We’d heard back in 2012 that Apple CEO Tim Cook spent 80-90 percent of his time on an iPad, but the WSJ reports today that Cook thinks that’s the way it should be for all of us – and he believes the partnership with IBM can help make that vision a reality.

“There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be like that. Imagine enterprise apps being as simple as the consumer apps that we’ve all gotten used to. That’s the way it should be” …

The plan is to collaborate on developing workplace apps that provide a friendly front-end (provided by Apple) to big-data analytics (provided by IBM).

Apple and IBM said the ambition is to reimagine how people work by connecting securely the insights gleaned from big data analytics with an easy-to-use app on smartphones and tablets that consumers are familiar with.

IBM Chief Executive Virginia Rometty said Apple engineers are able “to take the complex and render it simple.”

The two companies intend to create more than 100 apps together, with the first of them available in the fall. As an example of the value of packaging sophisticated analytics data into an easy-to-understand front-end, Rometty said that one of the first apps launched would be aimed at airlines.

One of the first apps under the new initiative helps airline pilots determine the appropriate amount of fuel to carry on a flight. This requires not only crunching data but presenting it in an easy-to-understand way on the pilot’s tablet computer.

We’ve already seen a flurry of airlines, including American, United, BBA and Jet Blue using iPads on the flight-deck, making this app a logical next step.

Cook said he could see a day when “everyone in every enterprise” has an iPad. The vision may be exaggerated, and I’m sure app developers would have some views on the practicalities of doing 80 percent of their work on iPads, but it does tend to underline my view that Apple has big expectations of the partnership.

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50 Responses to “Apple CEO Tim Cook says everyone should do 80 percent of their work on an iPad, just like him”

  1. oreomuncher says:

    Let me multitask effectively on it then Tim.


    • rogifan says:

      I work for a Fortune 50 company sitting at a computer screen every day. I don’t use multiple displays or extended desktop but am still incredibly productive. You can be productive on the iPad without needing to see two apps side by side. No human can truly multitask anyway.


      • shareef777 says:

        You don’t need multiple displays or extended desktops to multi-task. Having a dock is how you multitask. You can switch between apps on the fly (nano-seconds vs a couple seconds) and still have chat windows or other windows with information sitting on the side you can reference while working. It’s easy for Tim to say you can do most of your job on an iPad when you have a secretary that manages the trivial tasks for you (booking meetings, flights, and checking your tasks for the day).


      • The trivial tasks are going to be done by apps. AKA no more secretary. @markrlangston


    • If anything this new venture with IBM will likely spark the need for true multi-window multitasking. But the fact that Apple has been so successful without it doesn’t give them any compelling reason to change iOS.

      I’m sure when they do finally implement it it’ll be stunning like the rest of iOS.

      But look at this way, if a billionaire running a company as large as Apple can use an iPad for 80% of his workday then multitasking isn’t quite as necessary.


      • It’s probably coming anyway, but your statement “true multi-window multitasking” is pure nonsense. Multi-tasking is multi-tasking, multiple windows on the screen is just one small part of that or one way to achieve that.

        I find these kind of statements interesting because it’s a case of things “never being enough” for some people. The ability to switch between apps wasn’t “true” multitasking (except it was) then Apple added the ability for background processes to persist, but this still wasn’t “true” multitasking (except it was), and now we are talking about multiple windows.

        All this kind of talk really shows is how many people there are out there that use computers every day of the week that have no clue what actual multitasking is.

        The reality also, (as has been pointed out above and is pointed out whenever the issue comes up), is that no one can ever really do two things at once. It’s a myth. We should instead be talking only about productivity and ease of use in the way that they relate to specific work scenarios. But that’s boring, requires thought and analysis and excludes the use of handy buzzwords. So that ain’t happening, right?


    • I had 5 iPads. No, you cannot work on an iPad, or you can — BUT the experience is sooo bad. You cannot save files on your iPad, you don’t have a File browser, you cannot send whatever you like via email, or open whatever attachment via email. Working on an iPad it’s a burdeon. It’s great for media consumption but that’s that. Tim is a liar.


      • I’m sorry pal. I think we need to clarify here how iPad is the new computer, unlike the one we’re used to in the good old days (which now is running low on sales and mobility, and ease of use).

        It’s an understatement that you can’t save files in iPads – of course you can. You don’t have file browser, sure – because you don’t want (or need) that old paradigm. I’m not sure whether we can send whatever via email but sure you can open up almost anything as email attachments. And all of these are true with one thing – that you have the right app. And mobile apps are proliferating like mushrooms now, that you know.

        There will be new features coming for sure and i believe you will agree to the fact that iPad is a wonderful productivity platform if not just a device.

        And nope – Tim is not a liar. I did most of my work on my iPad (i’m a medical student). And many others will agree to.

        If you have the right app, that is.


      • iOS 8 solves all of the problems you mentioned


  2. Shaun Legacy says:

    It’s a nice idea but if you work for a huge corporation or a government agency, the ability to get programing changed to work on anything other than a decade old Windows operating system is nearly impossible to accomplish.


  3. I also do much of my work on my iPads as well. I think that in time and with some updates to how the iPad multitasks (as well as some other much needed functions) the majority of people may very well use iPads for the majority of their work. However, I can not overstate how much I rely on my Macs to do work that iPad just can not do yet. Given how thin and light their MacBooks have become, it’s not the burden it once was to carry them around. That keyboard and Magic Trackpad are awesome and I love using them as much as the touchscreen, without any compromise in my typing. Not everyone has a job that requires multiple devices though and streamlining the amount of devices means (to me) doing more with less in an easier fashion. It will be interesting to see what initiatives Apple takes on in the future to ensure this becomes a reality for it’s users.


  4. platonicmoney says:

    Tim Cook is delusional.


    • crichton007 says:

      I woud;n’t say delusional but I don’t see 80% of work being a realistic goal now or in the near future. I know couldn’t get more than 30% (at most) of my work done on an iPad and even then I’d be jumping from my MacBook to an iPad a lot just to get it to that number.


      • You are not a typical enterprise customer then. The majority of jobs in any organisation involve apps that already exist in great numbers on the iPad (word processing, calendaring, scheduling), and the only ones that don’t are the enterprise specific “in-house” stuff, which is exactly what this partnership is about fixing.


      • crichton007 says:

        You’re probably right. I work with a lot of VMs controlling desktop and/or server software. I also work with data in databases manipulating data given to me in spreadsheets and importing that data into said database. A lot of what I do involves desktop software or software that is much faster and easier to use with a mouse and keyboard than a touchscreen.


      • The 80% would really depend on what is required; take a sales representation where most of the work is done on the road – imagine you work for Cocoa Cola going to supermarkets, using the LTE/Wifi iPad with an application which links back to the supply chain to check inventory in real time so that you as the sales representative can give an accurate ETA on when stock will be arriving and whether it can be supplied by a local warehouse or need to be bought in from out of town. 80% of their work day will be going around doing something like that with the remaining 20% done maybe at home on their computer writing up a report etc. that requires more screen real-estate, keyboard, mouse etc.

        Another good one recently was an application that turned an iPad into a POS terminal – imagine you’re running a store, have the three of them at front counter, all the transactions getting sent into the cloud, end of the day you get the cloud to number crunch and send back the information to your work computer in your office – again, 80% of what you’ll be doing is on the iPad.

        Now I know some are worried that “they’re taking our computers away!” but the reality is that for the vast majority of enterprise customers their computers are nothing more than dumb terminals – the bank I do my banking with has computers that act as little more than internet kiosks to employees to interact with their backend infrastructure. The iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Pro etc. will always be here – they just will be a niche for those who want one with a large section of society happy with having an iPad – I was at Westpac and overheard an elderly lady talk about how she does all her online banking using the iPad. I don’t know about any of you guys but that is pretty cool that an 85 year old grandma is picking up technology and embracing with the sort of each that even my parents some times struggle at.


  5. Kevin Noah says:

    Tried it with the iPad of a friend for 2 weeks. After this little test, I still prefer my MacBook Pro. It is just not the same. Typing is much faster with a real keyboard and multitasking works much better as oreomuncher wrote.


  6. When Tim Cook says stupid things like that he sounds as delusional and out of touch as Barrack Obama. Time to get out of your Cupertino bubble Tim!


  7. As a college student, I’ve written some papers on my iPad and it’s ok but nothing beats my Macbook Air as it is almost as light as my iPad 2, plus I can multitask and it’s a lot easier to type on a physical keyboard. If I only had a desktop than I’d feel differently about this, I like to use my iPad for notes and media consumption.


  8. Tim is not delusional for saying this, he’s trying to sell a product and change the way people think of tablets, that’s not being delusional, that’s being smart, that’s what Steve did many times.


  9. PMZanetti says:

    I’m sure 80% of employees out there could do the 80%.

    I’m in that 20% that has multiple devices/monitors in front of me, essential for work productivity.


  10. I agree that everybody *should* be able to do 80% of their work on an iPad, but it just isn’t currently possible. The lack of full keyboard support makes the iPad a lousy productivity device.


  11. danbridgland says:

    “There are a thousand no’s for every yes”

    Well that’s pretty easy to verse on an iPad. No?


  12. I spend at least 80% of my day job computer time on an iPad. I use a Belkin keypad when I’m at my desk. Some task require my Mac, but it’s moving more and more to my iPad. I can live there mosts of the time.


  13. If I spent only 20% of my time working on a laptop, I would not have a job. I am an iOS developer and I cannot write code on an iPad.


  14. I’ve written stuff on my iPad, using an external keyboard, and it’s a pain in the ass. You’re constantly fighting the touch screen interface vs the already tried and true keyboard shortcuts we’ve become used to using. It’s a horrible experience.

    As for pilots using an IBM app to calculate fuel… You’ve got to be kidding me. Airline pilots don’t calculate fuel. Their dispatchers or flight planners do. “…Presenting it in an easy-to-understand way…”? The very nature of an airline pilot’s job requires dealing with complexity. And besides all that, these apps already exist. AOPA and the Foreflight people should be adding the functionality to their apps anyhow.

    Seriously… Sounds like Tim is taking this “Reality Distortion Field” thing to a whole new level. Sigh.


    • Yes but they are flying a plane with 100’s of people, I am sure they take the time to double check everything that is done for them.

      lol Because they deal with complexity we should not try and find a way to make an app that is simpler to use? You know, so they have more time to actually deal with the things that are complex that cant be simplified. Should we make it complex for them to enter the plane too since their already deal with complexity? :P

      Some of your thinking is a bit backwards.


    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      The airline pilots I know definitely do calculate fuel. It’s their necks and their responsibility, and they make the final decision about how much to carry.


  15. acrdan says:

    I have the impression you did not read the article, just the title. Like a lot of titles around it is misleading…

    Mr. Cook said: “Imagine enterprise apps being as simple as the consumer apps that we’ve all gotten used to. That’s the way it should be.”

    I understand that he is basically saying that in order to be PC free we should have enterprise apps that are as intuitive and approachable as the apps we use today almost all the time in our iDevices. If you are going to modify the iPad to serve the software of the PC, you are going to end up with a PC, but if you modify the software of the PC to work on the iPad, then you could do a lot more without a PC. This is happening, and I’m enjoying it.

    I’m a math professor at an university, and I have to say that I’m very impressed with how much work I do in my iPad 4th generation today, compared with what was possible 2 or 3 years ago. My MacBook Pro (mid 2009) is having a well deserved rest. And the desktop have become an entertainment system in the living room.


  16. i spend 80 percent of my time on iPad, and its not even for work! I am addicted to it. I have no reason to look elsewhere on my free time except my iPad. I get a little sick thinking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ribbon cutting sounds kind of tough with an iPad.


  18. iPad? i just use my iPhone… it SERIOUSLY increases my off-computer productivity.


  19. Well, no. I can’t imagine a world where an ipad could replace my 27″ display with desktop PC running zbrush, maya, and photoshop. The ipad doesn’t even have a Wacom digitiser in it, so how could it ever be used for pro work?


    • RP says:

      If you work in those fields as well as many other fields including an office worker, a desktop is far more practical. But for management, I can see the iPad as being vital in today’s work space.


  20. RP says:

    More and more people use mobile devices far more than computers.Apple and Google are continuing to forge forward in that respect, leaving Microsoft, further and further behind. Like Blackberry before it, a business has look beyond today’s golden goose and not put all those eggs in one basket. The lead is tentative. Complacency is a large company’s fox


  21. Enterprise software that is as well done as consumer software. Wow, that would be awesome.


  22. simonfuller2012 says:

    jeez i can’t even upload a CV to a job site on my iPad. The guy is delusional as others have said. Give the pad a micro SD slot and a file browser and he might have something to yawp on about.


  23. drtyrell969 says:



  24. I read the article, and watched the Virginia Rometty – Tim a Cook interview online. Though I don’t use an iPad for a majority of my work, that is changing (I’m using it now) as my company deploys BYOD applications and approves the use of apps running in a secure enclave. Regarding Mr. Cook’s comments, he may be using (dogfooding) several of the pending 100+ apps being developed for the IBM collaboration. And he has access to private APIs as well as to many talent developers and designers. I don’t think his comments delusional. It could be that he has access to things we don’t…yet!


  25. i personally use a 13 inch macbook pro as my daily carry and am trying to move to an iPad but it is so hard to use.


  26. rettun1 says:

    As a college student, I used my iPad as much as I could during the semester. Taking notes in class, type papers, research, email, etc. the only time I had to use a desktop was to print, because we had no AirPrint-ers on campus. I’d say 80% is a good estimate for what I used


  27. I have a mac mini with dual 24 inch monitors, a 13 inch MacBook pro, an iPad Retina and an iPad mini and they are all best at certain jobs and not as good at others. The one that can do everything isn’t the desktop or the iPads it’s the MacBook Pro and I really can’t see that changing anytime soon. That doesn’t mean I want to give up the iPads or I’ll stop buying them it just means I don’t want to use a Swiss army knife instead of my Snap On toolkit for a big job unless I really really have to.


  28. patstar5 says:

    Didn’t microsoft say that 90%+ of people who own an ipad also own a pc/mac? Well I am not even using ipad 2 anymore. Super, super slow, lags everywhere. Probably need to restore it. Well I love my dell venue 11 pro. Great for multitasking. Looks like apple is going to copy windows multitasking, I don’t thin microsoft will be happy about that. Whatever happened of the product that apple is suppose to reveal that bridges gap between ipad and macbook air?


  29. So XCode for iPad is coming?


  30. Andrew Love says:

    For the average executive who spends the majority of their day reviewing documents or responding emails this is probably a fair percentage. But for a jack-of-all-trades IT guy I do 80 percent of my work on my Mac Air running Parallels for Win7. And then I do 20 percent of my work on my iPad/iPhone which is mostly email and taking notes at meetings. I also try to make sure that my “go to” apps for the iPad synch to my laptop (e.g. Clear, Things, Fantastical, etc…)


  31. Skaertus Ron says:

    Two questions then:

    1. Why should I pay US$1,000+ for a Mac if an iPad could handle it all?

    2. What about the 20% of the work that can’t be done with an iPad? Should I carry two devices around with me?

    It doesn’t make sense. I can do 100% of my work with a real computer, either a PC or a Mac. Even if the iPad could handle 80% of my work (which it cannot), it still wouldn’t be enough.