There’s the problem. Two decades ago it was the Mac. Apple and the Mac were synonymous. Then along came the iPod, something of a personal utility for music, then photos. But the Mac reigned supreme until 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone and personal computing habits changed forever. That’s what Apple does. Change.
iPad Pro vs. MacBook
Few would argue the value of the Mac to Apple’s history, but it’s the future that is coming, and that means mobile devices. Already, about 70-percent of all Macs sold are Mac notebooks. Apple is more synonymous with iPhone than Mac. Apple’s iPad, languishing somewhat and for a variety of reasons I’ll outline below, sells in numbers far greater than the Mac.
Here we are in 2016 and Apple’s customers don’t just own Macs. Most of the company’s customers own iPhones, then iPad, then the Mac. Many of us own all three and there’s a certain amount of management overhead with so many devices that needs to be considered. It’s one thing to worry about updating apps and OS X on a Mac, but add an iPhone, an iPad, a Watch, even an Apple TV in to the mix and overhead soars.
What can we do to reduce some of the technology management issues with so many devices under our personal care?
Out With The Mac
Don’t misunderstand my intent or the premise. I’m not advocating that Mac users ditch their hot and heavy and beloved aluminum clad devices for an iPad Pro, but the case for switching can be made.
Price – This is closer to apples to Apple than you think. A fully tricked out 12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard is similar to a MacBook in many ways. iPad Pro is slightly lighter, even with keyboard. iPad Pro is priced at $1,229 at the high end, more with the keyboard, while a MacBook starts at $1,299 with keyboard and more RAM.
Power User – The Mac wins hands down, no contest. For power users. The Mac can run OS X, Windows, and various flavors of Linux and Unix. All at the same time if you want. That’s power. Mac apps tend to be of the weighty kind. Steve Jobs would call the Mac a truck, a relic of agrarian societies of the past, while everything else– iPad and iPhone– are modern forms of transportation.
Utilitarian – Again, the Mac can do more than mobile devices, but only in the power user end of the user spectrum. True utility comes with usage and that’s a slightly different issue.
Usability – Allow me to argue that an iPad Pro– either model– is a more usable device than a Mac for the vast majority of people who suffer with desktop PCs or notebooks. iPad is easier to use, probably as fast and powerful, has more utility for all but the power PC user, and has far more applications available, which, if you think about it, is why we buy a computer in the first place. To do things with apps.
Hardware – Apple ended the megahertz wars way back in the day. These days, nobody cares as much about RAM or CPU speed or GPU capability, and, to a certain extent, even storage (witness that Apple still sells iPhones and iPads with 16GB of storage; for many that’s sufficient). Likewise, Apple ended the megapixel wars with iPhone, proving that quality photos don’t require more megapixels in the camera sensor. Today, hardware specifications are mostly an afterthought, thanks to Apple.
The Real Question
Way back in the day, back before personal computers were all the rage, any business owner or executive that even looked at mini or micro computer was asked the same question, “What do you want it to do?” In other words, what’s the use case? We don’t ask that question as often because today’s Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch (plus their Android and Windows counterparts) do so much, yet it’s a question Mac users, especially the new ones, should consider.
Do you need a MacBook? Or, an iPad Pro? One is a pickup truck. The other is a small, luxurious car. Both get you there, but one is easier to use, more mobile, and arguably does more thanks to half a million applications; yet both can be considered modern computing devices. Do most of us need both?
The iPad Pro comes in two sizes these days. 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch. Multiple colors. Multiple storage capacities. Both models are especially portable with built-in built-in Wi-Fi and the cellular option which isn’t available on a Mac.
The question, ‘Do you need a MacBook?’ vs. ‘Or, an iPad Pro’ has an answer that is blurring as Apple bulks up the iPad and slims down the MacBook line. Those of us who demand maximum flexibility have both. Those of us who demand portability and ease of use may lean toward an iPad Pro. Those who need maximum power, of course, go for what’s behind door 1999.
What I Really Want
You know what I really, truly, madly, deeply want? A MacPad. That’s right. A Mac with OS X, a detachable keyboard, and iOS that runs either full screen in dual boot, or as an option in a window of OS X (similar to how Parallels runs Windows on a Mac). I want one, fast, portable, flexible device that does it all, but in a slim, thing, almost weightless package.
That’s a MacPad.
Apple changes and continues to change personal computing in a way that other technology makers have not. The holy grail is an Apple device that does everything. Alas, that’s not likely to happen because Apple wants me to own one of everything.