with raised hump in the middle?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Yes, where is the ergonomic onscreen keyboard, with raised hump in the middle?

        No hump needed, I have joystick already (or is that all ready ?) to cover that one.

        Regards Quagmire, Giggidy.

      3. Ledswinger Silver badge

        "Sent from my iPad while taking a dump."......

        Yes, where is the ergonomic onscreen keyboard, with raised hump in the middle?

        How does the ergonomic keyboard help the OP whilst he's having a dump?

    2. JLV Silver badge

      and you know, I am A-OK with where the non-Pro iPad is at, a media consumption device. Bringing out the Pro model has dropped the base version prices a bit.

      Where this article disturbs me is that my perception that Apple's thinking that iPhones and iPads are the future gettings-things-done devices is bleeding out onto their macOS devices. Their stewardship of the MacPro has been shameful, the Mini hadn't had an upgrade in ages until last month and the MBPs are really losing their Pro monicker in favor of thin and light. Prices are, Apple-high, as usual. too bad, I still rather like OSX.

      If you believe that iPad Pros are "all the laptop you will ever need", then yeah, why not drop the ball on the rest?

    3. DeeCee

      agree, now dex/continuum stuff could replace workstations quite soon, at least for most people, hardware is powerful enough and just needs 2 good monitors, a keyboard and a mouse

      cooling like on one of those gaming phones that are made for external cooling addon, along with dex with cooling solution will probably be the future, wont be surprised if some monitors/dex like things will come with external gpus soon

    4. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      modern TV

      > Tablets are great as a reader, media player, general surfing and for occasional games but frankly quite useless for workstation chores.

      Exactly what I have been saying all along. The tablet is the IT equivalent of a television: a device for consuming content. Very useful in that role (my household currently has two iPads), but if anything needs to be done, it is time to open the laptop.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: modern TV

        It really doesn't make a difference between the two, three if you count both tablets, here. Unplug the USB 3 hub from laptop, plug in one of the tablets. The hub has the mechanical keyboard, precision mouse, 30" WQXGA display, even if only 1080p, and assorted multiple sticks and/or drives as needed. Even networking. These Fusion5's here are quite capable of multitasking. It's when I wander off into server/AI/dev-land that I need the laptop. Otherwise, no difference despite laptop on server and tablets on Android 6.0. I do have Bluetooth equivalents, just hardly ever need them. Then again, a "road-warrior" I am not, just ever home or at the VA hospital. Don't even think of going on their network.

        The hardest part is to get completely systematic about what data/software lives on which multiple devices and drives. And keep it that way.

    5. jcitron

      I have a Dell XPS 18 Windows tablet PC, which I use to display sheet music instead of me having to flip pages while working on some large complex works which always have the page turns in the wrong place. The large screen is quick, and easy to see and responds quickly to my finger swipes needed to turn the pages in Acrobat. I tried an iPad for the same thing, but the ant-sized fonts on it made the text too small to differentiate between the fingerings on the music. Is that a 3 or a 5?; A 1 or a 4?

      And by the way, a crappy 'droid tablet was worse too because it was not only too slow, and didn't always respond to the finger swipe needed to flip the pages. There's nothing worse knowing you have an impending page turn coming up, attempt to turn it and nothing happens!

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Coat

    In the US, the iPhone has around half of the market, which insulates Apple to how niche it is becoming in other markets.

    Make America Broke Again!

    * Mine's the one with a copy of The Art of the Deal and sun-goggles in the pocket.

  4. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Perspective

    Expecting people to do all their work on an iPad is like handing a professional mechanic a crescent wrench and 2 screwdrivers and expecting them to get the job done. With only a 'cloud' file system, no easy USB, a plethora of mostly aggravating keyboards, and only a limited number of office and other apps compared to a PC, it's just not there yet. And let's not forget no easy AD authentication or access to things on a NAS unless your organization has everything accessible from a browser.

    The hardware is certainly competent enough these days, there just isn't enough integration or flexibility yet. I hate tablet PCs like the Surface and its clones, but I'd choose one in a heartbeat over an iPad if I had to get some work done. Convertibles on the other hand, I think just haven't been discovered by enough people yet. (though the few we have at work spend most of their time acting as a laptop, as far as I've seen)

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Perspective

      When I have to undock my 17" laptop the sudden lack of a 2nd screen makes working on it a real PIA.

      The A/C above has mentioned the best feature of these things, namely the ability for a video chat session to start whilst mid dump.

      Replacing clipboards & crayons they're great, for serious work, never.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Perspective

        The A/C above has mentioned the best feature of these things, namely the ability for a video chat session to start whilst mid dump.

        Ugh! How do the people you're chatting with feel about watching you while you defecate?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Convertibles on the other hand"

      Well, the Surface is a convertible - its keyboard may not be the best on your lap - but when working on a flat surface is not much different than using a laptop. Not your main computing device probably - but I prefer a desktop for my needs, but great to travel lightly - and without the limitations of an iPad.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perspective

      Expecting people to do all their work on an iPad is like handing a professional mechanic a crescent wrench and 2 screwdrivers and expecting them to get the job done.

      Really, that's just the standard operating procedure whenever a management type comes into the IT office (appropriate task-related translations implied)

      Expect to be kitted out in iPads because someone decided it looks very fash in the open office space.

  5. GX5000
    Stop

    Oh FFS

    No just effing No.

    I have a high level management wanting Tablets replacing Laptops while I go around like a madman restoring Towers to workers ready to jump out of windows. This is madness. Between the chatters from the network from update checks, anti virus, security monitoring etc, the laptops use up most of their 8 gigs after one or tow doc opens, then using a record management app to save and import and voila, freeze when importing cells from one 40 meg excel to another. Stop the madness, talk to your IM Managers, Laptops, tabs and phones are for suckers not workers. Only Desktops (or very expensive gaming laptops) can keep your multi-file juggling workers productive! (Written from a i7 16Gig tower PC while remoted into a Dell and HP pad to fix file issues for a few unfortunates)

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      Upvote 10 pack to you Sir, it's those same clueless morons running a lot of places.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      A little exagerated, but I'm with you for the most part.

      1. GX5000

        Re: Oh FFS

        Disclaimer - Your "experience.exe" may vary :)

      2. jcitron

        Re: Oh FFS

        Not really. A few years ago the place I worked for added on a layer of data encryption on top of already slower machines. The 4GB laptops were slow enough handling those huge Excel spreadsheets, database applications, remote connections, and other things, and the EPE made it worse. The users complained all the time about the slow machines even when new out of the box.

        The sales engineers and R&D folks, however, could not demo software using these 4GB laptops. One guy had a embarrassing machine lock up from what I was told, which may have cost the company a contract. After that the SEs were given special treatment with their nice Precision Workstation machines with 16GB while everyone else got the lower end Lenovo laptops the company would normally buy.

        Being in IT, I was able to procure a "sample test machine" for myself. The faster processor and more memory really helped get past that bottleneck caused by the EPE. There was barely a chatter on the hard disk when opening up huge spreadsheets or other applications.

        Underpowered hardware, just like any inadequate tool, makes for an unproductive environment, which actually costs a company in the long run. Sadly management and bean counters don't see it that way and will cut everything to the bone.

    3. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      Laptops are replacing desktops in a vain attempt to get already stressed workers to work even more when they leave the office. The very fact that you have a work device to hand means you will never switch off. I don't care who the hell you think you are, it is simply not healthy to constantly keep working outside your standard contracted hours. Once in a while or on a full burst before a big release or other operation, sure bust a gut and get the job done but if you don't switch off you will end up down the quacks asking to become a junkie hocked up on "happy pills", trust me I know!

      Greedy bosses looking to squeeze the life out of workers until they drop dead or are driven to the nuthouse grasping their "happy pills". When the clock hits 5, walk out, take up your hobby, enjoy life and make sure you work to live, not live to work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh FFS

        I've just put that in my Workday, thank you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh FFS

        I take my work laptop home at the end of the day for the sake of appearance, but it sits in a corner and does not a damn thing. There are more important things to life than being at the beck and call of work out of hours, no matter how many incentives are thrown about.

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: Oh FFS

          Everyone here has to take their laptops home with them.

          There is no expectation of work (unless you feel it is needed) but it is insisted upon as part of our DR strategy.

          People can at least be doing *something* while we restore servers etc, in the event of a disaster of some sort.

    4. sprograms

      Re: Oh FFS

      Perhaps intentionally, you've left out one wonderfully au currant reason that management prefers to hand out laptops, not towers: An employee with a laptop doesn't need an office. They don't even require a set little cubical. Making them redundant happens at the speed of Executive Stock Option: Just grab their laptop, nullify their building entry code, and move on.

      I should admit that I prefer having both a laptop and a very quiet but powerful desk-near Mac Mini or Intel equivalent. Using what's right for the task at hand, and in my own offices, just seems right.

    5. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Oh FFS

      We've had a large number of middle and upper-management types get Surfaces and less than a year later return them for laptops for a multitude of varying reasons. So the used surfaces end up going to temps and interns. And in several cases the interns' managers have requested the interns get a better machine, as the used Surfaces are flaky and in some cases are struggling to run some of the applications used by the various departments. So what do they get? 4-5 year-old laptops that have been upgraded with extra RAM and an SSD. They are battleships in size and weight, but they have a proper keyboard, many USB ports, docks that work every time, and in most cases are a bit faster, probably due to a more efficient chipset, despite the clock and RAM speeds being a bit slower.

      So we literally have reached a point where despite the Surface being light and having a nice display and touch screen, we can't seem to give them away to employees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh FFS

        I've spent the last 18 months using a work-supplied Surface Pro 4. Initially, I coveted one of these when they first came out. Now having used one, I would not even waste my tyre rubber reversing over it. I'm on my third keyboard - the keyboard which bounces around when you type and has a flaky connector leading to frequent "do you wish to use this in tablet mode?' messages'.... No I effing don't.

        The stupid kickstand which is not practical when trying to use it on your knees on a train or on any unlevel surface. Being top heavy, it has a lovely habit of backflipping off anything not level. One USB port - really? A proprietary mains adaptor that is also flaky and if you plug anything into the handy USB port on the mains brick, there is not enough charge to power the machine... Crap battery life (I have a generic build with very little in it).

        And finally, the worst thing of all - ongoing issues with wireless - intermittently connects/disconnects to wireless. Completely has my IT Department foxed. To the extent that they have now given me an ethernet adaptor and a 5m cable.

        Yeh great laptop. NOT. Personally, for all I agree that the iPad is not a laptop replacement, I would rather use that than this festering pile of poo.

    6. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      @GX5000

      Not disagreeing with the sentiment. But as a contract developer, I move around more than most, and all the offices I've worked in over the past few years use laptops quite successfully.

      The arrangement is usually a laptop connected to an external keyboard, mouse and two wide screens. This makes desk-moves and team reorganisation simpler. It also facilitates working from home - I just take the office laptop home with me and connect it to my own keyboard, mouse and screens. (Fiddling around with the connectors is a nuisance, but much less of a nuisance than commuting.)

      The laptops are generally powerful enough for serious development work. If they aren't, it's worth reminding the clients how much they're paying for every minute I spend looking at a wait icon.

    7. Kimo

      Re: Oh FFS

      I work at a University of over 50.000 students. The higher ups just did a deal with Apple to get iPads for all incoming freshmen. Too bad we require SolidWorks for our Engineering courses (and now have to look at running it on servers and using the iPads to control the Windows installs).

    8. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      A use case for (docked) laptops in you can't take desktops to meetings... but Windows of course shits the bed when you take away the docked monitors and screws up window sizes and desktop icons for you.

      But we all know the real reason is so you can take your computer home and do work in your own time to make up for shitty project management.

  6. Semtex451 Silver badge

    "It has set out to grow revenue by increasing margins to the pip-squeak pain threshold, rather than losing volume. In fact, Apple seems very relaxed about losing volumes. So long as it's making money."

    This has been its business model since iPhone launch, the only thing that's changed is its discovery of just how much it can get away with (the gradual upward creep to £1000+ phones & tablets)

    "I think this is a little risky and misguided" It always was, but I believe Apple are finally about to discover what happens when the consumer wakes up. Its an opportunity for a cut price startup, Android is just too alien for the majority of iOS users to get used to.

    1. Ragarath
      Joke

      Android is just too alien for the majority of iOS users to get used to.

      It's not an Alien, it's a robot.

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Happy

      Conversely..

      "Android is just too alien for the majority of iOS users to get used to."

      Conversely, long-time Android users forced to use iOS want to bang their heads against their desks. And not because they're listening to good heavy metal.

  7. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Horses for courses

    I'm sure I'm not alone in using a proper PC for work (multiple screens and proper keyboard).

    A convertible or laptop for proper email or a bit of Word when away from the desk.

    A cheap tablet for browsing on the sofa.

    Where I'm different is that I use my mobile phone for telephone calls!

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Horses for courses

      I'm sure I'm not alone in using a proper PC for work (multiple screens and proper keyboard).

      A convertible or laptop for proper email or a bit of Word when away from the desk.

      A cheap tablet for browsing on the sofa.

      Where I'm different is that I use my mobile phone for telephone calls!

      Nope you're definately not alone... There is a whole office sitting on front of me with almost exactly the same habits.

    2. IHateWearingATie
      Trollface

      Re: Horses for courses

      "Where I'm different is that I use my mobile phone for telephone calls!"

      Changed the ink in your typewriter recently Grandad?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Horses for courses

        "telephone calls" ??

        What are they?

        Is that some kind of 80's electronic technology?

        1. georgezilla

          Re: Horses for courses

          " ... Is that some kind of 80's electronic technology? ... "

          No.

          Well sort of.

          It's where you, you know, actually "talk" to people. It's a concept where people actually communicate with each other. And do it "live". Usually in person.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Horses for courses

            That sounds most uncivilized.

            What if they're busy?

          2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Horses for courses

            "It's where you, you know, actually "talk" to people. It's a concept where people actually communicate with each other. And do it "live". Usually in person."

            I thought when people gathered, after the first few minutes of conversation, they all pull out their phones to take their turns at games, check/update their social media, text someone else, etc..

      2. georgezilla

        Changed the ink .....

        " ... Changed the ink in your typewriter recently Grandad? ... "

        No child, I haven't. Because you don't change the "ink", you change the ribbon ( or the cartridge ).

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Changed the ink .....

          9/10, but I think you omitted the "Now get the f@ck off my lawn!" to get a perfect 10...

        2. IHateWearingATie

          Re: Changed the ink .....

          Touché :)

        3. Kimo

          Re: Changed the ink .....

          "No child, I haven't. Because you don't change the "ink", you change the ribbon ( or the cartridge )."

          Unless you are exceptionally cheap, and re-ink your ribbons,

    3. 100113.1537

      Re: Horses for courses

      My "proper PC with multiple screens and proper keyboard" is a notebook - with a docking station. As long as you know that this is the intended use, you can get a notebook with the grunt needed for real work. The limitation is hard disk space and unless your work involves editing video files, data storage on an external drive is no real drawback.

      If I didn't have to travel occasionally then a tower would be cheaper, but a second (portable) screen turned out to be pretty cheap and makes doing real work on the road quite acceptable.

      And yes, I have an iPad for games and watching Netflix in bed!

    4. HildyJ

      Re: Horses for courses

      I second the desktop for real work.

      But instead of a cheap tablet, I've been using a Windows tablet since Windows XP Tablet Edition. I currently have a Dell Venue Pro with Windows 10 and it fully, albeit slowly, supports all my company's security so I can interact with the email and file servers, "attend" group meetings and teleconferences, and generally accomplish whatever I need to do remotely. Plus content consumption.

    5. GerryMC

      Re: Horses for courses

      i7 16GB Laptop with docking station connected to 2x24" screens

      only take it home if on call (paid), or planning to work from home (alas, 1x23" screen)

      I only use the laptop keyboard in meetings. I cannot use a touchpad, just no...

      Old HP keyboard at work, Logitech gaming KB and mouse at home

      Proper tower for home gaming etc

      Tablet for browsing on the couch

      1. Mongrel

        Re: Horses for courses

        "i7 16GB Laptop with docking station connected to 2x24" screens"

        After an office relocation I now work from home on a similar setup (God bless USB-C hubs), and an occasional trip to the office.

        I'd always supplied my own keyboard & mouse as work were always proud of how little they spend on the interface devices, considering how much you use them, and I get snobby about that sorta stuff

        Since Dell now appear to be making their keyboard contacts from jelly I splashed £25 for a knockoff mechanical keyboard that fits nicely in the laptop bag for when I have to get in the office.

    6. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Horses for courses

      Nothing wrong with that at all. I do use a company laptop rather than a desktop PC (although my main home machine is a tower), but for me the laptop has the advantage that I often work from home as well as travelling on business. Saying that, once the clock reaches 5 to 5:30pm, the laptop goes off and does not come back on until work time the following morning. I like to keep my work life and my family time strictly separate.

      Despite using a laptop for work, it's hooked into three monitors, and a proper keyboard/mouse 95% of the time. Even *thinking* about trying to do proper work on a tablet gives me the shivers...

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Horses for courses

        What DaveK said. Laptop, docking station, a few extra monitors, keybopard mouse (because laptop trackpads and keyboards are horrid). Sits on desk at work, bring it home every day, but don; tuse it unless I HAVE to, makes it easy to work from home. Runs windows but most of the real work done in Linux in virtual box. Actually at home right now typing this, simply plugged laptop in to monitor, now in exactly the same environment I was yesterday when I left work. Laptops just work (mostly)

        I've tried doing work stuff on a tablet, admittedly a small cheap Samsung, horrible. For general net stuff, absolutely fine. Not for work.

  8. Rainer

    What's the problem?

    There's the classic iPad for what? 329 USD. It even works with the pencil and AFAIK, you can connect a BT keyboard to it, too.

    The new iPadPro is really just the "iPad for the 1%".

    As much as I wish, I have no regular use for it.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: What's the problem?

      What they are on about is productivity. Compare your iPad to working on a PC or a full blown Mac. Not just the price.

  9. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Clueless Again

    Too many very dimbulbs try to say the desktop and laptop are dead because some activities can be offloaded on to other devices. Thus, in their non-functioning brains, all activities can be offloaded on to these devices. This ignores that many of these activities have difficult to meet except requirements that are met by a desktop or laptop. Also, many of the 'pundits' see the sales decline as evidence of the death of PCs when this this more likely caused by the nature or a mature market and the fact that aging kit is still viable for most activities.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clueless Again

      "Too many very dimbulbs"

      Maybe we're approaching The Long Utopia. Are you one of the NeXT?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clueless Again

      Microsoft Vista started the decline in PC sales. Then tablets came along which offered a relatively simple and virus free alternative for your average home user. Meanwhile manufacturers like Lenovo seem to be doing OK supplying laptops, PCs, and workstations to the corporate market?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wife works for a large UK corporate and has just had to give back her laptop, as obviously the marketing\bean counter wombles know better than the end users so have forced IPads on them. Results much swearing and less work done!

  11. Herring`

    iStuff

    Before Charlie Brooker converted, he described Apple things as "glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults". I think that's fair.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, the little Microsoft didn't made the wrong choice selling PC software in those years...

    Why Jobs idea would have been a failure? PCs were expensive back then, cheaper model would have come later. While IT departments could have been OK with their mainframes and minis, most users weren't and were buying PCs (and CP/M system were already around). Having graphics, networking and laser printers instead of monochromatic text, floppies and dot matrix deafening devices would have been a great plus.

    IMHO Apple survived later, in the 1990s, exactly thanks to its strong foothold in the graphics market, but only because it missed the opportunity to gain market share before the PC took off, and was surpassed by cheaper PC with more applications in the 1980s - albeit their technology was inadequate for the needs of most advanced graphics users until the early 2000s (IIRC i.e. color management appeared in Windows only with W2K, still in an early implementation) - even if CAD, which had far less color management needs, was already more popular on PCs than Macs - IIRC AutoCAD dropped Mac support well before 2000.

  13. Snarf Junky

    We have one person...

    ...that insists on using an iPad for work.

    Yes, he's a twat.

  14. 20TC

    Convertibles work (at a price)

    I use an SP4 / i7 / 16Gb as my "main PC". At both office and home-office, I have a dock and two 24" monitors with regular keyboard, mouse, etc. It works very well and handles the big spreadsheets, will run a VM or two for dev. Basically exactly what you would expect from i7/16Gb.

    On the road, I have exactly the same PC with all the same functions still with me, same speed, etc. in a slim and light package. The smaller screen and surface keyboard are a compromise (which I accept).

    The company paid a premium of course and we have just one. The rest use a similar laptop, dock & monitor(s). So the surface concept is fine, just overpriced.

    What makes me most exasperated is the reports of all the problems with Win10 updates and the Surface. FFS, that's the one thing that should work. Even my 'working' device often forgets how to use the camera to unlock the device or the keyboard decides to stop and you have to disconnect/reconnect. That where MS are bloody awful - can't make their own kit work with their own software.

    Before you say it, In the 'real world', we don't have time or resources to switch everyone to Linux, including re-training staff. And half of our staff are selling or supporting customers in a Windows environment so need the experience/equipment to work with them.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Convertibles work (at a price)

      "re-training staff"

      Only works when the leap concerned is a change of Facebook's app UI or an iOS update on their phones?

      Damn lusers.

  15. 0laf Silver badge

    Ipads @ work

    Ipads are for shallow people to be seen to be doing work, generally by other shallow people probably with job titles including the words "influencer"or "evangelist".

    Laptops are for people who need to work on the move.

    PCs are for proper work. I've been at work with PCs since 95 and have used pretty much every class of machine and every form factor. I'm yet to be convinced that anything beats a reasonably powerful desktop with multi screens for doing proper work.

    even with MS's attempts to royally fuck this up every chance it gets

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Ipads @ work

      The vast majority of people who use a computer for their job don't need a "a reasonably powerful desktop with multi screens". A mid-spec laptop has plenty of grunt (just work out what a £400 Dell is comparable to in 2010). A proper keyboard and mouse and a nice screen if you use it hour after hour. A 2nd screen depending if you multi-task a lot. A proper desktop only if you are compiling C++ or video editing or running VMs.

      It costs a bit more but decent laptops can usurp desktops outside a few specialist jobs, and you can trick people into taking them home so they'll do work on them.

      I've worked in a software shop who has always worked on laptops (ThinkPads IIRC) + dock and to be honest, it was just fine.

      1. doublelayer

        Re: Ipads @ work

        I'll have to agree on the laptops over desktops. Not all the time, but at least for me. I do relatively intensive dev work, and I do need a lot of processing to do that. I can get that in a laptop as well as a desktop (I need a good CPU and quite a bit of memory, but I don't need a graphics card, a lot of storage, or tons of ports and drives). The laptop can sit on my disk in a docking station for connecting to any hardware I want at work. It is useful, however, to be able to relocate my working machine. I can take it to demos or to someone else's area without copying stuff, and I can work remotely. My job allows me to work from most places, so I can do work (my expected work in expected hours) from other places if that is more convenient for me. For this reason, I prefer the laptop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ipads @ work

          I do dev work as well and:

          1) I prefer to have a RAID system to ensure I can keep on working even when the drive fails, because reinstalling would take time, and VM are not the solution to every need

          2) Good graphics cards are not for gamers only, today.

          3) Storage is still needed if you happen to run VMs locally, or other storage intensive stuff.

          4) I don't want to take all my code and documents with me when I go to a demo or whatever - that have to stay safe in the office. Sure I have repositories and backups, but I'm obviously worried about stolen data, not lost one.

          5) Desktop have better cooling, and can work at higher speeds for longer, thus usually have more powerful processors.

          6) The docking station takes space on a desk, especially for larger, powerful laptops. I can put my "desktop" under it and free space (should I call it "deskbottom"?)

          That said, it depend on what you work on, and your mobility needs. In my startup days, I worked on a laptop on a table in an angle of a basement...

          1. tim 13

            Re: Ipads @ work

            I find it quite awkward taking my desktop with me to plug it into switches etc...

          2. doublelayer

            Re: Ipads @ work

            "I do dev work as well and:"

            1) "I prefer to have a RAID system to ensure I can keep on working even when the drive fails, because reinstalling would take time, and VM are not the solution to every need"

            I do this with full-disk backup images which I can deploy in minutes. The advantages of RAID do not outweigh the extra kilos for me. If the disk fails, I switch it, press restore, wait five minutes, and resume working. Also, I haven't killed my disk to require this.

            2) "Good graphics cards are not for gamers only, today."

            No, they're not. But I still don't need one. Whenever I need that type of processing, I typically offload that to a dedicated machine with a lot more processing than a desktop would have. I don't have a reason to have a graphics card in my dev machine.

            3) "Storage is still needed if you happen to run VMs locally, or other storage intensive stuff."

            Granted. I have two disks in mine for a total of 1.5 TB. I don't process a bunch of images or video to need more, at least on my work dev machine.

            4) "I don't want to take all my code and documents with me when I go to a demo or whatever - that have to stay safe in the office. Sure I have repositories and backups, but I'm obviously worried about stolen data, not lost one."

            Hence my disks being encrypted. And I might demo to my managers or their managers, rather than to clients. Or maybe I'd like to work near someone else on my team, or in another office, or from somewhere else because my company will let me. Then, I might want access to my code.

            5) "Desktop have better cooling, and can work at higher speeds for longer, thus usually have more powerful processors."

            Yes. All true. But my point is that I need a sufficiently powerful processor. An I7 will be perfectly enough for my needs. I do not need a xeon, and it wouldn't really help. When more processing is required, I offload once again to the massive compute resources available to me.

            6) "The docking station takes space on a desk, especially for larger, powerful laptops. I can put my "desktop" under it and free space (should I call it "deskbottom"?)"

            I don't use my laptop screen when it's on the desk, so I put my docking station on the bottom. My desk is quite free.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ipads @ work

      probably with job titles including the words "influencer"or "evangelist"

      Don't forget "advisor", "partner", and "manager". But taking this a bit further, I've never, ever seen any corporate bod with a job title that ends in "doer". And I think that's because in my large corporate world, entire legions of people turn up to work and get paid without doing much productive at all, and the business cruises along almost entirely on inertia, scale and past effort.

      And this slightly challenges the concept of the "productivity suite". Microsoft Office gives people tools to be unproductive. Even my bretheren in my employer's bloated digital team don't qualify. Yes, they maintain a couple of apps, and support the dull and undynamic web front end of a very basic range of customer offers. And there's almost a hundred people. All sitting around in a funky office, fashionably divided up into groups officially titled "tribes", having endless "agile" meetings, and blustering about devops, moaning about scrum masters and the rest. These "digital natives" don't even maintain our core systems or CRM......

  16. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Eye...

    ...told you so!

    Zog passim

    (continued on Page 94)

  17. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    As happens with most cultists, you've been had

    Enough said.

    (I do own an iPad, in case you pictured me as a rabbid anti-fruit nutter; it's pretty cool)

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I've "inherited" an iPad from one ex-mangler. It just sits in my drawer playing with itself whilst I use my laptop for work.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      "playing with itself"

      Can't get the mental picture out now!

  19. Wibble
    WTF?

    Not just iPads... what about the MacBooks

    Sometimes one gets the feeling of being boiled like the proverbial frog.

    The tablets are good for reading, little games, casual browsing, etc. Nice for travel.

    For that work thing you need a proper windows (small W) machine with mouse and lots of screen space. Just like a Mac. Except they keep dicking around with them making them harder to use (is it the world's worst keyboard yet), less expandable (that data's mine and I need to swap it to another machine if this one dies, e.g. like a SSD/hard drive) and utterly dongletastic due to the missing connectivity. We don't need "thin". And we don't need to spend north of £6k for a bit of storage...

    FFS Apple, pull yer head out of your arse.

  20. Wade Burchette

    Bendy iPad

    That bendy iPad reminded me of this video about Apple's sorry product engineering.

  21. Joe Gurman

    Can't imagine why I couldn't read much of Mr. Gassée's blog posts

    Could it have something to do with his being part of the group of bungling fools who very nearly flushed Apple down the toilet, or his amazingly high self esteem, or his "organizing" an outfit that couldn't produce an OS for an architecture that was crying out for it, despite sizable chunks of VC cash (just not the 3x evaluation he was asking)? Or could it be because his one Apple product was that 21 lb.+ "Portable?"

    In hindsight, Mister Gassée has been a sleeping policeman on the path to modern personal computing.

  22. pisquee

    Dell

    For me at work is a good spec Dell desktop system, with 3 monitors for (mainly) Photoshop design work, for travel/home is a Dell Latitude 11 tablet, which mainly is used in laptop mode with the battery keyboard - serves me well for my needs - couldn't imagine actually trying to use IOS for actual work - it pains me enough trying to use it on the odd occasion I need to used my wife's iPhone.

    (I run a design company, so art work have a few Dell desktops with 3 monitor set ups we could call "mine" along with a few staff on Dell Venue/Latitude 11s too)

  23. Lee D Silver badge

    I have had, as part of my job, an iPad sitting on my desk for four years.

    In that time, I've been required to deploy hundreds of them, try to convince people to use them, make their use as simple and seamless as possible, and try to make people use them as desktop replacements.

    After four years - they've been consigned to the scrapheap, used for nothing more than touch- and throwaway tasks (that you could do on ANY device).

    And throughout those four years, despite having the EXACT setup that I pushed to my users (so it wasn't like I was making them do things I hadn't tried myself), I can tell you what my iPad spent its time doing:

    95% viewing local CCTV. 5% crashing.

    That's all it was good for.

    And literally it has never made a 24 hour period watching three H264 streams without falling over. Not just the app, but the whole pad... resetting, Apple logo, back to lock screen, have to log in again, run the app again, set up the cameras again, etc.

    And if you do four cameras, it falls over immediately.

    This was despite being replaced with newer models as we got them, being updated religiously, being managed sensibly, being on a good network, getting up to iOS 12.1 or whatever it is at the moment.

    It literally can't even sit there doing nothing but decoding deliberately down-coded video to put on it's screen. It can't replicate what a £30 CCTV monitor can do. Don't even try to get any work done on it any more.

    In that time, I've had two technicians also given similar devices for their own personal use / study / experimentation. One literally has never used it. One took it home for two nights, and used it a couple of times when doing IT audits as a portable notepad (using Google Docs / Sheets!).

    Honestly, I can't come up with a use-case for them.

    P.S. I work in education. And that's an entire industry that's fabricate unrealistic use-cases for iPads over anything else. They're not fit for our purposes.

    In the end, we replaced them all with Chromebooks so people could get some real work done. And Huawei Mediapads - which are half the price and twice as useful. But in those 4 years, there's been a £10 (literally, no exaggeration) Android tablet stuck in the window of my office door, streaming video and other content 24 hours a day. Without fail.

    It took me four years to convince everyone else of what I told them originally. These things aren't computers. They're toys. Flashy expensive toys. I tried my professional best to turn them into an even vaguely useful tool. I couldn't even succeed for one task myself. Everything they ever did well? Other devices did better. And cheaper.

  24. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Horses for courses

    I have been using an iPad Pro (the large one) as a machine to travel with for the last 18 months or so.

    It works very well as a writing machine, a very decent battery life (best at time of purchase) and I use it to run presentations (occasionally) and Mathematica and Mathcad (with a net connection) most of my working day when I am out of the office. It is lightish and compact.

    No it does not come close to replacing my laptop (an MBP) or desktop (Mac which also has a rather hefty Linux cluster as backend for all major computation work). It is good - not perfect - the cult of the touchscreen is frankly irritating, even when you are used to it, but its other strengths make up for that.

    It is reliable and I don't see the complaints about crashes replicated in my own experience. In my own time I do watch moves on it as well as using Affinity for photo editing.

    On reflection I don't regret the purchase, and as a business expense (I am a major share holder so I have a direct financial interest) it has been worth the money. A MacBook Air (used by two of my colleagues, the other uses a lightweight Linux machine) would do the job in some ways rather better, but not as convenient when travelling.

    So horses for courses, but YES it is a useful business machine in my context. Horses for courses, if it doesn't work for you then fine, but don't damm it based on inappropriate use cases.

  25. clyde666

    all about marketing

    Have you noticed on how many TV programmes the actor's "computer" displays a big lit up apple ?

    And I'm talking about situations in a normal home or normal workplace, where most real people would have bought the cheapest laptop that the big shed store had in stock that day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all about marketing

      yep boils my pi$$

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Both

    Desktop as main work machine

    Laptop for site visits (it lacks the grunt of desktop, but can be invaluable to debug weird issues that cannot be reproduced off site)

  27. Tim99 Silver badge
    Gimp

    Devil’s advocate

    OK, I’ll take your downvotes. A bit of self aggrandisement before I start - I have been professionally involved with IT and technology since 1971; have written shrink-wrap, not for profit, business and scientific software running on a variety of OSs; been an enterprise architect; run consulting and technical businesses, and have chartered status in one of the basic sciences.

    I am retired, but help out as a volunteer supporting and teaching retirees “computing”. Most of the retirees that I see don’t want, or can’t cope with, a traditional computer; an iPad does almost all of what they want. Some other users who may find that an iPad is all the computing that they need might include artists, photographers, some multimedia workers, writers, IT server and website support staff, researchers and managers.

    Recently what I have found surprising is the number of small businesses that are run on a mobile phone, often with a tablet too; and the number of younger people who (even on a normal computer) run in a “modal screen” environment where they are mostly doing something in a full screen, with a minimal use of cut & paste.

    I do have an iPad Pro, along with an iPhone X, a 2011 vintage iMac, and a couple of small BSD/*NIX servers (as toys). The iMac runs High Sierra, and occasionally Windows and Linux in VMs, but I probably spend most of my time reading the paper on it. I volunteer as a technical assessor for our national accreditation authority, so it is still useful for looking at very large documents and spreadsheets. The iMac is not supported for Mojave, and if it dies I might consider replacing it with a large screen and a Mac Mini; but I have some difficulty justifying this as I have found that I can do much of what I want on the iPad in a split screen with a Bluetooth keyboard, so echoing the iPad to a large screen with an HDMI cable might work OK *for me*. iPads are not aimed at *most* of El Reg’s readership.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Devil’s advocate

      iPads are not aimed at *most* of El Reg’s readership.

      that is true, but the trouble is the bleedy things are being forced on poor everyday staff and they aren't fit for purpose, compared to a laptop or desktop in most cases!

      1. Walter Bishop Silver badge

        Re: Devil’s advocate

        @ Anonymous says: > iPads are not aimed at *most* of El Reg’s readership ..

        The cynicism demonstrated in this discussion is much strong :]

        > the trouble is the bleedy things are being forced on poor everyday staff and they aren't fit for purpose, compared to a laptop or desktop in most cases!

        That is true and I for one don't want to access an electrical device when I'm going walkabout or listen in to other peoples one sided phone call.

  28. Tim99 Silver badge

    As I tried to suggest, some of the staff who have “real” computers forced on them may not need them and don’t like them. The bleedy things may not be ideal, but might just be OK. Unfortunately, I suspect that a significant proportion of staff that “need” to produce complex highly-formatted Word documents, and huge business analysis spreadsheets will soon be gone from many medium-sized businesses. In some large businesses even sales staff are being automated out as well as admin people. Quite what society is going to do when perhaps 40-70% of these jobs have gone is not clear to me. A friend has suggested that there will be plenty of personal care and support work available as Western countries’ populations age. I am not happy about my thoughts, as I used to be the rotten bastard who got decide what kit was issued to most of the technical staff in a very large national public utility - I also suspect that many of these jobs (including some of the ones I had) will also be restructured, simplified and automated out.

    1. Walter Bishop Silver badge

      Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work

      @ Tim99 says > I suspect that a significant proportion of staff that “need” to produce complex highly-formatted Word documents ..

      Not to mention printing them out so as they can send them to a different department where someone else can type it back in again ..

  29. Annihilator
    Alert

    Bend Test

    I watched the link to the Bend Test video, and frankly have been freaked out by the way the guy uses a Stanley/utility knife. Around the 1:55 mark, cuts towards himself and his fingers. I'm still wincing and tensing just thinking about it.

    Not to mention all the scraping of metal on metal later on (2:46).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUBsxCcJeUc

    1. Kimo

      Re: Bend Test

      (holds up left index finger)

      Wanna know how I got these scars?

      ...and a lesson from my 15-year-old self in tool safety that I will never forget.

  30. SVV Silver badge

    iPads can be brilliant for productivity

    Simply persuade the senior managers and executives to work on them, build them some flashy looking custom information dashboard apps, and explain that these are premium level products aimed mainly at the executive level, and that less prestigious lower level employees are still best served by desktops.

    These people will thereafter get much less done, and therefore be less able to interfere with the actual getting the real work done by the actually productive employees.

  31. Sherrie Ludwig

    Great article

    I am a retailer of not-computer things, but use computers for business and play. I was very interested in this article and the articles referenced in the links, on marketing and brand positioning. the insights are applicable to many products.

  32. OldSoCalCoder

    What's a computer?

    At the beginning of the year Apple ran an ad where some 12yo girl finishes a productive day of doing stuff on her iPad, and asks 'what's a computer'? I thought to myself ah - so if you're a 12 year old girl the iPad is your go-to compute platform. I guess that means anyone who's further in age than a 12 year old and has a job where they actually need to get something done should use a real computer.

    I tried replacing my 6 year old Samsung tablet with a newer Win 10 tablet. The cpu on the Win 10 tablet is forever stuck trying to install a (seemingly) infinite number of Win 10 updates as to be completely unusable. The Samsung tablet won't update at all but does a great job of running YouTube, a Kindle reader app and a wifi analyzer app. That's all I want it to do and it does exactly what I want.

  33. Dan 55 Silver badge

    USB support as good as Bluetooth support

    I do, however, need occasionally to attach external storage over USB, something the iPad can't do

    For some reason, when Apple finally does implement a connection standard for an iDevice, they nobble it in software so it probably won't do what all other devices do anyway.

    And it's not as if it's difficult for iOS since they have the drivers for macOS. They just want to lock you in a bit more.

  34. 96percentchimp

    Get your hot desk...but don't be late

    Hot desking is the other reason why bean counters love laptops. You can reduce the desk count and office size, and make your employees pack their desk into a locker every night. A tidy workplace is a productive workplace in the bean counter's mind.

    There's a side benefit too: if your team size is slightly larger than the number of desks, then everyone will turn up early (or at least on time) to make sure they're not stuck on the Billy No Mates desk with a different team (the horror! the horror!).

    Ensure there's always a slight variation in the number of workers on site at any time, and you have the perfect operant conditioning environment to encourage a hunger for the right desk.

    That's my experience as a recent freelance in two large corporates. I'm not sure what problem iPads solve, other than 'not having shiny things'.

  35. john heyes

    Ah,the tech world speaks... all desperate to work on complex nuclear equations whilst project planning the new kitchen for the wife at the same time,popping over to thrash out the latest article for the Reg or whatever.. The Ipad won’t let me do all these things simultaneous you all wail.Worse nasty Apple wont let me bugger with its system by downloading and running weird shit.

    Look guys it is what it is.. for lots of us ordinary business types it’s a choice between lugging the windows behemoth round the world in the briefcase,along with all the other shit required on the plane,train &and in the woefully comms free hotel rooms in Zimbabwe or wherever,whilst trying to sell the companies products to clients and remain in touch with the Bozos from head office who keep sending f*cking e mail all night demanding face time calls etc- or using the Ipad - ‘fraid Apple & the IPhone wins every time...

    You see it’s horses for courses...

    would I use it back in the office?No, but that’s not what it’s for. Apart from that,sure you guys are all right!

  36. Step'n'Fixit

    ... for the rest of them ...

    Apple has a secret savior in most of the world, wherever computer illiteracy can or will be identified as a disability, as iProducts are usable by many who are simply unable to master real information technology.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing you have said is true

    Neither your comments about the IPad Pro nor your comments about the Microsoft Surface are valid. They might have hints of truth, but you have just pulled your antecdotes from social media and composed a click bait article. The iPad Pro is a very powerful tool, I use the cloud and the files app to move files that I need in and out of the tablet on an hourly basis. Just because it doesn’t support external strorage the way a FEW would like it to — DOES NOT MATTER IN THE LEAST.

    The Surface Go is an absolute mighty might of a little laptop. If you are doing any kind of home., school or office worlk, it will function perfectly fine forever. Of course these machines are not suitable for many hard core tasks! Geee! And Duh! Thats what I have an HP Z640 workstation for. The right tool for the right job!

  38. Ta2025

    Nothing you have said is true

    Neither your comments about the IPad Pro nor your comments about the Microsoft Surface are valid. They might have hints of truth, but you have just pulled your antecdotes from social media and composed a click bait article. The iPad Pro is a very powerful tool, I use the cloud and the files app to move files that I need in and out of the tablet on an hourly basis. Just because it doesn’t support external strorage the way a FEW would like it to — DOES NOT MATTER IN THE LEAST.

    The Surface Go is an absolute mighty might of a little laptop. If you are doing any kind of home., school or office worlk, it will function perfectly fine forever. Of course these machines are not suitable for many hard core tasks! Geee! And Duh! Thats what I have an HP Z640 workstation for. The right tool for the right job!

    1. Walter Bishop Silver badge

      Re: Nothing you have said is true

      @Ta2025 said: > Neither your comments about the IPad Pro nor your comments about the Microsoft Surface are valid

      You accidentally posted the same comment as Anonymous ..

  39. OffBeatMammal

    I love the form factor of my iPad Mini. Well, almost... as I'm getting older I find reading on the screen sometimes challenging so I keep thinking I want to get a newer, bigger screen device (and I love the idea of the Pencil as I prefer to scribble notes in a meeting vs type) but ... the new hardware fragility is a huge concern (I spend several days a week on-set for TV productions, and I commute on a motorbike... the iPad Mini fits perfectly in an inside pocket on my jacket!) and the software is incredibly, and deliberately restrictive...

    https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9

    Tim Cook is obsessed with the quarterly stock price, and Jony Ive needs adult supervision ... while I've had bad experiences with the Surface line of devices, maybe the "Go" is that middle point I need (I used a Toshiba Encore2 for a while, and that was one of the best Windows pen/touch devices I've used, but the Windows app ecosystem was a letdown)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019