From day one, the iPad to me never felt like a device purely for consumption. As half the tech industry fell over itself to claim you could ‘never do real work on an iPad’, I saw everyone from artists to technicians doing real work on an iPad. What people really meant was that the iPad didn’t have a full version of Microsoft Word, because that is the only ‘real work’ in the whole world. Or something.

That said, I’ve always wanted to do more work on an iPad than I actually do. The big blocker for me has always been interaction. Simply put, the iPad is an ergonomic disaster for long-term ‘traditional’ work.

By this, I’m talking about the aforementioned ‘real work’ – the sort of thing most people do on a PC, which mostly involves staring at a screen, typing, and interacting with text-based screen content. Ergonomically, the best set-up for this is a display where your eyeline meets roughly its top third. You should be sitting straight in a chair, arms naturally bent and lightly resting on a flat surface, keyboard directly in front of you.

Laptops heavily compromise this set-up. If the keyboard is in the right place, you end up looking down towards the display, thereby placing unnecessary strain on your neck. That’s fine for occasional use, but isn’t good in the long term. This is easy to fix, though: at your permanent workspace, connect your laptop to an external display, keyboard, and pointing device.

Apple seems reluctant to take that final step with iPad. At best, you can bung the thing in a case, whereupon it becomes a sort-of laptop. In fact, it ends up with the interaction model Apple ridicules whenever it releases a new MacBook Pro and pushes back on demands for a touchscreen version. Check recent Apple keynotes, and you’ll see various Apple executives saying it’s not a good thing when you constantly have to lift your arm to prod a screen. And they’re right – yet this is exactly the interaction model Apple forces you into on iPad.

With iPadOS 13, there is the first step towards a solution: in Settings > Accessibility > Touch, you can turn on AssistiveTouch. Connect a mouse, and your iPad finally has pointer support, only it doesn’t really because the cursor isn’t a cursor – it’s a virtual finger. Use Apple’s Magic Mouse and none of the gestural stuff works. To scroll something, you have to drag the content, which soon gets tiring and tiresome on lengthy documents. (Ironically, if you’ve a mouse with a scroll wheel, that does work. The net result here is I’ve an ancient USB Labtec mouse that cost about ten quid that’s works better with the iPad than Apple’s expensive slippy white puck.)

Yet even if this feature was perfect, it still wouldn’t be enough. We need to be at the point where the iPad can mirror the laptop set-up I mentioned earlier. In the hand, it needs to be a full touchscreen device, as it is today. When docked in a keyboard case, it needs to ramp up pointer support, so you don’t have to touch the display nearly as often. But also iPad needs a mode where you can connect it up to a bunch of other kit and never interact with the screen at all.

I love the iPad. The 11in iPad Pro is the best Apple kit I have ever owned. But it does feel like Apple’s unnecessarily digging its heels in when it comes to user interaction, stopping iPad from making that final step towards being the computer for the rest of us.