The post-PC era means our PCs and Macs just don’t get used the way they used to. Already my iPhone and iPad have taken on some responsibilities once assigned only to the Mac. Is the Mac as we know it doomed? Can we use an iPad instead?
Reality vs. TV Commercial
The implication in the commercial is that the iPad can be used for almost anything. The list in the 60-seconds of video is impressive.
There are engineers at an offshore wind farm using the iPad Air. Ditto for hikers on a mountain, helicopter rescue pilots, robotics enthusiasts, videographers, Sumo wrestler coaches, even marine biologist scuba divers use the iPad Air.
In the 60-second commercial I counted 16 different uses for the iPad Air that top what you can do with a Mac.
While I don’t doubt that the iPad Air is a capable device and mobility and size are an important aspect of its popularity, a television commercial is condensed and compressed reality which creates an image that is not reflective of reality.
As this graphic from The DogHouseDiaries displays, most of us use the iPad far differently than Apple’s suggested uses in the Poetry television commercial.
Of course, many of us may use the iPad in this way, as depicted by DogHouseDiaries, but that’s only part of the story.
Saying Goodbye To The Mac
Can the iPad Air actually set the stage for Mac users to say goodbye to our beloved device?
Yes. I think so. But not yet.
Actually, by my unofficial, unscientific estimate, about 80-percent of all I do on a Mac the iPad Air can do already; in some cases easier, in other cases with a change in workflow.
Email, website browsing, text, photos, movies, music and specific purpose apps make the iPad a very versatile device which can offload functionality previously reserved for the Mac.
An inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard puts writing on a near par with iMac or MacBook. The iPad Air’s larger screen size is competitive with any MacBook Air or MacBook Pro model, so screen real estate is less of an issue.
Where the Mac excels is in major productivity apps which don’t have iPad counterparts. These would include anything in Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft’s Office for Mac, and even Apple’s pro apps– Final Cut Pro X, Aperture, and Logic Pro X, among many others.
That tells me that the Mac isn’t going away anytime soon, but that both iPhone and iPad will gain capability and capacity that help to offload traditional work, projects, tasks, and workflow from Mac to iOS devices.
For a device– a platform– that has been around for less than four years, the iPad is a very capable beast. What keeps the Mac from the junk heap of technology? Screen size, CPU horsepower, graphics capability, storage, and the many apps without an iPad counterpart. iPads are unlikely to compete on screen size, CPU horsepower, and storage for years to come. But many apps once available and used only on the Mac (or, Windows PCs) are credible and capable on the iPad Air of today.
iPad Everywhere, All The Time
The key to using the iPad to completely displace the Mac has two basic considerations. The first is discipline. Don’t use the Mac. Find a way to replicate traditional Mac-only tasks on the iPad.
The second is workflow. I’ve been using only my iPad for a week. No Mac. It’s not even turned on. I get email, browse the web, logon and work online in a browser window or app, manage photos and graphics, listen to music, play movies and do almost– almost— everything I can do on my Mac.
To get through the week I’ve had to adjust my daily workflow, look for applications on the iPad which are counterparts to those on the Mac (easier said than done), and, in general, think about my work more than I would while using a Mac.
It can be done and there’s something liberating about pushing the Mac aside (probably even more liberating for Windows PC users, which might explain why PC sales are down, Mac sales are not, and Apple already has more iPad owners than Mac owners). Mac notebooks are mobile, but not nearly so as an iPad. Mac apps, in general, are more capable than comparable iPad apps, but not so much that the variety of iPad apps fail to compete.
Try it yourself to see how the process works for you. Stop using the Mac for a day. Then two. Then three. Take note of what functions are Mac only but consider workflow changes to adapt functions to the iPad and iOS apps.
I love and use the Mac so much that I suspect it may have to be pried from my cold dead fingers on judgement day, but it’s just as likely that the other hand has a tight grip on an iPad.