Don’t Even Get Me Started

Instagram still refuses to make an iPad app

"Not likely any time soon, though nothing is written in stone."

Adam Mosseri, Instagram VP of product

NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Craigslist — goddamn Craigslist — caved and finally released an iOS app today, 11 years after Apple ushered in the App Store.

Not taking myself too seriously, I tweeted the momentous news (I wasn't the only one holding my breath for an official Craigslist app, right?) and figured why not tag Instagram VP of product Adam Mosseri, and plead for the umpteenth time for an iPad version of Instagram. If Craigslist gave in after 11 years, surely Instagram can give the people an iPad app, nine years after Steve Jobs introduced the tablet.

Mosseri's reply: "Not likely any time soon, though nothing is written in stone." Lameee.

I take real pointless pride in that I am a day one Instagram user. Instagram launched on October 6, 2010 and I was there on the first day posting lo-fi pics in all their 320 x 320 resolution glory.

Behold, my first post on Instagram's inauguration:

Four likes in nine years. Zero comments. Shared years before there was a way to add a location, tag a friend, or post in an aspect ratio other than a square. Back when Instagram was still pure. Before it became infested with sponsored content, cheap memes, and thirsty influencers. A time when Instagram was just a place to share photos, not a cesspool that threatens our mental health and democracy.

As an OG, a real OG user — one apparently too dumb to even think of getting the @raymond or @ray handle and instead picking @sourlemons (what was I thinking?) — I felt if anyone could make a modest request to the head of Instagram for an iPad version of the app, it's me.

So I did:

Mosseri, who is pretty active on Twitter, shut me down, but also left the door open. Although he said an iPad version of Instagram is "not likely anytime soon" he also hedged saying, "nothing is written in stone." Having waited almost 10 years for an iPad app, I'd like to imagine Mosseri laughing maniacally as he tapped the last part of the tweet on his iPhone. (Mosseri seems to be a guy and I think he can take this joke.)

A decade of resistance — When the iPad launched in 2010, every developer rushed to create an tablet version. Over time, apps coded for iPhone apps were quickly transitioned from displaying in "2x" zoomed-in mode on iPads and redesigned from the ground up to take advantage of larger iPad screens. Every major app except Instagram.

Instagram has resisted making an iPad app for almost a decade. Even after Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram to Facebook in 2012, the company has not leveraged Zuckeberg's infinite resources to make an iPad app.

What's the excuse? — The iPad is the most popular tablet bar none. Apple literally squeezed Android tablets out of the market. Sure, Samsung and Huawei still sell Android tablets, and Amazon's cheap fire tablets are technically Android tablets (they run FireOS, which is a forked version based off on Android open source). But any true iPad competitor like Google's well-received Nexus tablets went to the graveyard years ago and likely won't return. Google's attempts to revive non-iPad tablets as laptop replacements — first with the Android-powered Pixel C and then as the Chrome OS-powered Pixel Slate — both failed spectacularly. The tablets were overpriced and terrible.

Mosseri and Instagram's reluctance to make an iPad app is getting tired. Whether or not people are using their iPads or not, sales for Apple's are still increasing. The iPad remains the top-selling tablet worldwide and iPad sales grew 4% year-over-year in Q4 2019, according to Strategy Analytics.

Ignoring the demand for an iPad app — it's estimated about 360 million iPads have been sold since 2010 — seems like bad business, especially if the company's trying to push harder into converting posts and Instagram Stories into actual shopping sales.

It's really time — I pray I'm not still begging for an iPad app in 2029. I feel compelled to not let this go until it happens. Each time I have tweeted about wanting an iPad version of Instagram (see 2012, 2018, 2019), the people have rallied in favor of it. This isn't just one tech guy whining.

Absolutely, making Instagram safer, healthier (i.e. hiding likes), and more insightful are priorities. But also, it's time for an iPad app. Instagram, let's not make everyone wait another decade.