Apple's iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are going to work together more closely than ever, using a set of technologies called Continuity and Handoff to let you start work on one device and automatically pick up where you left on another. More information will be shared via iCloud, so you can stop worrying about what data is stored where and instead access it from whatever you have at the moment. Tablet? Phone? Computer? The distinctions are blurring.
Except when they're not -- for some reason, Apple has a blind spot about the relationship between the services and apps on its iPhone and iPad. Specifically, it doesn't provide some apps on the iPad that exist for the iPhone.
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Apple's clear direction in the last few years, accelerated by iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, has been to treat computing and information as services available across all your devices, rather than start with the device as computers have done since they were invented. Yet it doesn't do that for some key services, including the new HealthKit-powered services meant provide a central portal for gathering and sharing your health information.
The beta HealthKit apps that Apple has shown so far for iOS 8 are iPhone-only. There is no iPad version. That's expanding the same disconnect that current iOS users experience with Passbook, Weather, Stocks, and Calculator.
It's a dumb disconnect, but I think I understand Apple's logic: Passbook, Weather, Stocks, and (in iOS 8) the HealthKit apps rely on real-time data, and of all of Apple's devices, the only one you're likely to have with you all the time and know is connected is the iPhone. It's portable, and you can have it in a pocket or strapped to you when in a train, on a treadmill, at the airport, in a lobby, and so on.
By contrast, most iPads sold -- about 90 percent -- are Wi-Fi-only models, so they can get such data only when connected to a Wi-Fi network, which means they can't be connected to real-time data most of the time. And they're not as portable as an iPhone, so chances are they're set down somewhere out of reach for whatever you're currently wanting to track.
To protect us from ourselves, Apple doesn't provide us real-time-oriented apps on our iPads. Even though the iPad is a perfect device for accessing and working with that data, whether real-time or stored.
(Calculator's omission on the iPad is, I suspect, due to a very different logic: An iPhone is roughly the size of a pocket calculator, so it makes sense to provide a digital version for the pocket-sized iPhone but not a larger-screen device like the iPad. I guess Apple has forgotten aboout desk calculators -- or that it has the Calculator app on the Mac.)
In Apple's connected, synced world, devices shouldn't matter for app availability
Apple's apparent rationales for not providing iPad versions of connected apps like Passbook and Weather are flawed, penalizing iPad users unnecessarily and contradicting the "connected fabric" direction the company has embarked on.
First, there are cellular iPads, so why are those devices not preinstalled with these apps? Because, I'm sure, Apple wants a consistent iPad experience more than it wants a consistent connected experience. That was always dubious logic, but it grows more dubious the more connected Apple makes its product ecosystem.
Second -- and the logical flaw that matters most -- is that Apple already has plenty of real-time connected apps on the iPad: Mail, Calendar, Reminders, FaceTime, Messages, Find My Friends, and Maps, for example. It doesn't make sense to exclude the others. If my iPad is not connected to the network, I know I won't get the current weather, just as I won't get the current email. But when I am connected, I should be able to check it. Why aren't both apps available? Apple doesn't seem to get that users know this. This disconnect makes even less sense with apps like HealthKit, which is designed to be not just a collector of health-related data but also a viewer, organizer, and sharer of it.