Windows 10: a confession from an iOS traitor

It is a new year and time for something entirely new.

Photography is a hobby of mine. When we travel or when I go to photo outings, I like to bring my iPad with me and do some basic post-processing before I get home. The problem is: the mobile version of Adobe Lightroom is horrible.

Despite advancements in performance on the iPad, Adobe has failed to deliver a version of Lightroom that supports the following features that I consider must have:

  1. Import straight from my camera SD card into Lightroom,
  2. Metadata editing, including bulk update,
  3. Share and reuse my desktop Lightroom presets,
  4. Bulk publish to Facebook, Flickr, and 500px

I don’t know whether these limitations are due to Adobe issues, Apple restrictions on 3rd party iOS apps, or some combination of both. Frankly, I no longer care. Over the past couple of years, I got fed up waiting for a complete version of Adobe Lightroom to come to iOS.

Ever since Steve Jobs died, Apple hasn’t done anything new and exciting. They appear to be comfortable milking their installed base, which may last for awhile and that’s ok. Long term, however, Apple needs to do some soul-searching.

If iPad Pro is meant to be a laptop replacement, it is far from it. Unable to run full versions of professional apps, including Apple’s own, it remains a “mobile” device with dumbed-down apps. Apple plays a huge part in this dumbing down of apps by imposing unnecessary restrictions on apps. Meanwhile, some benchmarks show iPad Pro outperforming laptops. So, of course, the hardware is capable.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been making some good progress lately and has been showing some innovative new devices. One certain advantage Windows 10 has is its ability to run the full and unmolested version of Adobe Lightroom. So, I decided to get a cheap Windows 10 tablet to replace my iPad and give it a chance.

The transition from iPad to a Windows 10 tablet was not difficult. The cloud services that I use are already cross-platform: Facebook, 500px, Dropbox, Google Drive, WordPress, Evernote, iTunes, and Amazon Music. Most apps, in fact, aren’t even platform-specific anymore.

Windows 10 is not your dad’s Windows XP anymore. It is a mature, reliable OS that builds upon long and bumpy history. However, the experience is not nearly as refined as iOS or MacOS.

While Windows 10 may appear to be touch-friendly on the “surface” (if you excuse the pun), the beauty is only skin deep. All you need to do is right click on a window title bar or come upon something advanced in the settings to be taken back to 1995.

Not everything works without a mouse or a trackpad which is why every Windows 10 tablet out there requires an “optional” keyboard cover. Granted, Microsoft did a good job making the most commonly used features touch-friendly but a company their size really could’ve overhauled the whole OS.

So, how is Lightroom?

I was expecting it to be sluggish on the Atom processor with only 4 Gigs of RAM. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very usable. My goal is to have a lightweight tablet with a long battery life to have on me when we travel. I wanted a more flexible version of the iPad to import photos and do some basic post-processing as well as writing. This Asus tablet meets these needs just fine.

What about MacOS?

When it comes to tablets, it is Microsoft that has it right, not Apple. I am happy to sacrifice power for portability and battery life. On the higher end of the computing spectrum, however, I am not as convinced quite yet. I still need a machine at home with plenty of storage and horsepower to handle my entire Lightroom catalog.

I have no intention to trade my year old MacBook Pro for a Windows 10 machine quite yet. If anything, MacBook Pro continues to be one of the best hardware platforms to run Windows 10 on. That transition, however, doesn’t make any sense. On the desktop, I am more interested in Surface Studio than another laptop, but it will be awhile before I get one.