I recently grabbed an iPad Pro 9.7, and the new Logitech Create keyboard case for it. It’s nearly the best little laptop / tablet I’ve ever owned, because the way it handles multitasking both works and keeps you focused on whatever main task you should be focused on. Of course, it works best with apps that have been built with multitasking in mind, but you can still switch between multiple apps easily enough where it just sort of works. However, there are unfortunately a few deal-breakers that prevent it from being my new computer.
The main one is that iOS assumes that you never need to connect to physical media. Apple sells both a USB and SD Card adapter, but they’re really only focused on connecting as a way to import images or movies (although the USB connector can also work for connecting MIDI keyboards and MIDI controller devices for music, which is cool).
Unfortunately, that still leaves tons of use case scenarios on the table where you still need to have a regular computer around and an iPad Pro alone won’t suffice. For example, last Wednesday night, I played some rock and roll with my little jam band of friends in Austin. I recorded the entire 3 hour session on my Zoom H4N audio recorder. The H4N is not a wi-fi capable device and saves all it’s recordings to an SD Card. I can use Apple’s SD Card adapter to connect the SD Card to my iPad Pro, but doing this simply opens up an image import dialog and there is no way to see, hear, playback, or copy over the files on that SD Card.
The only way for me to get that audio onto my iPad is to first upload it to a computer, then either sync it over iTunes or load it onto iCloud or some other cloud service so I can access it via the iPad.
This is just one failed use case, but there are many others. We all have lots of data backed up on multiple storage devices that aren’t in the cloud and aren’t images. Currently there is no way to connect that data to an iPad Pro without going through a computer.
This is stupid. Apple, you need to fix this if you are serious about making iPads the future of computing. If it’s just marketing and you’re too busy thinking about building connected cars, then you can ignore my recommendation that you fix this and allow the ability to access external storage and all data types via some sort of file manager.